After meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner at the end of last week, Chance the Rapper announced Monday that he will be donating $1 million to Chicago public schools as a “call to action” for the beleaguered school district.
The Chicago native, whose real name is Chancellor Bennett, announced his pledge at an elementary school and criticized Rauner for vetoing $215 million in CPS funding last December, NBC Chicago reports.
“This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about posturing,” Bennett told reporters. “This is about taking care of the kids.”
Bennett announced that he would be donating $1 million to CPS and promised to donate an additional $10,000 for every $100,000 raised on his organization’s Social Works website. The “Blessings” rapper said he would begin funding on Monday by donating an initial $10,000 to ten different Chicago public schools.
The Grammy award-winner said he plans to get other artists, friends and corporations involved in his CPS funding effort. He mentioned that he already planned to speak with fellow Chicago rapper Common later Monday afternoon.
Bennett’s decision to donate to CPS came after several “unsuccessful” conversations with the Illinois governor, who Bennett urged to do his job.
“Governor Rauner would like for the narrative of this conversation to be that our conversations were to help find a way to subsidize funding for CPS,” Bennett said. “That’s not what I told y’all, that’s not what’s going on.”
“I want them to fund CPS. It’s not my job to propose any policy or be behind anything other than the kids,” Bennett said.
“Individual contributions will never be enough to address the financial challenges facing CPS,” Rauner’s office said in a statement. Gov. Rauner and his wife have reportedly donated millions of dollars to education initiatives throughout the state, most notably contributing $7 million to organizations benefiting CPS students, according to NBC Chicago.
Former first lady Michelle Obama praised Bennett for his contribution to the Chicago schools in a tweet Monday. “Thanks @chancetherapper for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much,” she said. “You are an example of the power of arts education.”