A Letter from President Clinton Charting the Foundation’s Path Forward

Dear Friends,

In 2016, despite the political season and unprecedented attacks that were misleading or outright false, the Clinton Foundation continued its good work in the United States and around the world. I am very grateful to our staff, leadership, and Board, and to our donors both large and small, new and longstanding, for keeping our focus on how we can solve problems and seize opportunities to improve more lives.

I started the Foundation with strongly held beliefs: everyone counts, everyone deserves a chance, everyone has a role to play, and we all do better when we work together. The attacks on our efforts have not come from people and organizations who understand or care about the work we do. By contrast, those who do understand have a very different view of what we do and how we do it. The three main charity review groups, which take a detailed look at governance, financial health, transparency, and accountability, have given us high ratings: Charity Navigator: Four Stars; CharityWatch: A; and GuideStar: Platinum. The Foundation’s work has also been praised by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Inside Philanthropy.

Let’s look at what happened in 2016, and then I want to say a word about the future.


In an ongoing effort to help communities deal with the opioid epidemic, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative negotiated a groundbreaking agreement with Adapt Pharma to provide the first nasal spray version of Naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, to all U.S. high schools free of charge. The distributions have already begun in Pennsylvania and in thirty-one other states across the country.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation continued its efforts to empower kids to develop lifelong healthy habits through its work in schools, juvenile justice facilities, and out-of-school time sites reaching more than 21 million young people — including nearly 35,000 schools and more than 2,600 out-of-school time sites. Additionally, the Alliance continues to work with the business sector to increase access to healthier foods. Most recently, the Alliance launched community-focused work to reduce the calorie consumption from beverages in the Mississippi Delta and Alabama’s Greater Montgomery area. The Alliance’s work with the beverage companies (a CGI commitment made in 2014) includes a goal of reducing calories by 20 percent nationwide.

Economic Development

The Clinton Development Initiative grew its smallholder farmer outreach in Rwanda, Malawi, and Tanzania, and is now helping 150,000 farmers increase their production, sales, and incomes. CDI also helped farmers in Malawi find new markets in Europe for their groundnuts and opened the first of three planned health clinics on our Anchor Farm in Malawi. The clinic provides primary health care services and disease prevention, and saw tens of thousands of patients between April and December of 2016.

We also continued to seek out new ways to help underserved populations diversify and grow their incomes through the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, which expanded its work connecting smallholder farmers with high-value markets beyond Latin America into Indonesia and Côte D’Ivoire. To date, CGEP has impacted more than 600,000 people through market opportunities generated by social enterprises, as well as through health and well-being programs.

The Foundation also continued its work in Haiti supporting farmers, artisans, and entrepreneurs. Through the Haiti initiative and CGEP, more than 7,000 people in rural and underserved areas of the country received adult literacy and agronomy training. Ninety percent of those in adult literacy training were women. Last year, the Foundation also supported increased production of important crops such as moringa, peanuts, and castor, helping to improve incomes for over 3,000 farmers. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew — which devastated the country’s southern region and left an estimated 800,000 people in urgent need of emergency relief — members of the CGI Haiti Action Network provided more than $15 million worth of emergency supplies, equipment, and services to help support the recovery effort.

Through the Clinton Climate Initiative, we continued to help countries mitigate the effects of climate change, and through our Island Energy program, CCI is currently assisting with the development of geothermal, solar, and wind projects across the Caribbean. For example, a 3 MW solar project and a 30 MW geothermal project in Saint Lucia are expected to bring clean power to half of the country’s 60,000 households. In order to amplify the long-term impact of these efforts, CCI launched a new Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) Network last February so that more women are empowered to become part of the energy solutions in their communities — and to reaffirm our commitment to the full participation of girls and women across each of our initiatives.

Education and Leadership

Our commitment to early childhood education remained as robust as ever, and in 2016, Too Small to Fail launched a new effort to distribute books to underserved families through diaper banks, and opened 19 “Talking is Teaching” themed playgrounds around the country that integrate learning with play — using conversational prompts that encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their children. A recent study found reading and math gaps in kindergarten readiness significantly decreasing since 2010, which the authors attributed in part to an overall increase in parent interaction with their young children. The authors cited Too Small to Fail, among others, as an example of programs that are encouraging parents to create enriching home environments for their children.

The Clinton Global Initiative University program brought together more than 1,200 students representing 90 countries and 225 universities at the University of California, Berkeley last April to learn from one another and access the resources they need to address challenges in communities that span six continents. Over 750 commitments were made, including commitments to teach coding skills to resettled refugees in Oakland, California; provide low-cost infant warmers to mothers in rural Afghanistan; and help prevent illegal poaching in Benin, Togo and Niger through the use of aerial drones. Six former CGI U students were featured in this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and their impact is a testament to our belief that no one is ever too old or too young to make a difference.

We welcomed our second class of Presidential Leadership Scholars, a joint program begun in 2015 by the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. The scholars come from different backgrounds, but share a desire to learn from each other and work together. They also hear from a bipartisan group of experts and former administration officials. President George W. Bush and I meet with them, answer questions, and attend their graduation ceremonies in Texas and Arkansas. We hosted last year’s graduation at Little Rock Central High School, where we were joined by members of the Little Rock Nine and the Honorable Tony Blair. So far, 121 scholars have graduated from the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, and we look forward to welcoming a new class of Scholars this month. They are very impressive people.

No Ceilings continued its work to advance the full participation of girls and women. This year, with Vital Voices Global Partnership and WEConnect International, No Ceilings launched a new coalition of 30 partners from the public and private sectors that seeks to increase women’s economic participation, address violence against girls and women, and promote women’s leadership. The group announced 24 new Commitments to Action at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. The projects will invest more than $70 million to help nearly 900,000 people across six continents, promoting gender equality which is key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Presidential Center

The Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, continues to be a living embodiment of the ideals and goals that have driven our work from the very beginning. In addition to providing a comprehensive view of my years as President, the Center offers interesting exhibits, American and international speakers representing a wide variety of views, internships, and resources for community service. Since it opened its doors in 2004, the CPC has welcomed more than four million visitors including 327,600 students and teachers who have visited the Clinton Presidential Center free of charge and generated $3.3 billion in economic impact in the downtown areas of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

CGI’s Legacy

Beginning in early 2016, the Foundation’s senior leadership, Chelsea, and I devoted much time and thought to how the Foundation should operate if Hillary were elected president. While the election didn’t turn out as we hoped, the process of reviewing each of our initiatives helped us prioritize our work going forward, based on where we are having the greatest impact today, what we have to do to preserve and expand that work, and how we can break new ground in creating jobs, raising incomes, and improving education and health through diverse networks of cooperation that focus on how to do good things faster, better, and at lower cost.

Last August, we announced that the 12th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September would be its last, knowing that if the election had turned out differently, it could not continue in its current form which required significant corporate and international sponsorship. It was a successful gathering, producing 97 new commitments that will touch three million lives. A number of them provide support and services to countries on the front lines of the refugee crisis, while others were formed to fight the spread of Zika or improve childcare options for working families. And that’s just a small sample.

In June 2016, we also held our 6th and final CGI America meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, which generated commitments to support economic growth, strengthen long-term competitiveness, and improve upward mobility in the United States. The meeting brought together over 700 attendees from 44 states who made 53 Commitments to Action that, when implemented, will impact more than 477,000 people. We also saw progress from past commitments including the Detroit Home Mortgage commitment, which aims to help up to 1,000 buyers purchase and rehabilitate homes in the city and holds the potential to be replicated in other distressed housing markets across the country. Additionally, the AFL-CIO commitment, which was made at the first CGI America meeting in 2011, aimed to raise and deploy $10 billion for U.S. infrastructure over a five-year time period. It has substantially surpassed its original goals. To date, over $14.5 billion has been allocated to U.S. infrastructure investments, and partners report that at least 100,000 jobs have been created as a direct result of these investments.

Since we formed CGI in 2005, our members and partners have made more than 3,600 Commitments to Action that have improved the lives of more than 435 million people in more than 180 countries — and revolutionized the model for philanthropy in the process. We have kept a small group of people at CGI to help those who have made commitments keep them, and are looking now at how best to offer our members and other concerned citizens the chance to dramatically increase the impact of some of the best ideas CGI has produced — and others that may arise.

Nine years ago in my book, Giving, I wrote that I hoped to create a “global network of citizen activists who reach across the divides of our interdependent world to build real communities of shared opportunities, shared responsibility and a genuine sense of belonging.” Over the past 12 years, the CGI community has done just that, and all of us at the Clinton Foundation take pride in knowing that CGI’s spirit of creative partnership and focus on results will be carried forward by our members and partners. CGI had a profound, positive impact on the way philanthropy works. I will always be deeply grateful to the many members of CGI’s staff who worked hard to make this great experiment such a success and to all of our members and partners who were willing to come and not just talk about problems, but commit to fixing them.

Charting the Foundation’s Path Forward

Going forward, as we work to expand our impact on issues vital to communities in the United States and around the world, we seek both your input and your ideas about how best to do this. In 2017, we know now that we can and will:

  • Continue our efforts to combat childhood obesity and improve health across the country. This includes continued support for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, our partnership with the American Heart Association, and increased efforts by the Clinton Health Matters Initiative that includes launching new community health work in San Diego and expanding our work to fight the opioid epidemic.
  • Expand our work to improve early learning through Too Small to Fail, launching a new effort to engage dads and grandparents in early learning.
  • Increase our focus on leadership development and public service through programs like the Presidential Leadership Scholars and CGI University (CGI U).
  • Continue our successful economic development work in Rwanda and Malawi and our efforts to improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI). As part of a routine review of the efficiency of our programs, we found that we could maximize our impact in Tanzania by refocusing our programmatic efforts on those farmers closest to our commercial farm who will continue to receive support including fertilizer, pesticides, and training.
  • Do more to support communities on the front lines of climate change through the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).
  • Keep empowering girls and women a priority across all of our programs.
  • And maintain The Clinton Presidential Center and Library’s ability to provide educational and cultural opportunities to Arkansas and beyond, and manifest our belief in the value of service — whether by private citizens or public figures.

This year’s CGI U meeting will be held at Northeastern University in Boston this October. As it has in the past, CGI U 2017 will bring together college students and emerging social innovators from the United States and around the world to learn from one another and plan how they can take concrete and creative steps to address global challenges.

Finally, the lifesaving work of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) will continue in more than 70 countries across the globe.

No matter what the initiative, we have always said that our goal is to create sustainable solutions to get to the point where we’ve worked ourselves out of a job, so we can take on new challenges. This year, in two instances, we succeeded. Two of our most successful programs will now transition out of the Clinton Foundation, much as we previously transitioned our health access and childhood obesity programs into separate entities that today continue to thrive:

  • The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) will spin off into an independent entity (as had been previously announced as part of a planned transition in the event Secretary Clinton had won the election) and continue its great work.
  • The Clinton Foundation’s work in Haiti will continue under the umbrella of J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) with the support of the Digicel Foundation. The work of the CGI Haiti Action Network will also continue.

All in all, the Clinton Foundation in 2016 advanced its core commitment to help more people live their best life stories. We continued to maximize the impact of our donors’ and partners’ contributions through diverse, flexible partnerships that enable us both to initiate positive efforts and respond to emerging challenges.

Clearly we live in a world facing new manifestations of the old idea that our differences are more important than our common humanity. Therefore, those of us who believe in a future of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, and inclusive communities, should redouble our efforts to build up the positive and reduce the negative forces of our interdependence.

Whether we succeed depends on you and like-minded citizens in every corner of the world. This report explains in greater detail why we are proud of all that we accomplished in 2016 and why we’re excited about what’s to come.


Bill Clinton

Founder, Clinton Foundation