CME Group Foundation: Chicago Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports all levels of education in Illinois, but mostly in Chicago. It has a particular interest in math and computer technology education for children.

FUNDING AREAS: Higher education, K-12 education, early childhood education, academic research on exchange-traded derivatives and central clearing house policy issues

IP TAKE: This is a Chicago-focused funder that likes to make large multi-year commitments. Request program or project support for education at any level.

PROFILE: The CME Group Foundation was established in 2006 after receiving a gift of $16 million from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Trust. CME Trust received approval to distribute its net income to public charities in 2005. The CME Trust also contributes funds each year to this foundation for its grantmaking efforts. The foundation is based in Chicago at 20 South Wacker.

According to information provided to IP in an interview with Michael Shore, CME Group’s executive director of corporate communications:

CME Group foundation is accepting applications for new grantees in the areas of higher education, K-12 education and early childhood education, as well as academic research on exchange-traded derivatives and central clearing house policy issues. The CME Group company provides a marketplace for individuals, companies and institutions that need to manage risk or that want to profit by accepting risk.

For higher education grants, it typically supports programs that train students for careers in the financial services industries and to further academic research on exchange-traded derivative market activity, the structure of derivative markets, and global regulation of derivative markets. For K-12 grants, the CME Group Foundation supports programs that prepare disadvantaged students for college and career success. It’s particularly interested in math education, coding and computer science education, expanding charter schools, and policy advocacy about Common Core State Standards.

CME’s early education funding is largely centered on its Early Math Education Initiative, which aims to improve math skills in the birth-through-third-grade demographic. This involves funding for scaling up current grantees, as well as starting in Chicago and then expanding to downstate communities. At least 90 percent of all annual grants fit into these three education level categories and focus areas.

This is a funder that looks for grantee organizations that promote integrity and economic advancement in the education space. Shore also shared with us in that interview:

CME Group Foundation chooses grantees that share our values of leading with conviction and integrity, advancing the economy, building lasting relationships and acting with ingenuity. Our grant partners are universities, school districts, charter networks and nonprofit organizations with a track record of excellence and a commitment to innovation.

More information can be found on the funder’s grants page.

Most grants go towards project support, rather than general operating support or capital support. This foundation does not have an online application process or accept unsolicited applications. Grantseeker inquiries can be directed to the foundation’s executive director, Kassie Davis, at 312-930-3292 or via email at can also keep up with what this funder is doing on its news page.


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