Filmmaker George Lucas has given $25 million to After School Matters, the award-winning arts education program in Chicago started by Chicago's former First Lady, Maggie Daley.
Lucas sat front row at a Wednesday news conference as his wife Mellody Hobson -- the chair of After School Matters' board -- announced the gift.
“George and I are just really excited to make this gift to the teens of Chicago...because we believe — and you all know that I’m in the investment business — that investing in young people is the best investment of all," Hobson, head of Chicago-based Ariel Investments, said according to the Sun-Times. "There is no better use of money."
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"It's an amazing, amazing program," Lucas said, according to DNAinfo Chicago. "To see what goes on here, you realize how important it is."
Though Lucas did not speak at the Wednesday announcement, he issued a statement saying:
"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."
Hobson noted that since the couple wed this summer -- at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in California, followed by a star-studded reception at Chicago's Promontory Point -- Lucas has spent a lot of time in the Windy City.
“This is a very generous thing that he’s doing for the adopted city that he spends a lot of time in now, Chicago. I’m sure he never imagined that in all of his creative brain,” Hobson said.
The five-year gift, to be paid in installments, will largely go towards reviving ASM's stipends that help low-income teens participate in the program. Another $1 million will go toward ASM's endowment, Crain's Chicago Business reports.
Last year, the "Star Wars" creator pledged to donate money from the sale of his Lucasfilm Inc. production company to Disney -- for which he received more than $4 billion -- to education.