During a special appearance at Harold Washington Cultural Center on Friday (Sept. 1), Chance the Rapper announced that his Social Works organization has raised $2.2 million for an arts initiative at Chicago Public Schools.
“Quality education for public schools is the most important investment a community can make,” the Grammy-winning rapper told a crowd of students and supporters at the event, where he channeled the late Steve Jobs, donning a black turtle neck, faded jeans, and his trademark “3” hat.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 20 schools will benefit from the donation, each receiving $100,000 over the course of three years. Principals have vowed to put these funds towards budgeting and staffing arts programs with guidance from CPS Ingenuity, a local advocacy group, and Chance’s nonprofit.
Principals are reportedly committed to new initiatives like dance studios for ballet, hip-hop, and modern dance classes, design laboratories, sculpting, and pottery courses, remodeling auditoriums, and fixing existing art supplies.
In addition to all of this, in June of 2018, Chance is set to launch the first-ever annual Twilight Awards, which will highlight teachers, students, parents, and principals. It will be hosted by James Corden.
Chance donated $1 million of the $2.2 million in March. Shortly afterwards, he announced that the Chicago Bulls donated another $1 million towards the cause, helping him launch the Chance Arts & Literature Fund.
The Chicago rapper’s efforts have extended beyond this, as well. Last month, he donated 30,000 backpacks equipped with school supplies to students at the Bud Billiken Parade, where he was honored as the Grand Marshal.
During his presentation on Friday, Chance explained why this is an important cause. “Each conversation, every contribution, every tweet brings this city and the nation a step closer to providing a well-rounded, quality education for each and every child,” said Chance. “Because despite the headlines we read and the stories we hear about kids in Chicago, and Atlanta, and Baltimore and Philadelphia, despite all these stories in so many cities across the nation, we also see beacons of hope.”