Frustrated by seeming government inaction, Chance the Rapper announced his own plan to fix his hometown school district’s major funding deficits yesterday (March 6)—starting with a $1 million donation. 


“Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positions,” the Chicago native said during a press conference, tweeted above, announcing the donation to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He said the money, which was raised largely from ticket sales, would go toward “arts enrichment programming.”

GQ notes that the press conference followed the MC’s meeting with Illinois governor Bruce Rauner to discuss the district’s fiscal crisis. Chance said their talks were “unsuccessful” and that the governor gave him “vague” answers. He also discussed the governor’s veto of a $215 million funding plan last year to partially remedy the resource disparity between CPS and other districts. “While I’m frustrated and disappointed in the governor’s inaction, that will not stop me from continuing to do all that I can to support Chicago’s most valuable resource: its children,” he added. 

The rapper addressed specific aspects of his multifaceted plan at the press conference, and expounds on them via the website for his nonprofit organization, SocialWorks. His plan involves pressuring Rauner and local and national corporations to pay into CPS’ deficit. SocialWorks will then donate an additional $10,000 to a school of its choice for every $100,000 received, no matter the source. Rolling Stone reports that per his $1 million donation, Chance will give an additional $10,000 to 10 schools, including Westcott Elementary School, where he held the press conference.

“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 writes. “The state of Chicago Public Schools needs to be remedied, and it’s the governor’s job to lead that effort.”

The city’s Board of Education sued the state last month, saying Illinois maintains “separate and demonstrably unequal” funding standards for Chicago’s students, who are 90.1 percent children of color.

(H/t The Chicago Tribune)