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Obamas Donating $2 Million to South Side Summer Jobs Program

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(CNN) — Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama announced a new financial commitment to the South Side of Chicago Tuesday, the eventual home of Obama’s presidential library.

“Michelle and I will personally donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community so that right away people can get to work and we can start providing opportunity for them,” he said, noting that the center itself will not open for four more years.

“We can’t afford to wait four years to start working together, and so what Michelle and I want to do is start now,” Obama said, citing the violence in Chicago.

The former first couple joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, once Obama’s chief of staff, and community leaders for a community event, which included a roundtable discussion on the Obama Presidential Center. The center will be built in Chicago’s Jackson Park, and will serve as both a presidential library as well as the headquarters of the Obama Foundation.

“More than a building or a museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a working center for civic engagement and a place to inspire people and communities to create change,” a news release for the event said, adding that the Obamas want to “hear directly from members of the community on their ideas for the center.”

The conceptual design for the center was unveiled Wednesday, with a 3-D rendering of the space at the event. The museum will be shaped like a lantern.

Ahead of the event, Michelle Obama tweeted what some perceive as a subtle dig at the Trump administration.

“Excited by the potential of the Obama Pres. Center. Barack & I will continue to champion the issues close to our hearts, including girls ed,” she wrote Wednesday morning.

A Trump administration memo obtained by CNN earlier this week calls for the ending of “Let Girls Learn,” one of her signature girls education initiatives. Hours after CNN reported on the internal document advising administration employees that the education initiative would not be maintained, the White House said the program had not changed.

The Obamas have maintained a relatively low profile since departing the White House. They are living nearby in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood as their younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school.

Following a late January vacation to Palm Springs and then a trip to the Caribbean with billionaire businessman Richard Branson, they have been spotted rarely around town, including one weekend visit to National Gallery of Art, where they received a round of applause. Michelle Obama has been seen at Soul Cycle classes and restaurants around town, and the former president has made multiple trips to New York City.

Last month, they vacationed in the South Pacific, where paparazzi snapped photos of the former president taking a photo of his wife. They were aboard a yacht during a getaway with friends Bruce Springsteen, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.

“Is this what’s going on with social media that Oprah and I cannot go on a billionaire’s boat to Tahiti with a former President of the United States and not keep it secret for God sakes?” Tom Hanks joked in a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.