Washington, DC, August 24, 2007 — Hip-hop superstar Kanye West and Strong American Schools´ ED in ´08 campaign today announced that West will be featured in new television public service announcements, urging the presidential candidates to address America´s education crisis and dropout epidemic. Nationwide, 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year. The ED in ´08 campaign will also be a title sponsor for the Kanye West Foundation´s inaugural benefit at the House of Blues on Friday, August 24 in Chicago, where West was raised.
In addition to the PSA campaign, both West and his mother, Dr. Donda West, have committed to a joint upcoming appearance with ED in ´08. West´s latest CD, "Graduation," will also be given away at www.EDin08.com through online activities. The Kanye West Foundation (KWF) was established in 2003 to motivate youth to stay in school and graduate. Its signature initiative, Loop Dreams, uses music production to motivate youth to remain encouraged and excited about learning. ED in ´08 is an unprecedented up to $60 million non partisan movement, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which calls on all presidential candidates to improve America´s public schools and make education reform a top priority on the campaign trail.
"The ED in ´08 campaign is excited to partner with the Kanye West Foundation in advocating for new national leadership to strengthen America´s schools," says Marc Lampkin, executive director of ED in ´08. "We look forward to working with the Kanye West Foundation to raise awareness about America´s education crisis and urge the presidential candidates to put forward a plan to improve America´s schools because in every community in America, too many children are leaving school without the skills to be ready to succeed in college, career and life."
Echoing Lampkin´s views, Dr. Donda West, KWF board president, says, "For many youth in the US, there is a sense of hopelessness owed largely to cutbacks in federal and state funding for educational programming. Our foundation focuses on providing qualitative programs in partnership with schools and communities. Engaging with the ED in ´08 campaign is yet another way that working together can make a significant difference."
Editor´s Note: West will be available to discuss this partnership during his pre-concert press conference at 4:30 pm at the Hotel Sax Chicago, located at 333 Dearborn St., Chicago.
To learn more about the Kanye West Foundation, visit www.kanyewestfoundation.org. To learn more about Strong American Schools, log onto www.edin08.com. For information about the Kanye West Foundation benefit concert and related activities, contact Patricia Green, (301) 526.1089.
The Kanye West Foundation is a California-based 501(c) 3 dedicated to combating the severe dropout rate in secondary schools by providing music production programs that motivate students and compel them to stay in school and graduate. The foundation´s signature initiative, Loop Dreams, is a rap music and production program that involves students in learning through a hands-on curriculum. The foundation will launch the Loop Dreams Teacher Training Institute in Chicago next year.
Strong American Schools, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is a nonpartisan campaign supported by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that promotes sound education policies for all Americans. SAS does not support or oppose any candidate for public office and does not take positions on legislation.