MacArthur Foundation Donates $5 Million to Fund Chicago Public Library Branch for OPC

The donation will help cover the cost of building and furnishing the 5,000-square-foot library planned for the Obama Presidential Center.


Obama Foundation

The Obama Center’s projected location in Jackson Park.

By Madeleine Zhou, Deputy News Editor

On Monday, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced a $5 million grant to create a new branch of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) at the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), to be located in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. 

Chicago’s City Council approved the building of the 5,000-square-foot CPL branch in the OPC in 2018. The library will include multimedia collections, study spaces, and a children’s area. It will also be used to host community programs, including the CPL’s YOUMedia program, which is also supported by the MacArthur Foundation. YOUMedia is dedicated to helping teens learn how to use digital media to express themselves by creating projects in fields including graphic design, photography, music, and STEM.

The MacArthur Foundation, which was founded in 1970 and is based in Chicago, supports nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad. Julia Stasch, president of the MacArthur Foundation, said in a press release, “Embedding a public library branch in the Obama Presidential Center will connect Chicago residents and visitors, especially youth, to each other and to a world of imagination and information.”