Chance The Rapper Donates $1 Million To Chicago Public Schools (Video)

Chance The Rapper is blazing a path all his own. He garnered critical acclaim in 2013, with his mixtape Acid Rap, and became a household name in Hip-Hop circles. By 2016, he became the first artist, in any genre, to appear on the Billboard 200 album chart with a streaming-only project. That mixtape, Coloring Book, went on to win 3 Grammy Awards at the 2017 awards ceremony. Chance has done this without ever having released music for sale, or having a deal with a major record company.

Chance The Rapper Takes Home 3 Grammys With No Problem

What makes Chance even more remarkable, however, is humanitarianism. Last year, Ambrosia For Heads named the Chicago artist its Hip-Hop Person of the Year, precisely because of his social activist and musical accomplishments. In 2016, alone, Chance launched the Warmest Winter initiative, a Chicago-based clothing drive for the city’s homeless population which raised over $100,000, teamed with the NAACP to use his American tour dates to register voters at his shows, worked with President Obama on his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and physically lead Chicago youth to early polling places, through his Parade to the Polls event, helping Cook County set a record for ballots cast during early voting.

2016: The Year Chance Stood With The People & Showed He’s So Much More Than A Rapper

Chance has shown no signs of slowing down in 2017. When Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner congratulated him for his Grammy wins, on Twitter, Chance used the opportunity to ask the governor for a meeting regarding the financial crisis facing the Chicago Public School system. Last year, in a battle over pension funding for teachers in Chicago districts, the governor refused to sign a school funding bill, unless certain reforms were made to the way teacher pensions were funded in Chicago. Five families in Chicago sued the state, on behalf of the Chicago Public Schools, claiming that the funding revisions Rauner was proposing were discriminatory. The lawsuit alleges that, for every dollar the state spent on educating children outside the city, about 76 cents was spent on students in Chicago, where there are substantially more minorities and lower income families.

Regardless of which side is right, the net result of the governor’s refusal to sign the bill was a $215 million shortfall in funding for Chicago schools, and Chance was seeking to speak with the governor about what his plan was to move forward and rectify the situation.

After their meeting was moved due to a weather emergency in Southern Illinois that required the governor’s attention, Chance and Rauner met on Friday (March 3) for about 40 minutes. When Chance emerged, he was frustrated, saying “He gave me a lot of vague answers, so we’ll see what happens.” He also quickly tweeted “Chicago Public Schools and I did not lose today. Please don’t let that become the narrative. Monday morning I’ll have a plan,” and followed up with “The fight has just begun.”

True to his word, Chance emerged today with a plan, and a hefty one, at that. Rather than wait for the state to resolve its political issues and do the right thing, he announced that he was donating $1 million of his own money to support arts programming in Chicago Public Schools, and issued a call to action to the city’s business community to do the same, in order to help bridge the gap created by the governor’s refusal to sign the bill. Chance also used the opportunity to further take Governor Rauner to task, saying “”Gov. Rauner can use his executive power to help get Chicago’s children the resources they need to fulfill their God-given right to learn. Gov. Rauner still won’t commit to give Chicago’s kids a chance without caveats or ultimatums. Gov. Rauner, do your job.”

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While Chance’s donation does not come close to stemming the tide of the financial deficit, it is an important statement, and, hopefully, one that will spark others to act both politically and financially. It is also further testament to a rising Hip-Hop icon who literally puts his money where his mouth is.