Chance the Rapper stands at a lectern in front of the classroom at Westcott Elementary School in Chicago

Illinois Governor Downplays Chance The Rapper $1 Million Donation As Not Enough

It’s been widely reported that Chancelor Bennett, AKA, Chance the Rapper, has donated $1 million to support Chicago Public Schools (CPS). However, Illinois Governer Bruce Rauner, the man whose stance on the current CPS funding crisis apparently prompted this charitable act, isn’t so sure that Chance is spending his money wisely. The commentary comes after the Governor was criticized by the rapper for vetoing a bill back in December that would have given the struggling Chicago school district a sorely-needed cash infusion of $215 million. According to AP News, Rauner’s office issued the following statement in defense of that move.

“While the Rauners are passionate donors to our schools, individual contributions will never be enough to address the financial challenges facing CPS. It would be helpful if CPS officials came to Springfield and joined in serious good faith discussions about the long-term stability of all of our schools.”

Bennett, who proudly refers to himself as a “public school kid,” won three awards at this year’s Grammy’s, including one for Best New Artist. After Governor Rauner sent his congratulations, Chance seized the opportunity to ask the politician for a meeting to discuss the funding for Chicago’s Schools.

Chance was quick to reply with the following tweet.

Chance the Rapper hangs out backstage at the Grammy's with the show's host James Corden
Chance The Rapper and GRAMMY Awards host James Corden. [Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS]

A meeting was set up after the exchange, and although it was postponed a couple of times due to inclement weather, the two finally met for a 40-minute discussion which left the rapper “flustered.”

“He gave me a lot of vague answers, so we’ll see what happens. For a second, it sounded like we were going to — sounded like we were going somewhere. But it sounds like it’s hinged on passing other bills.”

Chance told reporters that he also asked the Governor to “take the children off the table,” as he left the meeting. Seemingly propelled into action by the experience, the South Side Chicago native later tweeted to his 3.4 million followers that “the fight has just begun.”

In the days that followed, Chance the Rapper put out a “call to action” to corporations and other artists to join the fight against de-funding public schools. He began by announcing the generous $1 million donation to CPS, which was made possible by advance ticket sales for his upcoming concert tour. The first school to benefit from the money will be Westcott Elementary, which is located just a few blocks away from the neighborhood where Chance grew up. The school will receive a check for $10,000 and the ChanceRaps.com website also contains a link to SocialWorks Chicago, which encourages others to donate and invest in the CPS district as well. SocialWorks, which was co-founded by Bennett, promises that for every $100,00 raised, they will donate $10,000 to a Chicago Public School. The SocialWorks website states the following.

“As the people of Illinois wait for Governor Rauner, I will push towards the goal of $215 million and for every $100,000 we receive, SocialWorks will donate $10,000 to a school of our choosing.”

It may surprise some to know that Chance the Rapper is no stranger to politics and local government. His father, Ken Bennett, once worked for Barack Obama when he was an Illinois Senator. He also served as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s deputy chief of staff.

Governer of Illinois Bruce Rauner talking to news reporters
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. [Image by Sophia Tareen/AP Images]

Family ties aside, Chance wants folks to know that his motivation is about social action and the educational welfare of Chicago’s kids, not politics. During his press conference at the Westcott School, the Grammy-winning rapper had this to say.

“This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about posturing. This is about taking care of the kids. 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.”

[Featured Image by Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images]

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