George Lucas Donates $25 Million to Chicago Afterschool Program

George Lucas Donates $25 Million to Chicago Afterschool Program

Filmmaker George Lucas has made a five-year, $25 million gift to After School Matters, an arts and education program in Chicago that is chaired by his wife, Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Awarded through the Lucases' family foundation, the gift will be used in part to reinstate the stipend — discontinued two years ago after the organization's fundraising revenues took a hit — that After School Matters pays to the 22,000 teens participating in its program. The gift also will be used to fund challenge grants over the next five years to create an endowment that supports the paying of the stipends over the long term. In addition to the gift from the Lucases, the City of Chicago has committed $12 million to the organization, which will be able to serve an additional 4,400 students, Catalyst Chicago reports.

Founded by Maggie Daley, the late wife of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, After School Matters offers apprenticeships to youth in a variety of fields, including sports, the arts, and technology. Teens are awarded stipends ranging from $275 to $761 per term as an extra incentive to participate and as a way to teach them practical skills such as budgeting.

"For our children to live up to their full potential, we adults have to live up to our full responsibility," said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. "During those crucial hours of three to six [in the afternoon], they have to have a safe space and adults [who] are there for them. Then, they have the ability…to discover something about themselves."