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Distinguished Leaders Mark 20th Anniversary of President Clinton’s Harlem Office Opening

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For Immediate Release: July 30, 2021

Contact: [email protected]

Distinguished Leaders Mark 20th Anniversary of President Clinton’s Harlem Office Opening
Congressional statement by Rep. Espaillat among the testimonials to the impact of the Clinton Foundation over the last 20 years

NEW YORK, NY – Today marks the 20th anniversary of President Clinton opening his office in Harlem on July 30, 2001, kicking off his post-presidency and philanthropic work. Through his time in office, President Clinton established a record of Putting People First – working to lift people up by unlocking opportunity and addressing inequality. For two decades, the Clinton Foundation has continued these efforts, through a wide range of programs that work to improve lives across the United States and around the world. Throughout the day, members of the community will mark this anniversary through interviews and statements.

At an event in Harlem on July 30, 2001, organized by local business and community leaders celebrating the opening of the office, President Clinton spoke about his vision for his post-presidential work:

“What I’m going to do here is to try and help promote economic opportunity in our backyard, around our country, and around our world. To try to help people work against AIDS and other diseases, and ignorance, and for education in our backyard and around the world, to try to help people make a community out of all of this crazy diversity we’ve got here in our backyard, around the state, country, and world.”

At that event, Rep. Charles B. Rangel spoke about the importance of President Clinton opening his offices in Harlem:

“We don’t just get a former president, we get Bill Clinton who is still an international leader right here in an international community. We don’t get someone who understands our dreams and our desires, we get someone who’s coming here to help build on those dreams, to get our kids educated, to get our jobs, and to get on with getting Harlem back on the map.”

For the past 20 years, the Clinton Foundation has achieved a record of impact, launching programs that have now helped more than 21 million people around the world access lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment; created healthier learning environments for more than 30 million children in the U.S. who are eating better and moving more; and built a community of change-makers through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) whose Commitments to Action have improved the lives of more than 430 million people in 180 countries.

In Harlem, this includes work to support the community across a number of programs:

  • The Harlem Small Business Initiative, later called the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative, worked from 2002 to 2013 by supporting entrepreneurs in Harlem and eight other cities with more than $15 million of pro bono consulting services through more than 75,000 volunteer hours of mentoring by business leaders;
  • The program had a record of meaningful help, with participating businesses reporting a 20 percent average job growth rate and 12 percent revenue growth, with 92 percent of participants crediting the Entrepreneur Mentoring Program for helping their business overcome the impacts of the 2008 recession;
  • The Clinton Global Initiative has built and supported partnerships in the community, including expanding microfinance lending programs to low-income women entrepreneurs in Harlem, and supporting the Food Bank for NYC’s operations in West Harlem;
  • Distribution of nearly 3,000 books to families in Harlem in 2020 through a partnership between Upper Grand Central and Too Small to Fail, the Foundation’s early childhood development program; and helping students in four schools across Harlem have better nutrition and exercise options through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association that is working in 52,000 schools, districts, and out-of-school time sites nationwide.

Members of the community are also marking today’s anniversary. On Tuesday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) spoke about the impact that the Clinton Foundation has had in his community and around the world:

“As we look to the challenges of the next 20 years, we know that the Clinton Foundation will continue to sharpen their focus on partnership building, expanding upon new horizons, and empowering more and more communities. I want to commend the Clinton Foundation on their prodigious work of the past 20 years and their strong presence in the village of Harlem and thank former President Clinton and former Secretary Clinton for their continued dedication to furthering humanity and prioritizing historically excluded and underserved communities.”

Watch Rep. Espaillat’s full remarks here.

Writing in the New York Amsterdam News todayTerry Edmonds, who served as Chief White House Speechwriter and was the first African American Chief White House Speechwriter, reflects on the Foundation’s work over the past two decades, and President Clinton’s commitment to unlocking opportunity for those who have been historically excluded:

“July 30 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Foundation office at 55 West 125th Street in the heart of Harlem. On that day, in 2001, scarcely seven months after moving out of his Pennsylvania Avenue presidential residence, President Clinton stood on the steps of Adam Clayton Powell Plaza and proclaimed to a welcoming crowd that he was glad to ‘be home.’ He pledged ‘to try to help promote economic opportunity in our back yard, in our country and around the world.’”

Read Terry Edmonds’s full piece in the Amsterdam News here.

20 years later, President Clinton’s commitment, and the Clinton Foundation’s work, continues. This year, the Clinton Global Initiative launched an Action Network on Inclusive Economic Recovery, which is driving action on the racial and economic disparities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Action Network brings together leaders from business, government, and philanthropy to take action and address inequalities facing historically excluded groups.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the Clinton Foundation shifted work to address the various economic and health impacts of the pandemic. The Clinton Presidential Center mobilized a feeding program in Central Arkansas with World Central Kitchen, City of Little Rock, and other partners to help provide more than 750,000 meals to families in need; as overdose deaths have spiked during the pandemic, the Foundation’s Opioid Response Network has accelerated their work to provide naloxone to recovery residences, with more than 440,000 doses distributed; and our early childhood development program Too Small to Fail has helped distribute 100,000 books to families through our partners.

For more about how the our work has continued, see our record of impact and 20 Years of Putting People First here; and follow special programming and content in the coming months at www.clintonfoundation.orgFacebook.com/ClintonFoundationinstagram.com/clintonfoundation and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

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About the Clinton Foundation
Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.

Learn more at www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn..