Thank you.

Hi Derwell, 

Today is President Obama’s 58th birthday and to celebrate, I wanted to tell you the story behind this picture.

President Obama receiving his birthday card from the White House interns.

Every year, on the President’s birthday, the White House interns would write him a card. These were young, civically minded leaders who came to Washington because they were inspired by his presidency, and they wanted to begin their own journey of making change. They’d sign personal messages to him, and every year, no matter what crisis called or how busy his schedule was, he took the time to meet with them, to thank them, and to leave them with a powerful message:

“The world is ready for your leadership.”

Even on a day meant to celebrate him, the President used it as an opportunity to celebrate young leaders and encourage them to contribute to making our world better.

That is President Obama. That is who he is as a leader. And that is the vision he has set forth for us at the Obama Foundation.

Derwell, I want to personally thank you for being a part of that vision and investing your support and time in our work and in our efforts to bring the Obama Presidential Center to life.

But I have one more ask of you.

Today, on President Obama’s birthday, instead of signing a card to him, I’d like you to honor his birthday the way he did—by celebrating and encouraging young leaders.

Later this fall, we will once again gather many of our program participants in Chicago for our annual Obama Foundation Summit, and we want to greet them with your words of encouragement. Take a moment now and express your support for these young leaders—hailing from as far as South Africa and as close as the South Side of Chicago—and we’ll share your words with them when they arrive.

The world is ready for their leadership. And I know they’d love to hear your words of support.


David Simas
CEO, Obama Foundation
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