by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Contributions to President Barack Obama’s foundation skyrocketed last year as the group hauled in more than $230 million, its most recent tax forms show.
The drastic increase in funds also coincided with hefty pay raises for its executives, with one individual pulling in more than $800,000 in total compensation.
The Barack Obama Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit that was launched in 2014 and carries a primary goal of building the Obama presidential center in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago, reported $231,993,748 in contributions and grants in 2017. This was an increase of more than $218 million from the $13 million in donations the foundation reported in 2016.
A majority of the foundation’s money last year came from just 13 undisclosed donors. Checks of $25 million were cut by four individual donors while two donors added $24 million each in contributions. Seven more pushed between $5 million and $10 million into the nonprofit’s coffers, its forms show.
While the group did not disclose its donors on its most recent tax forms, its website contains a list with broad contribution ranges of who has given to the foundation since its inception.
The foundation lists the likes of the Exelon and Microsoft as donors who provided more than $1 million to the group, despite Obama criticizing corporations throughout his presidency. Democratic megadonor Fred Eychaner, chairman of Newsweb Corporation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are among the dozens of others who have given more than six-figures to the foundation.
The foundation put $12 million towards program services last year and its executives additionally saw an uptick in compensation as its assets rose.