WASHINGTON – Former first lady Michelle Obama launched a new Obama Foundation program on Thursday, the Global Girls Alliance, putting a infrastructure in place to nourish one of her White House signature issues.
“When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country,” Mrs. Obama said on NBC’s “Today Show.”
“It makes no sense that the strength of our families, that girls and women are not getting educated, that they are not in school,” she said.
In the interview, Mrs. Obama ruled out again any run for office. “Politics is just not my thing. It’s as simple as that.”
Mrs. Obama’s post presidential life includes a Netflix development deal, involvement in a voter registration drive and the publication of her memoir, “Becoming,” with her book tour kicking off Nov. 13 in Chicago, a week after the mid-term elections.
With the announcement timed to the International Day of the Girl on Thursday, the program addresses the problem of 98 million girls who face barriers to education.
Former President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama and their foundation do not want to duplicate the work of organizations already devoted to their post-presidential causes.
Rather, they want to bolster the existing organizations and their leaders by using their considerable power to network and support grassroots leaders so they do not work in isolation or without money.
The alliance actually soft launched this summer, a spokesman for the Obama Foundation said, in a series of meetings with leaders of organizations already helping girls to overcome barriers to get an education.
On Thursday, the finance piece of the alliance was announced, a GoFundMe drive to launch the Global Girls Alliance Fund, to provide money to groups around the world devoted to girls education.
There is no cash donation at this time from the Obama Foundation or the Obama’s to this fund, a foundation spokesman confirmed in response to a Chicago Sun-Times inquiry.
Mrs. Obama created “Let Girls Learn” in 2015 and the Trump administration did not continue to use that brand, a not unexpected development.
Mrs. Obama had four major signature programs while in the White House, “Let’s Move,” “Joining Forces,” “Reach Higher” and “Let Girls Learn.”
A foundation spokesman told the Sun-Times, “We soft launched the network for grassroots leaders earlier this summer, and it now includes about 1,400 grassroot leaders from around the world. For the past several months, these leaders have been sharing their work with each other and suggesting resources for each other based on mutual interests.
“This network will grow, but we’re already seeing how members interact and collaborate together.”
“… Once the Alliance launches, we anticipate sharing more resources with the grassroots leaders on the network, such as access to speakers, webinars, and technical resources.”
Among the groups the foundation is already working with:
Camfed (global organization with offices in US, UK and elsewhere)
Discovery Learning Alliance
Study Hall Educational Foundation (India)