In a press conference held Monday at Westcott Elementary School, located just a few blocks from where he grew up on Chicago’s South Side, Chance the Rapper announced he is donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The Grammy Award-winning rapper (real name Chancellor Bennett) thanked his fans for their role, noting that the donation money came out of ticket sales for his upcoming tour, made possible by “unprecedented coordination” between competing corporations like LiveNation and Ticketmaster as well as independent promoters and venues across the country.
“I’m committed to help Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences that include the arts,” Bennett said. “As an artist and after-school teacher, I know the arts are invaluable. They teach kids lessons about how small efforts can have big effects and how collaboration can lead to creativity. This check is a call to action. I’m challenging major companies in Chicago and across the U.S. to donate and take action.”
Former First Lady—and fellow Chicago native—Michelle Obama tweeted her thanks to the rapper later on Monday evening.
The announcement comes days after Bennett’s meeting with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner over funding CPS. At the conference, Bennett criticized Rauner’s “vague answers” in their meeting, but declared that they “will not stop me from doing everything I can to support Chicago’s most valuable resource, its children.” Bennett implored corporations and fellow celebrities to follow his example and donate to fill CPS’ current $215 million funding gap. Bennett announced that for every $100,000 donated this way, his organization SocialWorks will donate $10,000 to a school of their choosing, focusing on art enrichment and after-school programs.
“As a private citizen, as a parent, and as a product of CPS, I ask that you guys join and fight with me,” Bennett said. “Organize with me, mobilize with me, in the interest of the children of Chicago. This is the beginning.”
Watch the video above.