In an effort to help local students get better access to computer science education, Google has teamed up with Chance the Rapper to donate $1.5 million to Chicago Public Schools and education engagement around the city.
$1 million will be given to SocialWorks, Chance’s nonprofit that aims to empower youth through the arts, education and civic engagement, while the remaining $500,000 will go to the Children First Fund to support computer science programming at CPS.
Chance, born Chancelor Bennett, surprised students in a Google coding workshop Wednesday morning at Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Paideia Academy in the South Shore neighborhood. In the workshop, fifth grade students were taught coding basics on Scratch, a coding program designed for kids.
Chance the Rapper surprises Chicago students at Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Paideia Academy during a Google coding event. pic.twitter.com/bdcHatwjqY
— Katherine Davis (@katmeldavis) December 6, 2017
“The research says that 65 percent of grade school kids are going to be working in careers that don’t exist today,” said Justin Steele, who leads Google’s U.S. philanthropy program, to reporters at the event. “It’s important for those kids to be able to learn the skills for tomorrow.”
Steele said Google wanted to work with Chance specifically on the philanthropic initiative because they support his mission to help underserved communities in Chicago.
“We’ve been inspired by what Chance and SocialWork are doing on the South Side of Chicago,” Steele said. “There’s so much talent and creativity here, and we really want to find ways to make coding relevant for kids, and what better way than to explore the intersection of arts and coding?”
While addressing students at the event, Chance said that when he entered high school at Jones College Prep, he was introduced to students from all over the city, some of whom he realized had more resources than he did going to school on the South Side.
“They were telling me all types of things they were experiencing in grade school that I had never heard of,” Chance said.
The rapper has raised about $2.5 million for CPS and has donated $1 million to 20 schools since March, according to the Chicago Tribune. Chance has long been publicly speaking out against local politicians and how they use tax dollars to support CPS, especially institutions on the South and West sides of the city.
“When they spend those funds, a lot of the time, they don’t make sure that the money reaches schools in our neighborhoods,” Chance said.
After the event, Gabriella Dike, 11, who is a fifth-grader at the academy and one of the students in the coding workshop, said she was surprised to see Chance at her school and was glad to have learned about coding.
“If I don’t become a doctor or a lawyer…I’m probably going to do coding because it seems very cool [and] so I can change how the world is today,” she said.