Students in Chicago Public Schools are penning a thank you note to Chance the Rapper for generously donating $1 million to his home school system.
Chance, born Chancellor Bennett, announced the gift Monday, March 6, after he met with Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss the CPS budget deficit earlier this month. The meetings, which the rapper called “unsuccessful,” led him to take charge and call for donations to be made to his nonprofit SocialWorks. In addition to his $1 million grant to CPS, every $100,000 SocialWorks raises will result in a $10,000 donation to a Chicago school.
“First and foremost, we as Chicago Public Schools students would like to thank you for the supportive donation to our schools,” Lake View High School students Alex Rojas, Alondra Cerros and Annelisse Betancourt wrote in an open letter published by Billboard Wednesday, March 15. “As we all know, CPS has been struggling financially and your donation has really given us a push to get to where we need to be and possibly motivate others to give back to the community as well.”
Since Chance’s announcement to give back to local education, he’s earned praise from New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose and inspired Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett to rebuild nonwhite communities by improving education.
“You’re more than just an artist to us, you are a way of life,” the students wrote. “We may not be from the same side, but we come from the same city. We just want to thank you for not forgetting where you came from and helping the city of Chicago in more ways than just being an inspirational rapper. … You gave $1 million of your personal money to Chicago schools and that’s something no one has done for us.”
The 10th-graders, who are Hispanic, praised Chance’s support of nonwhite youth in a time when their issues are cast aside and crime and violence cause teens to deal with “many stereotypes and restrictions.”
“We thank you for supporting Chicago’s minority youth when not many others have put [the] time [in] to think about the kids,” they wrote. “As minority students, we feel ignored and as though we don’t have enough support from bigger influences like you. … Your music puts some at ease because we know that someone cares and someone has experienced these daily struggles, too. You and your music have taught us that you can be true to yourself and still be successful, still be self-made.”
Chance thanked the students for their message and said major developments for CPS were coming soon.
I appreciate you guys, and you'll be happy to know the work has only just started. Huge things to come over the next 2weeks. https://t.co/tplZMMW9DS
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) March 15, 2017