Becoming and Benevolent: For Giving Tuesday, the Obamas Pay It Forward

Illustration for article titled Becoming and Benevolent: For Giving Tuesday, the Obamas Pay It Forward
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

In the years since they left the White House *sniff*, the Obamas have proven to be the gift that keeps on giving—whether it be writing bestsellers, elevating black artists or simply reminding us to live our best lives in defiance of Trump’s America. Now, for #GivingTuesday, they’re setting an example of philanthropy at work with two new charitable announcements.


The tremendous success of Michelle Obama’s first memoir, Becoming (which has sold more than 11.7 million units worldwide and earned a Grammy nomination for the former first lady), will now help adolescent girls around the world become whatever they hope to be. Mrs. Obama is donating the proceeds from her Becoming merch—exceeding $500,000—to the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund at the Obama Foundation, which “supports grassroots leaders around the world who best understand the unique challenges girls face in their local communities,” per a press release:

In keeping with Mrs. Obama’s commitment to supporting adolescent girls’ education all over the world, she announced on Giving Tuesday that she will donate more than $500,000—the proceeds she derived from 2018 and 2019 merchandise sales related to her book, Becoming—to the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund, which directly supports grassroots leaders working on adolescent girls education around the world.

“I’ve always thought of helping others as a responsibility,” said Mrs. Obama in a statement. “This duty of giving back is what my parents and grandparents taught me, and it’s a value I’ve tried to live by my entire life—because it’s not enough just to make your way through life, thinking only of yourself. Over the past year, I’ve been incredibly blessed and humbled by the response to my book, and I’m proud to channel that enthusiasm toward girls around the world. My hope is that this donation will help more bold and brilliant girls reach their fullest potential, continuing upward on their path toward becoming the women they are meant to be.”

Additionally, today the Obamas announced that they have partnered with their publisher, Penguin Random House to donate up to 300,000 children’s books to First Book, in celebration of the completion of a previous one-million-book commitment. The additional donation will again be part of the Hope Love Give campaign, launched to “raise one million dollars to help give one million books to kids who need them most,” according to a release.

And here’s where we come in: For every three dollars donated to First Book from now through December 31, Penguin Random House will give two new books to First Book, up to 300,000 books. So, consider this the season to give the gift of reading!


“We are honored to donate one million children’s books in the Obama family’s name to First Book,” Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Random House, said in a statement. “When children have greater access to our books and stories, we, together with President and Mrs. Obama, are helping to shape a literate, educated, and democratic society that will become the next generation of readers and leaders.”

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?