“Since I started chess, I’m more focused, more happy… Before I started chess, I would be angry all the time. Now I like the fact that I can be as competitive as I want without consequences …”
A middle-schooler at Chicago Virtual Charter School, a Chicago Public School in the Near West Loop neighborhood, Jason was introduced to chess at the Chicago Chess Foundation’s 2017 summer camp. A year later, he’s still playing, smiling and having fun meeting new kids from other schools! Watch Jason talk about chess on this video from our 2018 camp.
It’s remarkable how chess changes kids’ lives. At the Chicago Chess Foundation, we know there are thousands of CPS students like Jason who could benefit from chess. But we need your support. I’m writing to ask you to make a generous year-end gift to provide chess to more CPS students. And, as I’ll explain below, your gift will have double the impact this year!
The research on chess is compelling. Young chess players:
- improve their math, literacy and problem-solving skills
- develop strategic thinking
- boost concentration, and
- enhance self-esteem and resilience.
Chess is unique:
- Kids learn the value of slowing down and thinking through a problem.
- Chess provides a feedback loop for improvement – both during the game and afterwards when teammates analyze it – and a life lesson about learning from successes and mistakes.
- Chess allows and encourages respectful play across culture, class, race, gender and age lines.
- Chess gives kids a skill they can enjoy for their whole lives.
In some CPS schools, especially in our marginalized neighborhoods, chess is the rare after-school activity that keeps students safe, off their screens, and occupied in productive academic and personal growth.
The Chicago Chess Foundation can bring this tremendous opportunity to thousands more CPS students – but only with your help.
In just four years, we’ve had tremendous impact, serving more than 8,000 kids. Each year, we launch new chess teams at CPS schools, providing the start-up materials, curriculum, and support. We provide high-quality coaches to successful teams ready to advance competitively. We run four summer camps accessible to students throughout the city. We arranged for entries and US Chess memberships this year for 120 kids to attend the state chess championships. And we offer seven tournaments around the city. All our programs are free, because of the support of friends like you.
We have big plans. Last year, we started 12 new chess teams at CPS schools. Our goal is to add 45 more in the next three years. We’re focusing on schools in Chicago’s high-poverty neighborhoods, bringing chess to where it can have tremendous impact.
We need your help. It costs about $2,100 for CCF to start and support a first-year chess team. Our average new school has 15 students on its team – so CCF is making chess available for less than $150 per student per year. That’s amazing impact for a small investment.
So imagine the power of your gift over time. Tens of thousands of CPS kids expanding their minds, confidence, teamwork and resilience through an activity they can enjoy throughout their lives.
And when you make your gift by December 31, it will have double the impact! Our wonderful Board member and supporter, Jerry Neugarten, has agreed to match all gifts made before January 1, up to $25,000. Please give generously so we can meet the match – you will be making a real difference in the life of thousands of students like Jason.
In this time of giving thanks, we want to express our immense gratitude for your past support. And we hope you will join us again this season to change kids' lives through chess.
In this season of giving, we thank you for your support!
Ben Wong, Board Chair, and the entire Chicago Chess Foundation team.
P.S. It’s easy to donate.