This week, the Nike Foundation announced a donation of $5 million for an athletic facility to be constructed as part of the upcoming Barack Obama Presidential Center. The installation of the facility will mark the first time that a public athletic arena will become part of a presidential complex.
The Barack Obama Presidential Center will be established on the South Side of Chicago to honor the contributions and legacy of its namesake, the 44th president of the United States and the nation’s first Black president. Furnished with a museum, library, and forum, the Center will provide opportunities for those to visit, read, research, and reflect. Much like the Nike facility adjacent to it, the majority of the space will be free and open to the public.
The creation of the Nike facility is very much aligned with the spirit of connection to community that the Obamas epitomize, not only through their humanitarian efforts, but also through their athletic endeavors. That community spirit is evidenced by footage of Obama connecting with others on basketball and golf courts, and by First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to energize children and youth through her “Let’s Move” campaign.
According to a statement by Jorge Casimiro, Nike’s chief social & community impact officer and Nike foundation president:
“The inclusion of a community recreation facility is in keeping with the open feel of the Center’s campus, which aims to break down barriers,” Casmiro said. “Our belief in the power of sport to transform lives is why we work with organizations like the Obama Foundation — because whether it’s on a global scale or at the grassroots level, we’ve seen what’s possible when sport brings us together.”
With revenue predictions of more than $3.1 million in its first decade, the Center, much like President Obama himself, is sure to bring together people of all walks of life, reminding them that what unites them is far greater than what separates them.