More than $2 million will be donated to 20 neighborhood schools across Chicago, as Chance the Rapper is set to announce the recipients of grant funds he began raising just six months ago.
Principals from those 20 schools will join Chance on Friday at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, together with representatives of SocialWorks, the non-profit organization he started last year. Also joining Chance in the announcement will be officials from CPS’s Children First Fund, the non-profit arts organization
Ingenuity, and representatives from the Chicago Bulls, who took a leading role among corporations pledging to support Chance’s efforts to increase student access to arts education through the New Chance Arts & Literature Fund. The event will be live-streamed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/i/events/903052831527100416 and chanceraps.com & socialworkschi.org
“As a parent and proud product of CPS, I’m committed to helping Chicago’s children have quality learning experiences that include the arts,” Chance said. “Over the past month, I’ve crisscrossed the city, from Chatham to Chinatown, Humboldt Park to Hyde Park, visiting students and one thing is clear: if we invest in Chicago’s children, we’ll change the world.”
The New Chance Arts & Literature Fund was created by SocialWorks in March, in partnership with CPS and Ingenuity. Following SocialWorks’ mission to empower youth through the arts, education and civic engagement, the group utilized data gathered by Ingenuity to identify schools that have experienced budget cuts and other challenges. They also looked at schools that have struggled to maintain arts teachers or have not yet achieved arts access for every student in every grade. That process led the group to learn more about select schools, including their leadership and existing programs.
With these 20 schools selected, the New Chance Arts & Literature Fund has worked with principals to identify unique ways to strengthen curriculum, provide materials for student support, create enrichment opportunities, while also holding CPS accountable for maintaining high standards. Chance said the thorough and thoughtful approach was important, in order to provide long-term support to schools who need it most.
“We wanted to share these funds with as many schools as possible, while also ensuring that each school would receive enough to have a real impact and make a real difference,” he said. “We realized that if we work together, this could be the start of something so much bigger than anything we can even imagine. This could be the beginning of something truly special.”
Each school (see attached list) will receive $100,000 over the next three years, with budgeting and staffing guidance provided by CPS and Ingenuity. Funds will be held by the Children First Fund and principals will submit requests for purchases through that non-profit organization.
Principals from the 20 selected schools have committed to identifying funds for a fully-staffed arts education program at their school during the grant period. They will also regularly meet with each other, as well as SocialWorks and Ingenuity staff, for idea-sharing and discussions on ways to improve programs and ensure long-term success.
After principals were notified of their nomination last month, they were tasked with creating or expanding meaningful programs that resonate with students, while also fitting within their identified budgets. Those efforts have resulted in programs that will introduce theater, dance, digital arts, ceramics, graphic arts, photography and other programs to students from dozens of Chicago neighborhoods.
“Our students, staff and parents greatly appreciate being selected for this grant,” said Shanele Andrews, principal at Orr Academy High School, which will focus its spending on converting a classroom into a graphic design laboratory, as part of an expanded focus on visual arts. “We all recognize the importance of a strong arts program in schools and the doors of opportunity that can open for our students.”
The New Chance Arts & Literature Fund is just the latest effort by Chance the Rapper to create new opportunities for Chicago students to learn through the arts and improve their chances at success. In March, he also vowed to donate $10,000 to schools for every $100,000 donated to the cause by other organizations. That led to nine schools receiving immediate grants to support their arts programs.;
In August, SocialWorks gave away 30,000 backpacks filled with school supplies, as part of Chance’s support of the Bud Billiken Day Parade – where he served as Grand Marshal – and its pro- education focus. He also continues his arts-focused after-school programs at schools and community centers across the city.
SocialWorks aims to empower youth through the arts, education and civic engagement, while fostering leadership, accessibility and positivity within the youth throughout Chicago.
Our framework for interactive spaces and experiences aims to nurture local talent and open new doors, much like what its co-founder, Chance the Rapper, has done in the music industry. Leveraging a combination of grassroots marketing while staying true to his vision, Chance became the first streaming artis to be nominated for – and win – a Grammy. Together, SocialWorks and friends hope to move forward with the same spirit of innovation, bringing the city and its youth together.;
Ingenuity works to increase arts education access, equity and quality in Chicago Public Schools. Our mission is to ensure that every CPS student, in every grade, in every school, has access to the arts in all schools. We are a national leader in arts data collection and mapping, a leading strategy partner to CPS leadership, and a staunch advocate for the arts in all CPS school. We take a consultative approach to integrating arts education into our schools and focus on four primary strategies: Data and Research, School Leadership and Professional Development, Advocacy and Systems Building and Direct Investments in Arts Programs.
Children First Fund is the Chicago Public Schools’ non-profit foundation that was established to support CPS’ ultimate goal of ensuring that every child in every school is on track at every stage in his or her career to graduate prepared for success in post-secondary education and employment. In this capacity, the CFF acts as a flow-through or fiscal agent for foundation and business grants and individual donations to CPS schools and administrative units, to fund programs that supplement educational opportunities.;
The Harold Washington Cultural Center serves an integral role in the communities it serves, as more than 25,000 youth participate in programming each year. With a mission to preserve and protect African-American culture, it utilizes performing and media arts to deter at-risk behavior among youths. In partnership with community-based organizations and internationally recognized arts institutions, the Harold Washington Cultural Center is able to provide meaningful programs at its 1,000-seat theater, video editing lab, computer lab, full-service recording studio, cascading atrium/exhibition hall and museum.
Date & Time
Thursday, March 30th