UChicago-led effort submits final bid to bring Obama Presidential Library to South Side

This letter was sent on Dec. 11 to community partners from Susan Sher, senior adviser to University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer, and Derek Douglas, vice president for civic engagement.

December 11, 2014

Dear Community Partners,

Today the University of Chicago submitted its response to the Barack Obama Foundation’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Obama Presidential Library. This is the latest step in our collaborative effort to bring the Library to the South Side of Chicago.

We are more excited than ever about the enthusiasm and potential for this Library. We have heard from many of you that you believe it can be a place with deep connections to the local community and the city of Chicago that, through research and other collaborations, can also have impact around the globe. We share that belief.

In June, we submitted a response to the Foundation’s Request for Qualifications, and in September our South Side effort was selected as one of four finalists for this RFP phase. Earlier this week, UChicago announced that it has been working with universities from across our city and beyond on creative ideas for collaboration with the Obama Presidential Library. This follows conversations with many of you in recent months about ways your organizations could partner with the Library, as well as many discussions with members of our Community Advisory Board about what the Library and the South Side could bring to one another. Your ideas and show of support have made our proposal stronger. Thank you for your contribution to this historic process.

Early next year, the Barack Obama Foundation is expected to announce the selection of a proposal and a site for the Library. With your help, we believe we have made a strong case for the South Side as the place to honor the work and legacy of the President and First Lady. However, we take nothing for granted.

As the Foundation and the Obamas consider the four competitive proposals, we encourage you to continue to express your support. Visit the website oplsouthside.org or the OPL South Side Facebook page to share a comment, photos or video. You can also follow OPL South Side on Twitter or join discussions about the effort using the #oplsouthside hashtag.

Again, thank you for your input, support, and ideas. We will continue to keep you informed on our effort, and we welcome any feedback you’d like to share.


Susan S. Sher

Derek R.B. Douglas