The Barack Obama Presidential Center will be the first such center to include a public athletic facility — and it’s due, in part, to Nike.
The Swoosh made a $5 million contribution to the Obama Foundation to assist with the construction of the facility, which is being built on the South Side of Chicago. Nike’s financial involvement in the project is consistent with its goal of serving communities through sport, said Jorge Casimiro, Nike’s chief social and community impact officer and president of the Nike Foundation.
“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,” Casimiro said in a statement. “I’m reminded every day of the potential that partnerships unlocks — how teaming up with grassroots groups and global organizations can unleash the power of sport to change lives and change communities.”
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Himself an avid gym buff, Obama during his presidency was known to have a passion for fitness and sports, especially basketball. First lady Michelle Obama also made fitness a priority during their time in the White House. She began a public health campaign in 2010, called “Let’s Move,” to encourage a healthy lifestyle in American youths.
In addition to the athletic facility, the presidential center will include an auditorium, children’s recreational areas, a public plaza for community events and a branch of the Chicago Public Library. The outdoor areas on the campus will include gardens, a 2-acre playground, jogging paths and a sledding hill. A groundbreaking date for the center has yet to be set.
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