Written by The Chicago Defender
A number of Chicago Public Schools will be seeing some green — in more ways than one — thanks to cash leftover from the city's hosting of the 2012 NATO summit.
On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to channel $1 million in unspent NATO summit funds to create "learning gardens" in 60 CPS schools, according to a release from the city.
In his statement Emanuel called the project "a fitting and strategic investment of NATO Legacy funds." The program is touted by the mayor's office as an opportunity for both nutrition and science education.
While CPS schools will get the gardens, the money, specifically, will be put in the hands of the non-profit arm of a "family" of Colorado-based restaurants called The Kitchen Community. The group will organize and implement the Learning Gardens program similar to the 16 others it has previously implemented in schools around Chicago.
The million dollars is just part of a much larger pie leftover from the summit. The money comes from the private donations mayoral allies ponied up to help fund the May summit. City officials said any leftover money would be put toward "legacy" projects, all at the discretion of the mayor. In August, the Tribune reported there could have been as much as $14.9 million leftover, though City Hall has declined to offer specifics on what money remained once the NATO bills were paid.
The city already put $6 million in Chicago Park District capital funds and NATO legacy funds into major park projects, according to the Sun-Times.
Earlier in December, Emanuel announced another million would be put toward the Youth Working for Success anti-violence initiative.