Society

Rapper Donates $1 Million To Chicago Public Schools

| by Ray Brown

Grammy award-winner Chance the Rapper, whose legal name is Chancelor Bennett, donated $1 million to Chicago public schools and challenged Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois to do more to help the city's troubled school system.

"Illinois' education system is one of the most severely underfunded in the nation," Chance said in a statement posted on the website of his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks. "After years of being underfunded, the Chicago Public Schools system has been forced to cut teachers, supplies, and after school programs. Despite having already cut $260 million in costs internally, CPS was left a $215 million gap in their budget as of May 2016."

He continued: "To prevent further irreparable damage, the only solution is for the Governor to sign the bill allocating these necessary funds to CPS, and then working with the General Assembly to pass a budget and education funding reform."

In addition to the $1 million, Chance said his organization will continue to donate 10 percent of its proceeds to individual schools in the Chicago area, but warned that public schools can't run on donations alone.

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"Charitable donations certainly help fill gaps to provide enrichment opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, but can't make up for less-than-adequate state funding of our schools," he said. "The state of Chicago Public Schools needs to be remedied, and it's the Governor's job to lead that effort."

The $1 million donation will come from concert ticket sales and funds from event promoters, including LiveNation and Ticketmaster, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Chance's father, Ken Bennett, is the director of his son's SocialWorks organization.

Ken is a prominent political figure in Chicago, having most recently worked as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's deputy chief of staff. He was also the state director for former President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign as well as the former president's White House deputy assistant and deputy director of presidential personnel.

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Although Chance's father is close to the controversial mayor, an anonymous source told the Chicago Sun-Times that the rapper is not coordinating with the mayor and declined to meet with him before the announcement.

"The mayor likes to be in control of everything," the source said. "He has his own plan to save CPS, and this is not part of it. But Chance is his own man. He’s trying to solve this himself. Ken is not involved."

Former first lady Michelle Obama, a Chicago native, praised the rapper's donation to the city's school system.

"Thanks [Chance] for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much," she tweeted. "You are an example of the power of arts education."

Sources: SocialWorks, Chicago Sun-Times, Michelle Obama/Twitter / Photo credit: The Come Up Show/Flickr

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