Obama Served As Chairman Of Ayers Created “Chicago Annenberg Challenge”

Just One Minute has been doing some fact checking on Obama’s relationship with unrepentant Weatherman Underground member, William Ayers.

As most of you know, Obama has repeatedly characterized his relationship with Ayers as insignificant…they lived in the same neighborhood, served on the same board… purely coincidental connections, (which doesn’t at all explain why he held a 1995 campaign event at the home of Ayers and his wife, fellow former terrorist Bernardine Dohrn).

Now, it appears that Obama and Ayers had a working relationship (friendship) that predates their work together on the Woods Fund of Chicago board.

Barack Obama has a new entanglement with unrepentant Weatherman Bill Ayers which I detail below. The gist is this – back in the mid-90’s Bill Ayers was instrumental in the creation and early operation of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an effort committed to the reform of Chicago’s public schools. Barack Obama was Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which suggests he worked closely with Ayers for several years.

Yet in his recent nationally televised appearances and at his website, Obama fails to mention this Ayers entanglement. Why so coy? It’s hard to believe he actually forgot his executive role in this important foray into public policy; that said, the Chicago Challenge foundered on the hard rocks of Chicago politics and was widely viewed as ineffective, so perhaps he would prefer not to highlight his failure to bring people together and produce real change.

Or maybe Obama was a do-nothing figurehead who honestly forgot that Bill Ayers was running the show. Awkward spin, that. In any case, there is also a question of shared values. Ayers brings a highly progressive approach to education – dare we ask whether Obama shares his values?

See Just One Minute for details and plenty of background links.

Here’s the segment of Obama’s interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace where he deals with his relationships with Reverend Wright, and William Ayers. The Ayers portion doesn’t start until about 7:28 in.

Here’s one place where my B.S. Detector started going off:

We served on a board together that had Republicans, bankers, lawyers, focused on education, who worked for Mayor Daley.

Nobody is suggesting that the board was full of notorious thugs like Ayers, but Republicans? Are we supposed to believe that The Woods Fund of Chicago is a bipartisan organization? I suppose…but I decided to check the political affiliations of its members to see if that panned out, anyway.

Here’s a list of Woods Fund Members:

Accessed April 2008:


  • Deborah Harrington* – President
  • Suzanne R. Boyle*- Treasurer
  • Consuella L. Brown – Program Director
  • Deborah D. Clark – Grants and Operations Manager
  • Jeffrey T. Pinzino – Program Officer

Board of Directors and Officers

  • Laura S. Washington, Board Chair* – Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor and Fellow of the DePaul Humanities Center
  • Jesus G. Garcia, Vice Chair* – Executive Director, Little Village Community Development Corporation
  • William C. Ayers – Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Lee Bey– Director of Media and Governmental Affairs, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill LLP
  • Doris Salomon Chagin– Category Manager – Ethnic Markets, BP Products North America
  • Beth E. Richie – Professor and Head of the Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Patrick M. Sheahan – Executive Director, Public Affairs, UBS Investment Bank
  • Charles N. Wheatley – President, Sahara Enterprises, Inc.
  • Lucia Woods Lindley – Board Member Emeritus

Other Officers

  • Kristin Patton* – Secretary
  • I give up. I couldn’t find any Republicans in the 2008 group. I either found them to be donors to Democrat candidates, or I found their bios to contain all the earmarks of Democrat activism, without being able to prove it, (I didn’t link to those). I doubt I’d find any Republicans in the 2001 group, either:

    People (2001)


  • Ricardo A. Millett – President
  • Todd Dietterle – Vice President – Program Director, Community Organizing Program
  • Deborah Harrington – Program Director, Enabling Work and Reducing Poverty
  • Phillip Thomas – Program Officer
  • Sally E. Gonzelez – Grants and Operations Manager

Board of Directors

  • Howard J. Stanback– Board Chair – Manager, New Kenwood, LLC
  • Maria G. Valdez – Board Vice Chair – Attorney-at-Law Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • William C. Ayers – Distinguished Professor Of Education, University Of Illinois At Chicago
  • Cynthia M. Campbell– President, Mccormick Theological Seminary
  • R. Eden Martin – President, Civic Committee And The Commercial Club
  • Barack Obama – State Senator And University Of Chicago School Of Law
  • Charles N. Wheatley – President, Sahara Enterprises, Inc.
  • Suzanne Boyle, Board Treasurer
  • Kristin Patton, Board Secretary

I may do some more investigating later, but color me skeptical of the idea that there have more than one or two token Republican Woods Fund members in the whole history of its existence.

6 thoughts on “Obama Served As Chairman Of Ayers Created “Chicago Annenberg Challenge”

  1. Since nonprofit board members have to be elected and reelected by other board members, did Obama vote to have Ayers on the relatively small Woods’ board knowing Ayers’ terrorist background and his unrepentant stance on his terrorist background? And since Obama was on the board before Ayers and knew Ayers previously, was it Obama who nominated or recommended Ayres for the board?

    While Ayers may not have directly killed anyone, he says he was involved in bombings. Thus, he likely knew of and helped with the bomb making or at least probably conspired with the bomb makers at the townhouse in NY that blew up killing three people, including his girlfriend. Wouldn’t that make him criminally libel for manslaughter or murder? Is there any statue of limitations on this kind of crime?

    At the time of 9/11, Obama’s guru, the Reverend Wright, blames America. Obama’s terrorist friend, Ayers, says his bombs weren’t big enough, maybe implying he felt outdone by Osama. Obama intentionally chooses not to ware an American flag lapel pin, which at the time was meant to show support and respect for America under attack and the thousands murdered on 9/11.

    Yes, it’s true. Obama would be a different kind of American President.


  2. Pingback: Turning The Page « Nice Deb

  3. Also a link here between the Annenberg and the Woods Fund – They both have the same Tresurer – Suzanne Boyle.
    Follow the money!!


  4. Pingback: Obama on Ayers: “I thought he was rehabilitated” « The Foxhole

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