Chance the Rapper’s skills behind a microphone have made him a familiar name worldwide, but the artist never forgot his roots.
On Monday March 6, Chance ( whose real name is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett) revealed he will donate $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. The rapper made the announcement during a news conference at Westcott Elementary School, which sits a few blocks away from where he grew up. The sum of the donation will support the arts and after-school programming.
“I’m honored to make this donation to Chicago Public Schools Foundation and help cultivate Chicago creative minds,” he said, adding, “I’m committed to helping Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences that include the arts.”
Chance’s donation will start with $10,000 going to 10 different public elementary schools, with Westcott being the first to receive a check.
“It just opened up a whole new world for Westcott and its students,” said principal Monique Dockery in an interview with The New York Times. “We focus a lot on reading and math and the core subjects, and yet we have some very talented students who can go beyond that.”
To keep the flow of donations going, Chance announced that for every $100,000 raised, his organization, Social Works Chicago, will donate an additional $10,000. Chance will ultimately shell out $1 million to the educational system and he urged companies to donate as well.
“This check that I donated is a ‘call-to-action.’ I’m challenging major companies and corporations in Chicago and all across the U.S. to donate and to take action,” he said, adding. “The CPS students have spoken, and would like corporations to invest in them as we have invested in their businesses.”
Chance’s good deed didn’t go unnoticed as another famous Chicago native, former First Lady Michelle Obama, tweeted her adulation toward the rapper.
Thanks @chancetherapper for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much. You are an example of the power of arts education.
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) March 6, 2017
The donation comes at a rough time for Chicago Public Schools as Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently vetoed legislation that would’ve sent $215 million to the district.
Rauner and Chance met on Friday March, 3, a meeting that the left the rapper feeling “flustered.” However, Rauner felt the meeting was productive and tweeted about the encounter.
.@chancetherapper and I talked about the imp. of getting more money for all school children in Illinois, especially low-income children.
— Bruce Rauner (@GovRauner) March 3, 2017
Chance shot down any political motive for his donation during his news conference, insisting that it was about helping the children.
“This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about posturing. This is about taking care of the kids,” Chance said. “Everybody and their mama knows what’s going on in Chicago. We’re about to enhance the conversation on supporting and funding the education of the kids in Chicago.”
Shortly before Chance’s news conference, Gov. Rauner offered two options to provide the $215 million to CPS. In a statement, the governor’s spokesperson, Eleni Demertzis, touched on the difficulty for funding the city’s schools.
“While the Rauners are passionate donors to our schools, individual contributions will never be enough to address the financial challenges facing C.P.S.,” she said. “It would be helpful if C.P.S. officials came to Springfield and joined in serious, good-faith discussions about the long-term stability of all of our schools.”
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(Photo credit: Social Works)