Press Releases

President Clinton Opens CGI America, the First Clinton Global Initiative Event Focused on Creating Jobs and Driving Economic Growth in the U.S.

June 29, 2011

Haley Barbour, Stephanie Burns, Simonida Cvejic, Rahm Emanuel, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., James Heckman, Kaya Henderson, Peter G. Peterson, Amy Rosen, and Michael Thurmond Join President Clinton For Wednesday’s Program

New Commitments Announced Today Will Spur Infrastructure Investment, Boost Microlending in the U.S., and Bring Technology Jobs to Rural Missouri

Contact: [email protected]

CHICAGO — Today, President Bill Clinton opened CGI America, hosting a plenary session on job creation and announcing new programs that will help foster economic growth in the U.S.

Speaking to more than 700 leaders from businesses, nonprofits, and government at the opening session, President Clinton announced three “Commitments to Action” that will be implemented by CGI America participants. These commitments, presented by Kiva, Visa, Onshore Technology Services, and the AFL-CIO, will expand access to microfinance, train workers, and fund infrastructure development.

“When these commitments are fully funded and implemented, 140,000 people will receive access to job training, 1,000 information technology jobs will be created in rural America, and $3.5 million will be loaned to small businesses in the U.S.,” President Clinton said. “Initiatives like these prove that organizations and individuals around the country have the power to take action to spur economic growth.” 

CGI America is the first Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting focused exclusively on the U.S. The purpose of the event is to develop new ideas for spurring economic growth and to highlight existing programs that can be replicated and scaled.

At today’s opening session, after remarks by Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, President Clinton led a discussion with Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi; Simonida Cvejic, founder and CEO of the Bay Area Medical Academy; Peter G. Peterson, founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; and Michael Thurmond, former Georgia labor commissioner. A webcast of the panel – and all CGI America plenary sessions – can be viewed at

The opening session was followed by meetings of 10 working groups: Green Buildings, the Healthcare Workforce, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Rural Renewal, Service Corps, Startups, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education, Veteran Employment, and Workforce Development. Each working group will convene three times today and Thursday in order to develop ideas and generate new commitments.

At 4 p.m. Central Time today, President Clinton will host a plenary session on education. The panel will feature Stephanie A. Burns, chairman of Dow Corning Corporation; Adam Davidson, co-founder and co-host of National Public Radio’s Planet Money; James Heckman, University of Chicago economics professor; Kaya Henderson, D.C. Public Schools chancellor; Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO of TIAA-CREF; and Amy Rosen, president and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

The following commitments were announced in the opening plenary session:

Visa and Kiva

Visa and Kiva committed to launch the Kiva City initiative. Seeded with a $1 million contribution from Visa, Kiva City will engage local civic leaders, community organizations, and financial institutions to identify small businesses in need and to help Kiva administer and fund microloans. Today, Kiva launched its first Kiva City in Detroit. Over the next two years, this commitment will roll out in other American cities and aims to generate a total of $3.5 million in loans.

Onshore Technology Services

Onshore Technology Services committed to create 1,000 jobs over five years in rural Missouri, including the town of Joplin, which was recently hit by a devastating tornado that destroyed thousands of jobs. Onshore, which trains unemployed and dislocated workers to be information technologists, will present the Joplin initiative to its existing and prospective clients as a double bottom line investment opportunity to help heal Joplin while reducing their domestic IT sourcing costs by 25-35%. 


The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) commits to encourage both workers’ capital and skilled labor to contribute to large-scale investments in the reconstruction of America’s built environment.  To achieve this goal, the AFL-CIO will support efforts by a wide range of money managers, asset consultants, pension funds, developers, and federal, state and local governments to finance the construction and repair of quality public infrastructure. The AFL-CIO believes these efforts will result in at least $10 billion in workers’ capital invested in this area within five years. The AFL-CIO will also work with existing real estate-focused investment funds to invest between $10 million and $20 million of additional capital in energy efficient retrofits of commercial, industrial, institutional, and public buildings.

For more information please visit and follow @ClintonGlobal ( for meeting news and highlights. The event hashtag is #CGIAmerica. Detailed press logistical information is below.

CGI appreciates the support of the sponsors of CGI America: J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, Tom Golisano, the Dow Chemical Company, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and ExxonMobil Corporation.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings, which take place in New York each September, have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, along with heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place September 19-22 in New York City.

CGI America is the first CGI meeting focused solely on the U.S. The CGI community also includes CGI University, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit

What: CGI America (

Where: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 East North Water Street Chicago, IL 60611

When: June 29-30, 2011

Credentials: All media must apply for credentials and must be approved by CGI in order to attend. Journalists who have not pre-registered can apply for credentials on site. The press registration desk, on the first floor of the Sheraton, will be open Wednesday, June 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, June 30, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Valid government-issued ID is required. If applying on site, please bring press ID as well. For additional information contact Meb Byrne at [email protected].

Access: All plenary sessions are open press. Working group sessions are closed press.

CGI Media Center and Workspace: The media center is located on the first floor of the Sheraton. Wired and wireless Internet access will be provided. Phones will not be provided.

Wireless Microphones:  Please do NOT bring or use wireless microphones on site, as they will interfere with the wireless PA systems.

Mult Box: Output specifics are: XLR for audio and BNC connection for video.

Sat Truck Parking: There are a limited amount of satellite and microwave truck parking spaces available. Please contact Seth Bellaff at [email protected].

Twitter: Follow @ClintonGlobal ( for meeting news and highlights. The event hashtag is #CGIAmerica.

Live Webcast: All CGI America plenary sessions will be webcast at

Photos: Photos from the meeting will be available on CGI’s Flickr account at

Facebook: Highlights, news, and photos from CGI America will be shared on the CGI Facebook page:

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