Jennifer Hudson Declines Joining Effort to Save Yale Elementary

By Wendell Hutson on May 10, 2013 1:57pm | Updated on May 10, 2013 3:58pm

 Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, who grew up in Englewood and graduated from Yale Elementary School, won't be partnering with a Chicago nonprofit to save the school from closing. 
  
Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson, who grew up in Englewood and graduated from Yale Elementary School, won't be partnering with a Chicago nonprofit to save the school from closing.  
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Getty Images/Jason Merritt

ENGLEWOOD —Elihu Yale Elementary School will have to find a way to stay open this fall without help from its famous alumnus Jennifer Hudson.

The Oscar-winning actress has declined an offer to partner with the Chicago nonprofit Real Men Charities Inc. to keep Yale from closing, her publicist said.

The organization had proposed renaming the school after Hudson and changing the school's curriculum to include urban agriculture.

But "Jennifer and her sister Julia have been working hard to grow their own foundation, which serves the children of Chicago, and their philanthropic efforts are focused on that at this time," said Marla Farwell, vice president of WKT Public Relations.

Yvette Moyo, executive director of Real Men Charities, said while she is disappointed Hudson, 32, has chosen not to help out, she still plans to fight to keep the school open.

"The fight to save Yale will go on regardless," Moyo said.

Yale is among dozens of elementary schools Chicago Public Schools administrators have proposed closing in June due to underutilization. The Chicago School Board is expected to vote on the proposal at its May 22 meeting.

Rae Brunson Webb, principal of Yale, did not return calls seeking comment.

In an email to Moyo dated May 1, Farwell said Hudson, an Englewood native, had chosen instead to grow her foundation to help Chicago children.

"We spoke with Jennifer today [May 1] about your letter as it pertains to the closing of Yale.  As I indicated on the phone earlier, Jennifer is very committed to servicing the children of Chicago through her foundation, the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, which she started with her sister Julia." 

However, Moyo said both she and Hudson are working for the same cause.

"Our general appeal is that our mission with Yale aligns perfectly with the mission of her foundation," added Moyo.

"Her foundation's mission statement says 'The Julian D. King Gift Foundation was established to provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds to help enable them to grow to be productive, confident and happy adults.' And that's our mission as well. "

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