ABC7 Exclusive: Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Chicago's plan to help youth in violent neighborhoods

February 20, 2013 4:03:27 PM PST
In an exclusive interview with ABC7, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a five-year plan to invest $50 million towards youth programs in Chicago's most troubled neighborhoods.

VIDEO: Watch Charles Thomas' full interview with Mayor Emanuel

"We have a very bright future. And we're going to continue to have a bright future. And making it even brighter will be investing in our children," said Emanuel.

The money would be raised from the private sector, with corporations and wealthy individuals giving to programs geared towards children and teenagers residing in violent areas.

"We come together in efforts like this as we have in NATO, as we have for Millenium Park. And now we're doing it for the individual children who will be leaders in their city in the future," said Emanuel.

Allstate Insurance CEO Tom Wilson and Loop Capital Markets Chairman Jim Reynolds will take lead roles in forming a commission that will fund existing neighborhood organizations, Emanuel said.

The money will provide mentoring services, along with educational, artistic and recreational opportunities for young Chicagoans.

"They're all our kids, and we need to try to save all of them? Sometimes you do things because it's the right thing to do," said Wilson.

"We're going to try and identify those programs that are working well and are small and see if we can scale them up to impact thousands of kids," said Reynolds.

Emanuel believes Chicago's corporate community can use its money to build a bridge between themselves and children in the city's neighborhoods.

"I want all these kids in the city of Chicago who are at risk to be able to look downtown and to be able to say, 'Hey, I can be there,'" said Emanuel.

The fundraising has already begun, with Allstate seeding the effort with a $5 million donation.

The mayor says troubled neighborhoods could begin feeling the positive impact of corporate giving in 2013.


Load Comments