Chance the Rapper donates $1M to Chicago public schools

Chance the Rapper is donating $1 million to Chicago public schools, the musician announced Monday, after talks broke down with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner over the weekend.

"While I'm frustrated and disappointed in the governor's inaction, that will not stop me from doing all I can to support Chicago's most valuable resource: its children," said the musician Monday, broadcasting his press conference on Instagram Live at Wescott Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago, "three blocks from where I was raised."

"Today, I am proud to announce I am donating $1 million to Chicago public schools," he said, urging corporations to join him.

Chance's efforts caught the attention of former first lady Michelle Obama, who lauded the artist via Twitter. "Thanks @chancetherapper for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much," Obama wrote, tagging the fellow Chicago native. "You are an example of the power of arts education."

The contribution comes on the heels of Chance (real name: Chancelor Bennett) voicing his frustration following a 30-minute meeting with Rauner Friday to discuss funding for Chicago schools, which have suffered substantial budget cuts and closures. He called the governor's responses "vague."

The Republican governor is currently in a two-year budget stalemate with Democratic lawmakers. In December, Rauner vetoed a plan to allot $215 million to Chicago Public Schools after he said Democratic leaders "publicly reneged" on a pension reform measure to slash state employee retirement costs.

"He has since called me over the weekend. Our talks were unsuccessful," said Chance, adding that the politician would not commit to the funding "without caveats or ultimatums."

Chance said the governor "broke his promise to Chicago's children" when he "vetoed the funding to close out the school year. Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positioning."

Prior to Chance's press conference on Monday, Rauner's administration circulated a memo with options for funding public schools, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"As you guys know, I'm not a politician," said Chance of those proposals, noting he wasn't looking for slashed government subsidies.

Chance, per the Sun-Times, comes from an activist family: His father, Ken Bennett, was an aide to Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago, in the 1980s, and a former deputy chief of staff to current mayor Rahm Emanuel, a top official in the Obama administration.

The 23-year-old Coloring Book rapper initially reached out to Rauner about a sit-down after the governor congratulated him on his recent Grammy wins.

Chance closed with this: "Gov. Rauner, do your job."

Contributing: Jaleesa Jones, The Associated Press

USA TODAY


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