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A plan to invest and enhance access to enrichment programming within the school day.

Five years ago, in March 2017, Chance The Rapper announced a $1M investment in Chicago public schools and relayed a call to action for the nation to assist. Powered by Chance’s nonprofit, SocialWorks, this initial contribution would start an initiative called ‘The New Chance: Arts & Literature Fund,’ aiming to invest and enhance access to enrichment programming within the school day. Since that cold and rainy Monday in March, SocialWorks’ New Chance Fund has raised over $5.2M in support of 51 Chicago public schools in need, bringing much-needed equipment, training, and arts-based programming within the regular school day.

This installation showcases the work from Mather High School, a New Chance Fund school utilizing funds to build a literacy lab, provide subsidized ESL certification, and out-of-the-classroom college and community field trips. All made possible through The New Chance Fund.

Thank you to Hotel Lincoln for the opportunity to share the impact of The New Chance Fund!

Keep reading below to learn more or donate to the Fund.

Impact of the New Chance Fund

The New Chance Fund has established three cohorts since 2017, focused on different curriculums – Arts, Computer Science, and Literary Arts. The Fund supports over 10K students each year and their teachers, bringing in renovated learning spaces, instruments, drones, and community partners. For more information on the work within the New Chance schools, view the youtube playlist below or the February 2021 impact report.

You can find the complete list of schools impacted by the New Chance Fund here.

About the New Chance Fund

SocialWorks, Ingenuity, and the Children First Fund created the New Chance Fund (CFF). As three stakeholders in the Chicago public school, the parties came together to provide a flexible granting system, helping administrators respond directly to the needs of their school and defend against budget cuts.

Before a cohort announcement, CFF and SocialWorks come together to identify goals and schools that fit the criteria. At the very least, this criterion is the percentage of Free/Reduced Lunch, attendance, disciplinary violations, graduation rates, percentage of the budget cut, and lack of an arts program. Schools are then invited to apply and receive a $100K grant over the next three years.

The vision for the New Chance Fund

Equitable access to public education needs to be a priority. The New Chance Fund is a response to the public school funding formula. According to the state of Illinois, school systems should spend $22K on every student to ensure success. Currently, CPS spends $18K per student. The gap will likely increase given rising costs and a decrease in state and federal funding.

What will it take to ensure every student has access to quality public education. As we’ve seen with The New Chance Fund, schools can improve through intention, collaboration, and funding. Although it’s been five years and Illinois has yet to pass a significant education funding bill, SocialWorks’ New Chance Fund continues to provide an investment in Chicago’s most valuable resource: its children.