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Surrounded by After School Matters participants, Mayor Emanuel today joined Mellody Hobson and George Lucas to announce the City’s $12.2 million investment and a $25 million dollar donation over the next five years from the George Lucas Foundation in After School Matters.
“I would like to thank the George Lucas Foundation for this generous donation to help keep youth productively engaged in a safe environment when they’re out of school,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Providing our children with strong enrichment and summer job opportunities does more than offer children the chance to develop strong, responsible work habits or earn money – it also gives kids a safe alternative to spending unsupervised time on the streets.”
In 2011, the city invested $7.8 M in ASM to support about 7,800 kids and next year the City and sister agencies will be investing $12.2M in ASM to support 12,200 kids. This investment will be able to accommodate 4,400 more children.
The George Lucas Family Foundation’s gift allows After School Matters to expand the number of Chicago teens it can provide a stipend for who participate in the programming and meet certain benchmarks of attendance, behavior, and academic engagement. While After School Matters programs have always been and will continue to be offered free of charge to Chicago teens, a challenging fiscal environment necessitated reducing the teen stipend amount starting with the 2011-2012 program year in order to maintain the number of program opportunities available.
“Both After School Matters and the George Lucas Family Foundation recognize that the future of this great city is its youth—and the time to invest in them is now,” said Mellody Hobson, Board Chair of After School Matters and President of Ariel Investments. “Along with our partners, After School Matters looks forward to helping Chicago youth find their path to a bright future and meaningful life.”
The George Lucas Family Foundation’s gift will ensure After School Matters’ capacity to not just provide the program free of charge, but to reinstate and provide the teen stipend for the next several years. Concurrently, After School Matters and the Foundation plan to initiate a challenge grant to raise additional funds and develop an endowment for provision of teen stipends into the future. Because the gift will be directed entirely toward teen stipends, After School Matters will continue to pursue an aggressive development strategy in order to consistently deliver the highest quality programs for Chicago teens.
“The George Lucas Family Foundation is proud to support Chicago teens and their families through this gift to After School Matters,” said George Lucas, president of the George Lucas Family Foundation. “These funds provide the opportunity for underserved teens to participate in productive and creative after-school programs, while learning critical career and life skills within a safe environment. Our goal is to support and invest in Chicago’s youth, creating opportunities for them to achieve their full potential and become the strong and innovative leaders of tomorrow.”
The City's investment this year in afterschool programming has increased the number and types of programs are available to youth throughout the city. DFSS will provide 16,000 youth with after school enrichment opportunities in 2014. This represents a 25% increase in funding since the Mayor took office, allowing the City to serve 3,000 more kids than three years ago.
In 2014, the City will have more than doubled the number of children who participate in City-funded summer jobs since the Mayor took office – to ensure that we work with our partners to provide 22,000 kids have a safe place to go over the summer. While federal funding for youth job programs has been cut funding by 90 percent, the City has increased its share by 150 percent.
“While the federal government has cut funding to both after school programs and summer jobs, we have increased funding to both, here in Chicago, because we understand that that the greatest investment we can ever make is in our children,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.