Chance the Rapper continues his mission to raise funds for public schools in his hometown. As the Chicago Tribune reported, Chance enlisted the help of the Chicago Bulls to donate $1 million to support arts education through the newly formed New Chance Arts & Literature Fund.
The announcement of the Chicago Bulls donation came during a press conference held at the Paul Robeson High School on March 31, 2017, where Chance the Rapper was joined by city leaders, school administrators, and the team’s President Michael Reinsdorf.
During his remarks, Chance the Rapper spoke about his motivation for raising funds for the beleaguered Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
“As a parent and a proud CPS graduate I am committed to helping Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences and quality in a learning space. And as artist and an after-school teacher, I know that the arts are essential.”
Though many assumed that Chance’s recent $1 million donation to CPS was a one-time gift, the rapper is committed to sustained fundraising for Chicago’s schools, which continue to face not only financial issues but the ramifications of continuous acts of violence that plague the city on a daily basis.
Whether through Grammy-winning songs or social media posts, Chance the Rapper is a frequent supporter for his beloved Chicago. Before his first significant donation to CPS, Chance had a very public kerfuffle with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner when the two met to discuss state funding for the city’s schools. The meeting left Chance despondent about the dire state of CPS and disappointed in a perceived apathy on the part of Governor Rauner.
After his meeting with Governor Rauner, Chance the Rapper was emboldened to increase public advocacy efforts for the children of Chicago. So far, the money raising initiatives by Chance have garnered $2.2 million with more expected in the coming year. His latest fundraising efforts with the Chicago Bulls again shine a spotlight on a city and state at a crisis point.
Chance the Rapper’s fundraising brings visibility to Illinois’ unprecedented budget deadlock at its impact on the children in the state. Every day there are new stories about the financial burden that educational institutions and social programs face due to the state’s legislative stalemate that continues seemingly without end.
The Chicago Bulls donation for the city’s struggling school district was made concurrently with a gift from Chance the Rapper’s SocialWorks Initiative which gave $10,000 to 12 CPS schools. Started in 2016, the SocialWorks non-profit began with a mission of empowering youth through engagement with the arts, education, and civic responsibility. Chance’s non-profit organization also has a program called “Flex Your Vote: A Millenial Celebration of Democracy” aimed at increasing voter literacy among young people.
News of the Chicago Bulls donation comes at a time when Chance the Rapper is reaching career heights once unseen for an independent artist. His latest musical release, Coloring Book was the first mixtape to chart on the Billboard 200 without physical copies being available in stores. The acclaimed project garnered Chance the Best Rap Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards, which was a first for a streaming-only release.
The New Chance Arts & Literature Fund will be a collaborative effort with the Children’s First Fund, which is the CPS’s foundation. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Children’s First Fund has raised over $100 million dollars in tax-deductible donations for CPS for over 30 years.
The money that Chance the Rapper continues to raise from organizations such as the Chicago Bulls will impact Chicago’s schools at a time when funds are desperately needed. Indeed, Chance’s emphasis on arts and letters comes when arts programs nationwide are suffering from budget cuts, and education funding is waning.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]