Chance the Rapper made major headlines when he donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. That funding, which will go to arts and enrichment programs, also includes a pledge from SocialWorks, his nonprofit: The organization will donate $10,000 for each $100,000 donated by outside companies.
Now, three 10th graders from Lake View High School have written an open letter, published on Billboard, thanking the rapper for his donation.
The letter explains why Chance's donation was so special to the students of Chicago.
"You're more than just an artist to us, you are a way of life," the students write. "You make music that we can relate to on many levels, because you know what living in Chicago is like, and you want to make changes in the city. 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’re using your fame for good and not just to look good. You gave $1 million dollars of your personal money to Chicago schools and that's something no one has done for us."
They also emphasized the daily struggle of growing up in Chicago.
"We thank you for supporting Chicago's minority youth when not many others have put time to think about the kids. As minority students we feel ignored and as though we don’t have enough support from bigger influences like you. Being born and raised in Chicago is not easy at all. There are so many stereotypes and restrictions we have as teenagers due to the frequent violence and crimes. 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."
We applaud Chance for putting quite a bit of money where his mouth is, as one of a host of celebrities who give back through their foundations. Of course, the ultimate goal would be for the government to work in a way that would mean private citizens wouldn't need to make large personal donations to something as necessary as public education. But we're not holding our breath.