Chance the Rapper Pledges $1 Million to Chicago Public Schools

Chance the Rapper is not happy with the public education system in his native city of Chicago. So he’s taking matters into his own hands.

Chance, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, met with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner last Friday to discuss the poor state of the city’s public schools.

The meeting came after schools said they would freeze $46 million in education spending after Rauner vetoed a $215 million funding bill that hundreds of schools were counting on. Chicago Public Schools had reportedly planned to use the money to pay for employees’ pensions.

On Tuesday, Chance held a live-streamed press conference at Westcott Elementary School, located in Chicago’s South Side. “I grew up two blocks from here,” says the 23-year-old rapper.

Chance says the governor gave him “a lot of vague answers” during their meeting and called him over the weekend. “Our talks were unsuccessful,” Chance adds.

The Grammy-winning artist announced that he would pledge $1 million to CPS to supports arts and enrichment programming. Chance says the funds will come through ticket sales from his upcoming tour.

“Our kids should not be held hostage because of political position,” Chance said in the press conference.

He closed out the conference with saying, “Gov. Rauner, do your job.”

Chance’s announcement came right as Rauner’s office released a memo outlining two possible solutions to the $215 million deficit. One option was to ask Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to transfer $215 million in Tax Increment Financing dollars. The other involved a revised education bill.

“As the people of Illinois wait for Governor Rauner, I will push towards the goal of $215 million and for every $100,000 we receive, SocialWorks will donate $10,000 to a school of our choosing,” he writes on a page of his non-profit organization Social Works, Inc.