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The Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) was a Chicago public school reform project from 1995 to 2001 that worked with half of Chicagos public schools and was funded by a $49.2 million, 2-to-1 matching challenge grant over five years from the Annenberg Foundation. The grant was contingent on being matched by $49.2 million in private donations and $49.2 million in public money. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was one of 18 locally designed Annenberg Challenge project sites that received $387 million over five years as part of Walter Annenbergs gift of $500 million over five years to support public school reform. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge helped create a successor organization, the Chicago Public Education Fund (CPEF), committing $2 million in June 1998 as the first donor to Chicagos first community foundation for education. In the 1990s, billionaire Walter Annenberg, former ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Richard Nixon, was the United States' most generous living philanthropist. By 1998, Annenberg had given away more than $2 billion and the assets of the Annenberg Foundation he had established in June 1989 with $1 billion had grown to $3 billion and ranked as the 12th largest in the U.S. Every weekday from May through November, Annenberg was driven from his home in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania to his Annenberg Foundation headquarters in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, where, as its sole director, he reserved virtually every decision for himself when making grants. In June 1993, Annenberg announced he was making the largest individual gift to private education in history—$365 million to four schools: $120 million each to the communication programs at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California, $25 million to Harvard College, and $100 million to his alma mater, the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey.
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