Barack Obama is no longer America's Commander-in-Chief, but if you thought that meant he would be withdrawing from politics, think again: Obama's new foundation, aptly called the Obama Foundation, unveiled a blueprint on Friday, and it outlines some of the things the former president and his allies will focus on over the next several years.
In a press release posted to Medium Friday, the foundation quoted its namesake's famous, longstanding call for Americans to "believe...not in my ability to make change, but in yours." Obama has said this in one form or another at many points throughout his time in the public eye, and according to his new foundation's CEO, it's the jumping-off point for what the organization hopes to accomplish in the future."
"This belief, this faith in the ability for each one of us to make a difference in our world, has been the guiding principle of President and Mrs. Obama’s two decades in public service: that the hard work of democracy begins not with government, or with parties, or with any one politician, but within each one of us," Obama Foundation CEO David Simas wrote. "This same belief is the North Star of the Obama Foundation."
From there, Simas outlined some specific things the foundation will focus on, which he says were culled from "hundreds of thousands" of suggestions from Obama supporters.
So far, the foundation is vague on details. In general, though, Simas says that it will focus on promoting a few key things: Quality education, civic responsibility, a positive and optimistic view of politics, and a generally egalitarian view of the world.
"Thousands of your submissions emphasized the importance of staying informed on issues, both local and global, affecting your world," Simas wrote. "Another consistent theme in your submissions was the importance of looking beyond your own interests to support those in need. You told us how you respect those who approach our country’s problems with an attitude that we’re all in this together."
This isn't all that surprising. Throughout his career as a politician, Obama has consistently encouraged Americans to inform and involve themselves in politics with an eye at making the world a better place. His optimism for the future is legendary, and as a liberal, so are his communal, collectivist values. This is all classic Obama.
It's still unclear what specific initiatives the organization will launch, and what exactly Obama's involvement will be; Simas wrote that this is "just beginning of our dialogue with all of you." But now, we do have a rough idea of the values that will motivate the Obama Foundation, and we shouldn't be surprised: They're pretty close to the values that animate Obama himself.