William J. Clinton Foundation

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Clinton Foundation logo.

The William J. Clinton Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established in October 1997, soon after Bill Clinton chose the Little Rock River Market District as the site of his presidential library. The Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of President Clinton, his record of presidential leadership, as well as several ongoing initiatives. Other projects of the Foundation involve "responding to challenges of the global neighborhood; responding to the challenge of September 11; promoting reconciliation and cooperation among the world's ethnic, racial, and religious groups; promoting economic empowerment through opportunity and responsibility; and supporting a new generation of leaders."

The Foundation is nonpartisan and works to develop partnerships with other organizations to conduct research, engage in conversation, incubate new initiatives, and effect positive change in the world. Economic empowerment is fostered through the Harlem Small Business Initiative. Racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation is encouraged through the Presidential Foundation Forum. Health security is advanced under the HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI). Leadership development is inculcated through International Public Service Project internships. Citizen service is advanced by the Clinton Democracy Fellowship at City Year.

The Little Rock offices of the Foundation houses the administrative and accounting divisions, runs the Clinton Museum Store, and develops programming for the Clinton Presidential Center. As his wife Hillary Clinton is a U.S. Senator from New York, Bill Clinton spends the majority of his time doing Foundation work and creating policy from his office in Harlem. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) operates out of this office. In addition to offices in Little Rock and Harlem, the Foundation occupies space in Quincy, Massachusetts. Quincy is home to the Foundation's Clinton HIV-AIDS Initiative.

Clinton Presidential Center

The mission of the Foundation in creating the Clinton Presidential Center was "to establish and support a Presidential archival depository, ... to house and preserve the books, correspondence, documents, papers, pictures, photographs, and other memorabilia of William J. Clinton, the President of the United States of America, as well as other objects or materials related to the papers or events of the official or personal life of William J. Clinton that have historical or commemorative value, and to undertake and support research and educational activities on policy and historical issues related to the life and work of William J. Clinton."

The Foundation began privately campaigning for the construction of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center on June 28, 1999, at La Grenouille French restaurant on Manhattan's East Side. There the president personally addressed almost forty fashion house leaders about his plans for the Library. According to federal law the President is not allowed to directly solicit funds for the project. The host of the dinner at La Grenouille was Arnold Simon, CEO of Aris Industries.

The pricetag for Clinton's presidential library - to be built at an estimated cost of up to $200 million - worried many prominent Democratic fundraisers. Large early pledges to the Clinton Foundation are said to have been offered by Hollywood producers Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, and supermarket executive Ronald W. Burkle. In its first public tax return in 1998 the Foundation disclosed donations of $3 million. The Foundation had collected $9.9 million in donations by 2001. In 2004, the year of the Library's opening, the Foundation raised $57.7 million, and had $119 million in assets. In the end more than 112,000 people made donations to defray the $165 million in actual construction costs for the presidential center complex.

According to the Presidential Libraries Act of 1986 the regular operation of the Clinton Library must be supported by endowment funds. In 2004 the Clinton Foundation turned over a privately-raised endowment of $7.2 million. The Foundation continues to control about half of the square footage of the Clinton Presidential Center, including a cafeteria, meeting rooms, a private fourth floor Clinton Library apartment, and the Clinton Library gift shop.

Clinton Global Initiative

The Foundation launched the nonpartisan Clinton Global Initiative in 2005. Participants agree to form "Commitments to Action," described as "practical, effective problem-solving measures that can be taken now."

In August 2001 the Foundation received a $250,000 grant from SBC Communications to reduce race-based inequalities in health care, education, economic prosperity, and crime.

In January 2008 the Clinton Foundation announced the Clinton Global Initiative University for college students and administrators. The focus of the CGI University is currently "energy and climate change, global health, human rights and peace, and poverty alleviation."

Clinton HIV-AIDS Initiative

Climate Change Initiative


  • "Clinton Foundation Unveils a New Group," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 24, 2008.
  • "The Clinton Library," New York Times, June 29, 1999.
  • "Clinton Library Raising Money," Fund Raising Management 30.10 (Dec 1999): 17.
  • Andrew DeMillo, "Clinton Library Fundraiser Sees 30 Percent Rise; Foundation Had $119 Million at End of 2004, Tax Form Says," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 24, 2005.
  • Michael Isikoff, "Funding Clinton's Legacy," Newsweek, October 18, 1999.
  • "List of the Clinton Foundation's Biggest Donors," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, December 19, 2008.
  • Kevin Sack, "Clinton Lays Out Future for Library, and Himself," New York Times, August 3, 2001.
  • Kevin Sack, "Clinton to Focus on Racism," New York Times, August 4, 2001.
  • Don Van Natta, Jr., "Dinner for a Presidential Library, Contributions Welcome," New York Times, June 28, 1999.
  • Don Van Natta, Jr., "Going Is Tough for Clinton Library Campaign, Backers Say," New York Times, April 29, 2002.

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