Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Obama Library Foundation Unmasks Identities of Deep-Pocketed Donors

On the list: Chicago power couple Michael and Cari Sacks

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Obama Library Foundation Unmasks Identities of Deep-Pocketed Donors

AP

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listen as President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Thursday, April 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Since launching earlier this year, the Barack Obama Foundation has raised as much as $1.75 million from deep-pocketed donors like Chicago investor Michael Sacks for the construction of a presidential library and museum.

The foundation named names on Tuesday, voluntarily unmasking contributors' identities on its website. They are: Sacks and his wife, Cari; Jim and Marilyn Simons, and Tim Collins, each offering between $250,001 and $500,000. Two others, Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly, together donated somewhere in the ballpark of $100,001 and $250,000.

The precise amounts were not disclosed, so the collective first-quarter fundraising tally lies within the range of $850,000 and $1.75 million. The foundation -- headed up by Obama's best friend, Marty Nesbitt -- has said it would regularly reveal contributions of more than $200. The Obamas won't start raising money for the library until leaving the White House in 2016.

Michael Sacks is the CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, a funder of hedge funds based in Chicago, and a veteran Obama campaign bundler as well as a confidante of Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who's itching to snag the tourist trap for this city.) Cari Sacks is an active patron of the arts here in the Windy City and recently served on the president's advisory committee on the arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

New York-based hedge fund manager and math whiz Jim Simons donated some $2 million to Democratic super PACS in the run-up to 2012's presidential election. Collins sits on the board of directors at Citigroup.

Gallogly, an investor from New York, is another Obama bundler and member of the president's economic recovery advisory board. He also serves on the business-school board at the president's alma mater, Columbia University, which is vying for the library alongside a host of Chicago universities and the University of Hawaii.

Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, an education activist in Honolulu, and his ex-senior adviser David Plouffe recently joined the library group's board. Nesbitt said a decision on the location will be made in early 2015.

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