Chance the Rapper made headlines Friday (March 31) by announcing new plans to help support Chicago Public Schools. Calling a press conference for 2:30 p.m. at Paul Robeson High School on the city's South side in Englewood, the Chicago native took another step forward in his fight to get the funding CPS deserves by teaming up with the Chicago Bulls to donate another $1 million to schools, alongside a new fund to support the arts in Chicago and added donations from his end.
Friday's press conference is the latest move by Chance to prod local government into closing the $215 million funding gap the school system is facing this year by making good on his earlier promise to match every $100,000 donation with $10,000 of his own. That kept promise means twelve more public schools will receive $10,000 individually. He also announced the creation of New Chance Arts & Lit Fund to help fund arts programs in schools hit hard by budget cuts. In just over a month's time, Chance and his team have raised nearly $2.2 million.
"It is my job just as who I am to bring light and attention to public school funding, broken formulas and especially how it affects my hometown where there's 90 percent minority students," he said. "We all individually play roles in the betterment of kids of Chicago and it's an on-going conversation of the detriment of Chicago but we can all really get involved here."
The saga began in late February with a sit-down between Chance and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner after the two exchanged pleasantries on Twitter following the former's trio of Grammy wins. He followed that up with a public forum where he announced he would make a $1 million dollar donation to the public schools through the Social Works organization.
For Chance, who attended Jones College Prep in the city's south loop and honed his wordplay at after-school poetry programs, the advocacy for education is an issue near to his heart. The Chatham rep is proving to be a stalwart for the students of Chicago at a time when funding for arts education specifically is being cut with reckless abandon across the country.
"We all know that Illinois' education system is one of the most underfunded in the nation, which has forced CPS to make drastic cuts to the classroom," Chance added. "Students have lost valuable teachers, supplies, access to after school and enrichment programs, especially in the arts and special needs programs. As a parent and as a proud CPS graduate, I'm committed to helping Chicago's students have a quality learning experience and a quality space."