CHICAGO, Aug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- CME Group Foundation today announced it will provide strategic support and grants of $2.6 million to 14 organizations in Illinois to support STEM education initiatives from pre-kindergarten through college.

Of the grantees, all of which are detailed below, eight are focused on early math education; four are advancing computer science learning and two grantees are using technology to personalize learning for students. Projects receiving funding and strategic support range from professional development programming for teachers of young children in underprivileged Illinois communities to LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based education innovation hub that connects educators and technology innovators to research, pilot and scale personalized learning strategies to transform the way kids learn. 

"We are thrilled to support these organizations and work with the brightest minds in education to encourage fresh approaches to math, computer science and personalized learning," said Kassie Davis, Executive Director of CME Group Foundation. "By funding programs that span from the cradle to career development, we hope to spark system-wide change that will benefit all Chicago area students. Today's children will shape the future of the world's most important industries – including our own – so we work hard to give them the tools they need to achieve their full potential." 

As part of its grants, CME Group Foundation renewed its longstanding support of LEAP Innovations, one of the key organizations in Chicago that is fostering change in the classroom.  

"CME Group Foundation understands what it means to be on the frontier of something new and innovative," said Phyllis Lockett, CEO of LEAP Innovations. "High-tech companies committed to the future of our Chicago community have to invest in next-generation thinking, and that is what CME Group Foundation is doing. We never would have gotten off the ground without their support."

Additionally, CME Group Foundation is the largest donor to Chicago Public Schools' Computer Science 4 All (CS4All) program, an initiative to make computer science a core curriculum in Chicago Public Schools. CPS is the only major metropolitan school district in the country to require computer science coursework for graduation, beginning with the class of 2020. In addition to funding the program, CME Group is offering two CPS teachers the opportunity to learn about technology through an externship with the company this summer.  

"I'm grateful to CME Group for providing the externship, particularly as I develop my curriculum for the 2017-2018 school year," said Marisa Nokes, eighth-grade technology teacher at Bridge Elementary, a Chicago Public School on the northwest side of Chicago. "This invaluable job experience gives me real-life application of the subject I teach. The number one motivator for eighth graders is understanding how they will use the material we're going over in the classroom in their futures."

CME Group Foundation Grantees:

Using Technology to Personalize Learning Programs

  • LEAP Innovations - $1,000,000 to support general operations.
  • Vision 20/20 -  $25,000 to support 21st Century Learning Center for schools in downstate Illinois.

Computer Science Programs

Early Math Initiatives

For more information, please visit the CME Group Foundation website:

About CME Group Foundation
CME Group Foundation works to advance the economy by supporting education from cradle to career. The Foundation partners with universities, school districts, charter networks and nonprofit organizations that work to ensure at risk young children are prepared for kindergarten; provide effective K-12 education that prepares disadvantaged students for success in college and career; prepare university students for careers in financial services and risk management; and conduct academic research in areas that advance derivatives knowledge and best practices. The Foundation was created in 2008 and endowed with a gift of $16 million from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trust, which was established by CME in 1969 under the direction of its then chairman, Leo Melamed, to provide financial protection to customers in the event a CME member firm became insolvent or unable to meet its obligations to its customers.

About CME Group
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