Presented by Bank of America

In May, Bank of America announced it awarded a $3 million grant to the Obama Foundation to support its workforce development and community support initiatives, both of which are tied closely to the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side.

Funding from Bank of America, to be delivered over three years, is already at work supporting the Foundation’s ambitious workforce development goals, which 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—to 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.

The We Can Build It Consortium, an Obama Foundation initiative supported by Bank of America, was created to get more local residents, including women, involved in the building trades.

With funding from BofA, the Consortium has surpassed many of the placement and community engagement goals it set forth at its launch two years ago, including ensuring that 50 percent of the Center’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 while also providing the means of creating multi-generational wealth. Each partner brings its own unique core competency to the Consortium, from providing supportive resources to targeted outreach and case management, to ensuring the Center’s workforce is reflective of the diversity of Chicago’s South and West Side communities. Ultimately, the candidates trained through this program will have the opportunity to work on building projects across Chicago, creating meaningful career opportunities for generations to come.

“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 to ensure the Obama Presidential Center was a community treasure that worked with and for the community at every stage, and the results speak for themselves. Bank of America is honored to support this important collaboration that will become part of the fabric of Chicago.”

In addition to the workforce development programs already making an impact across Chicago, Bank of America’s grant will support the expansion of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which works to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for boys and young men of color in communities throughout the country, including Chicago.

Bank of America grant funding will support the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which works to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for young men of color in Chicago and across the country.

“It gives me a great sense of pride to see the Obama Presidential Center start to rise from the ground knowing that our workforce initiative has made it possible for our neighbors across Chicago’s South and West Sides to leave their mark on this historic monument. Our partnership with Bank of America, an institution with deep ties and commitments to like-minded non-profits across the city, makes it possible for us to expand on our current workforce goals and to continue to challenge the status quo — creating opportunity for generations to come,” said Obama Foundation CEO Valerie Jarrett.

For more information about Bank of America’s support for Chicago-area nonprofit organizations, please visit us at To apply for a job or subcontracting opportunity with the Obama Presidential Center, please visit