Chicago-area schools are not in great shape. The third-largest school system in the nation is facing a budget crisis so bad that its 400,000 students could face an early end to the school year.
The state is now two years without a budget, as a number of political actors – including the State’s Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and the Democratic State House Speaker Michael Madigan – remain at loggerheads over questions including pensions and the use of tax increment financing to fund education budget deficits. Meanwhile, schools continue to close, and research from the Urban League last year indicated that minority students have the same odds today of attending a racially segregated school as Chicago residents did 60 years ago.
One of the city’s most famous celebrities, however, has jumped in to the fray, and has already done more for Chicago’s schools than anyone in a seat of power. Chance the Rapper – the 23-year old wunderkind who just won best new artist at the Grammys – has donated $1 million the Chicago Public School System.
In a statement, Chance remarked,
I’m honored to make this donation to Chicago Public Schools Foundation and help cultivate Chicago creative minds. I’m committed to helping Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences that include the arts.
In addition to this gift, he announced that his organization – Social Works Chicago – would donate an additional $10,000 to individual schools for every $100,000 raised by corporate and private donations. A group of 10th graders, including Alex Rojas, Alondra Cerros and Annelisse Betancourt, wrote a letter telling Chance that there “are many big celebrities from Chicago, but you are one of the few that really give back.”
This incredible act of philanthropy occurred after Gov. Rauner Tweeted his congratulations to Chance following his receipt of three Grammys. The young rapper responded by requesting a meeting, which the Governor agreed to.
Congrats to @Chancetherapper for making history as an independent artist and taking home 3 Grammys. IL is proud that you're one of our own.
— Bruce Rauner (@GovRauner) February 13, 2017
Thank you Governor, I would love to have meeting with you this week if possible. https://t.co/wFC41NQqGq
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) February 13, 2017
Whatever actually occurred in the meeting, the fact is that afterwards Chance felt compelled to step up himself. A pretty remarkable display of humanity from a young independent artist.