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Organization Formerly Known as Donda's House Moves Forward as Art of Culture, Inc
In December of 2011, Rhymefest, Donnie Smith and Kanye West founded Donda's House Inc., to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Donda West by supporting Chicago's young creatives. Kanye became one of the Founding Board Members, with Donnie Smith serving as the Executive Director and Rhymefest serving as the Creative Director. They decided to name the organization Donda's House because of the impact that Dr. Donda West had on the Chicago Community. Over the course of two years, Donnie and Rhymefest developed the programming the organization would host, identified where the organization would be of most service and explored diverse partnerships that would scale the organization's impact.
Within that time frame, Mr. West supported the organization by designing the logo with his creative team, paying for legal support to file for exemption status and eventually, through the Louis Vuitton Foundation, secured our largest donation to date of $133,000.
In Donda's House short existence, the organization has supported more than 500 youth through direct service programs including "Got Bars" for young artists. The organization has also been supported by industry celebrities and professionals including No ID, Big Sean, Big K.R.I.T. and Killer Mike, Vic Mensa, Amir Windon and more. The organization has also partnered with various corporate and non-profit youth art supporters such as Virgin Hotels Chicago, Chicago Public Library's YOUMedia, M.U.R.A.L, Amnesty International, City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District.
Over the last few months, due to Mr. West's controversial public political statements, the organization received communications of concern from sponsors, foundations and supporters. Students, alumni, volunteers and staff of the group met Saturday to discuss recent developments and the future of the organization. The group decided that the organization will maintain its mission, but will have a new name both to avoid confusion and honor the stated wishes of the West family. Going forward Donda's House will be known as Art of Culture, Inc. (http://artofculture.org/
Donnie Smith, Executive Director, said, "We will always respect the memory and example set by Dr. Donda West. We revere her work and were fortunate to have been taught by her. As we continue our work, we hope that this name change will represent an evolution of the organization and will result in more service and greater impact."
In the last 5 years, Donda's House has worked with more than 500 students directly and has impacted more than 8,000 through its outreach programs. 95% of the students are in regular communication with the organization post graduation. 68% of the young people have less than a Bachelor's Degree and Donda's House serves as an alternative education space for them. Art of Culture, Inc. is committed to building on the foundation established by Donda's House Inc.