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Obamas host White House dinner Saturday for Obama Foundation

Michael Strautmanis, a vice president of the Obama Foundation, and White senior adviser Valerie Jarrett

Michael Strautmanis, a vice president of the Obama Foundation, and White senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on the South Lawn of the White House. | AP file photo

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted their first White House event for supporters of the Obama Presidential Foundation on Saturday, though the dinner wasn’t a fundraiser, a spokesman said.

“The president and first lady are having a private dinner tonight with friends and longtime supporters, many of whom are assisting the outside work of the foundation as it gets up and running,” said Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman.

While still in office, Obama isn’t doing fundraising for the Obama Presidential Center, the museum, library and foundation headquarters to be built on the South Side.

But some close to Obama are being consulted on plans for the Obama Center and are likely to donate money toward the project. The Obamas are personally paying for Saturday night’s dinner, a White House official said.

A foundation official said that among those attending were three top officials of the foundation: Marty Nesbitt, the chairman of its board; executive director Robbin Cohen; and Mike Strautmanis, vice president of civic engagement.

Also at the dinner were top White House officials who are keeping close watch on Obama’s post-presidential plans: senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Anita Decker Breckinridge, deputy chief of staff for operations.

The foundation moved its headquarters last month to an office building in Hyde Park, near Jackson and Washington parks — the sites in the running for the center.