A Letter from President Clinton
The real story of the Clinton Foundation is about putting people first
I’ve often said I probably wouldn’t have become president if I hadn’t been born in Arkansas to a family that didn’t have much money to spend on entertainment. We didn’t own a television until I was 10, and like most people we knew, our biggest form of entertainment was storytelling. From a young age, I learned that everyone has a story and everyone’s story has value. And once we know each other’s stories, all our differences become less important – we are people first.
When I grew older and entered public service, I always thought the purpose of my work was to help people write better life stories for themselves. That’s why when I ran for president in 1992, I campaigned on the promise of “Putting People First.” And over the next eight years, I worked to advance policies that would do just that – from building an inclusive economy where everyone could share fairly in our prosperity, to providing family and medical leave for America’s workers, to investing in and improving education at every level and opening the doors to higher education to all, to protecting our natural resources for our children’s future. I wanted people to believe that their tomorrows could be better than their yesterdays, then provide the tools and conditions for them to make it so.
“From a young age, I learned that everyone has a story and everyone’s story has value. And once we know each other’s stories, all our differences become less important – we are people first.”President Bill Clinton
For the last 18 years, that same vision has guided our work at the Clinton Foundation. We believe that every person deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. Along with our partners, we work every day to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service.
We want the people with whom we work to be able to look at the future and see themselves as an important part of it. In these challenging times, that’s not always easy. But we’re always willing to take a fresh look at how philanthropy works and continue taking new approaches to improve as many lives as possible.
This magazine tells the stories of some of the people who have inspired us the most over the last year, including the world-renowned chef helping Puerto Rico build back better; the imam in Houston combating the opioid crisis in his community; the pediatrician in San Francisco promoting the importance of early brain and language development to new parents; the women breaking barriers and leading the charge against climate change; the farmer in Malawi and fisherman in El Salvador. They are giving the gifts of empowerment, imagination, and opportunity.
These are the real stories of the Clinton Foundation. We at the Clinton Foundation hope you find them as powerful as we do – and that they’ll inspire you to keep moving into the future with an open hand, a listening ear, and a loving heart.