The Kanye West Foundation (KWF), founded in 2007 by the late Dr. Donda West, was established to help combat the severe dropout problem plaguing America’s communities. It is through the collaboration of community and corporate partnerships that the 2nd “Stay in School” Benefit Concert, taking place at the historic Chicago Theatre on Thursday, June 11th, was born. This is the first major event for the Kanye West Foundation since the 2007 passing of its founder Dr. Donda West, the mother of Kanye West. It is also the first concert Kanye has performed in the city of Chicago in over a year. The concert will be taped by Fuse, the national music network, and will air later this summer.
Highland Park High School sophomore, David Abrams, conceived the event concept as he listened to a story on NPR about a Chicago Public School (CPS) student who was failing out of school. As an incentive to stay in school, the student’s mother offered two tickets to a Lil Wayne concert. David then turned to his mom and said “We should do that – let’s get kids to SHOW up to school, get their grades up and put on a free concert for them.” David formed S.H.O.W (Students Helping Our World), which is run by a group of Highland Park teens and supported by parents like Wendy Abrams, an environmental activist and founder of Cool Globes. S.H.O.W formed partnerships with CPS, the City of Chicago, former quarterback of the Chicago Bears Kyle Orton, and ultimately the Kanye West Foundation.
“I have always had the desire to help people and make the world a better place. I believe that youth are the music for creating a world filled with harmony. To create such a world, however, we must all do our part,” says Mr. West who waived his fees for the events on June 11th. Joseph Collins, CEO of the Kanye West Foundation states, “This cause is directly in line with the mission of the KWF. We see this event as a launching pad and long-term effort to help students in school.” He continues, “Immediately upon learning about David Abrams and S.H.O.W, we knew this was a good match. The fact that a young person chose to lead this effort and challenge his peers to do better in school is amazing and exactly what Dr. West envisioned when she and Kanye created this foundation. I believe these efforts directly support the vision Dr. West had for the organization and for America’s children. I see this concert as the seed that will allow us to ‘fulfill a mother’s dream.'”
“I want to thank the Kanye West Foundation for supporting the Chicago Public Schools and encouraging our students to stay in school and graduate,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “Education is the key to our children’s future and by working together we can continue the progress we’ve made by producing graduates who are prepared for jobs and the global economy.”
S.H.O.W will offer free tickets to students who demonstrate marked improvements in attendance and/or grades in the last quarter of the current school year. Approximately 3,000 inner city and Chicago area students will have the opportunity to meet Kanye West and experience an intimate behind-the-scenes snapshot of how he prepares for a concert.
Airing the concert later this summer, “Fuse is thrilled to provide a national television platform to help raise awareness of the important work The Kanye West Foundation and S.H.O.W are doing to keep students in school,” said Dave Weier, VP of music programming and talent relations. “To capture an event that is the culmination of the power of music and the hard work and dedication of students is really exciting for us.”
The June 11th event consists of (4) parts:
PRESS CONFERENCE 10:00am (TBC) Formal announcement of the goals associated with the event, the ongoing collaboration with S.H.O.W and CPS the future plans for the Kanye West Foundation. Representatives from each respective organization will be present. YOUTH COMPONENT 12:00pm S.H.O.W - Students Helping Our World Prior to the evening's event, a very special pre-show captured by Fuse will occur. Most youth do not have the opportunity to attend a concert until age 18. However, as part of the day's festivities, over 3,000 youth from Chicago Public Schools accompanied by adults will have an exclusive opportunity to attend a special pre-show sound check as Kanye prepares for the evening's performance. Youth will be entertained with positive messaging encouraging them to not only to stay in school but also to graduate. KWF VIP RECEPTION 5:30pm - 7:30pm Red Carpet/Step & Repeat (ongoing throughout the reception) Later that evening VIP guests will be invited to join Kanye and celebrity guests for an exclusive meet and greet in the lobby of the historic Chicago Theatre. Immediately following the reception, guests will be escorted into the theatre for the concert with Kanye and his celebrity guests. "Fuse Presents: Kanye West Live From The Chicago Theatre" Doors open at 7:30pm, concert at 8:30pm Performing tracks off his latest album, 808's and Heartbreak, corporate sponsors and their guests will be hosted by Kanye West, Fuse and his foundation for an intimate performance at the historic Chicago Theatre. The concert airing on Fuse later this summer (premiere date to be announced) will benefit the Kanye West Foundation's 2nd annual "Stay In School" initiative and S.H.O.W. Pictured: Musician Kanye West attends The Metropolitan Opera's 125th Anniversary Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center on March 15, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)