Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to fight the effects of city gun violence another way: through the pocketbooks of Chicago's business leaders.
Emanuel aims to raise $50 million over five years to keep kids off the streets and away from gangs and gun violence. He took the challenge to the city CEOs, asking them to put millions behind the effort.
He also tapped his mayoral campaign list of supporters through a "Chicago For Rahm Emanuel" email Tuesday asking for make online donations to support a new weekend basketball league for kids in communities that Emanuel said have been hardest hit by violence.
"I am joining with my friend Isiah Thomas to launch Windy City Hoops," Emanuel said in the email. "The league will provide a safe environment for 12 to 17 year olds to play season-long tournaments against their peers, learn the value of teamwork, and build leadership skills."
The mayor set that fundraising goal at $480,000, of which about $25,000 was raised as of Wednesday morning.
The mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times that solving the issue of gang violence takes several components that not only include policing and gun control, but also prevention. His $50 million fundraising goal looks to the latter, he said, to reach children before they make the kinds of choices that took hundreds of young lives last year.
Emanuel said the money would pay for early intervention programs and jobs and mentoring opportunities for at-risk teens.
Where will the money come from? The mayor already tapped Allstate Insurance CEO Tom Wilson and the Loop Capital Markets CEO Jim Reynolds. Allstate is putting up the first $5 million.