(CBS) — Chance the Rapper has made good on his promise to donate more than $2 million to underfunded arts programs at 20 Chicago Public Schools.
The recording artist is a product of public schools here and intends to send his daughter to public schools. He says he wants her to have a quality learning experience — one that is free of the violence he sees today.
“In the summertime when the city’s at its most beautiful point, when people are supposed to be outside enjoying themselves, there’s an undercurrent of something ominous,” he said Friday in announcing the grants at the Harold Washington Cultural Center.
He said twice recently he has been confronted by young men who said they would shoot him. He says he could sense “a chip on their shoulders” and a feeling that they had been cheated.
Chance said that assuring adequate funding will stop the escalating violence.
“Funding quality education for public students is the most important investment a community can make,” he said.
Viable arts programs can help empower youth through education and civic engagement, he says.
Each of the 20 schools will receive $100,000 over a period of three years along with staffing assistance through the Chicago Board of Education.
Principal Antonio Acevedo will transform a little-used classroom at the Whittier School into a ceramics studio. He said he hopes state lawmakers take heed.
“He’s only 24 years old and look what he’s doing,” Acevedo said. “We can’t get people in the General Assembly to get their act together to get these schools a budget, and he says, ‘I’m not going to wait for that. I’m going to do what I can.’ We need more students like this.”
The rapper’s New Chance Art & Literature Fund and SocialWorks not-for-profit utilized existing data to identify schools that have experienced budget cuts and other challenges, have struggled to maintain arts teachers or have not yet achieved arts access for every student in every grade.
Chance the Rapper will be a donor again. He said he has begun planning for next year and eventually wants to help all Chicago public schools.