CME Group Foundation: Grants for Illinois

OVERVIEW: The CME Group Foundation 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, curriculum development

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

PROFILE: Established in 2006, the CME Group Foundation was formed 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 funder aims “to advance the economy by supporting education from cradle to career, primarily in the Chicago region.” Grantmaking areas of interest are higher education, K-12 education, early childhood education, academic research, and curriculum development.

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 is 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. Approximately 90 percent of all annual grants fit into these three education level categories and focus areas.

Foundation grants tend to range from $15,000 to $500,000. Grantseekers can find a list of past grantees on each program section of the funder’s website. The foundation is based in Chicago at 20 South Wacker and focuses the bulk of its giving on the city of Chicago. Overall, this is a funder that looks for grantee organizations that promote integrity and economic advancement in the education space. Most grants go towards project support, rather than general operating support or capital support.

The CME Group Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications, as organizations must be invited to submit a proposal and then receive details regarding deadlines. Grantseeker inquiries can be directed to the foundation’s executive director, Kassie Davis, at 312-930-3292 or via email at Grantseekers can also keep up with what this funder is doing on its news page.


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