Bank of America has awarded a $3m grant to the Obama Foundation. The funding will support its workforce development and community support initiatives. Both programmes are tied closely to the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side.

Funding from Bank of America will be delivered over three years. It is already at work supporting the Foundation’s ambitious workforce development goals. These include eliminating barriers to entry and creating opportunities for diverse individuals and firms to participate in the construction of the iconic Obama Presidential Center.

To support these objectives, the Foundation convened a group of industry-leading firms, the We Can Build It Consortium. This will guide its efforts to recruit, engage, train, and retain talented individuals while proactively addressing the barriers that historically have prevented women and minorities from entering the building trades.

With bank funding, the Consortium has surpassed many of the placement and community engagement goals set at launch in 2021. These include ensuring that 50% of the Centre’s construction workforce hours are performed by Chicago residents. The group actively trains women and minorities to apply for and get sponsored into construction trades positions such as plumbers, carpenters, and laborers. These career tracks have substantial growth and earning potential. They also provide the means of creating multi-generational wealth.

Obama Foundation ambitious mission

“For the past two years, the Obama Foundation’s workforce initiative has opened doors for Chicago residents to long-term career opportunities in the construction trades that previously were inaccessible, particularly for individuals in our most vulnerable communities,” said Rita Cook, President, Bank of America Chicago.

“The Obama Foundation set out on an ambitious mission. That is to ensure the Obama Presidential Center was a community treasure that worked with and for the community at every stage. The results speak for themselves. Bank of America is honoured to support this important collaboration that will become part of the fabric of Chicago.”

Bank of America’s grant will also support the expansion of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. This works to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for boys and young men of colour in communities throughout the country.