Grammy Award winner Chance the Rapper announced in a news conference held on Monday that he would be donating $1 million to the Chicago Public School system. This press conference held at Westcott Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side was live streamed on Instagram. The Chicago-born rapper donated $1 million to CPS to support Arts and enriching programming. He also thanked his fans for making it possible.
“As a kid from West Chatham, from the South Side literally three blocks away from here, it’s pretty serendipitous to be here today. I’m proud to announce that I am donating $1 million to CPS to support arts and enrichment programming.”
This was in response to the meeting Chance had with Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday to discuss to discuss the financial problems facing the third-largest school district in the US, but he left the sit-down frustrated. The city is facing a shortfall in its school budget after Gov. Rauner vetoed a bill delegating $215 million in pension relief to Chicago Public Schools (CPS), insisting it had to be tied to pension reform instead. Chicago has often been targeted by President Donald Trump who repeatedly marvels on Twitter over pervasive violence on the south and west sides.
Chicago Public Schools and I did not lose today. Please don't let that become the narrative. Monday morning I'll have a plan.
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) March 3, 2017
Chance said he and the governor spoke by phone over the weekend, but the talks did not yield a solution.
“The governor gave me a lot of vague answers in our meeting and since has called me over the weekend. Our talks were unsuccessful. Gov. Rauner still won’t commit to giving Chicago’s kids a chance without caveats or ultimatums.”
He said the governor’s veto was causing children to suffer and consequences of this veto will be suffered by Chicago’s kids.
“Our kids should not be held hostage because of political position, if the governor does not act, CPS will be forced to end school 13 days early, which means over 380,000 kids will not have adult supervised activities in June and could be placed in harm’s way.”
Former first lady and fellow Chicago native Michelle Obama shared her appreciation by praising Chance’s donation on Twitter.
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
When asked about the steps the governor has taken, Chance said it was Gov. Rauner’s responsibility to ensure children of Chicago receive a quality education.
“While I’m frustrated and disappointed in the governor’s inaction, that will not stop me from continuing to do all I can to support Chicago’s most valuable resource: it’s children.”
Ultimately, he wants to help cultivate Chicago’s creative minds.
“This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about posturing. Everybody and [their] momma knows about what’s going on in Chicago. It’s constantly talked about. But we’re about to enhance the conversation. As a private citizen, as a parent and as a product of CPS, I’m asking that you guys join and fight with me, organise with me, mobilise with me, for the interest of the children of Chicago. This is the very beginning.”
Calling his contribution “a call to action,” Chance the Rapper also encouraged companies in Chicago and around the country to do their part and donate to Chicago Public schools. In addition to the $1 million, Chance announced that for every $100,000 raised, SocialWorks, a nonprofit organization the rapper co-founded, would donate $10,000, starting with Westcott Elementary School.
Chance closed his remarks saying the following.
“Governor Rauner, do your job!”
[Featured Image by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images]