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 Grant Guidelines
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Please note: with limited resources and focused priorities, CME Group Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.


CME Group Foundation support is determined by initiatives it decides to undertake in its program priorities. Occasionally small grants may be given for projects of special interest to the Foundation Directors outside the Foundation’s three program areas. These grants will account for no more than ten percent of total giving annually and are always initiated by Foundation Board members.


Strategies to Achieve Impact

  • Narrowly-focused priorities so limited grants dollars aren’t diluted
  • Large, multi-year commitments to organizations with track records of success in our priority areas
  • Flexibility to make small investments in new organizations and programs to gauge their potential
  • Leverage grants for thought leadership and visibility
  • Responsiveness to Trustee interests through Special Opportunities funds


General Guidelines

  • Grant applicants must have IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, have been in operation for three years and have paid staff.
  • Organizations seeking support should have an active governing board and support from the community.
  • Applicant organizations should be fiscally sound, as well as efficiently and ethically managed.
  • The organization or its leaders should have demonstrated by past accomplishment an ability to successfully implement programs.
  • All grant recipients will be equal opportunity employers and will operate their programs in a manner supportive of equal opportunity objectives.
  • The proposed activity should not needlessly duplicate other activities or programs.
  • If an interim executive director is in place, the Foundation may defer consideration of the organization’s proposal until a permanent replacement has been hired.
  • CME Group Foundation generally makes grants to support specific projects with measurable results and rarely makes general operating support, capital or endowment grants.
  • Grant recipients must provide a written report on the use of CME Group Foundation funds, on results and the extent to which the outcomes have been achieved.
  • Grant recipients will be expected to publicly acknowledge the Foundation’s contribution and to provide opportunities for increased visibility of CME Group Foundation.


What CME Group Foundation will not fund

  • Grants to individuals;
  • Organizations that discriminate in regards to disabilities, age, gender, race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation;
  • Organizations that devote a substantial portion of their activities to attempting to influence legislation or to participating in campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office;
  • Organizations not in compliance with all applicable anti-terrorist financing and asset control laws, regulations, rules and executive orders, including but not limited to, the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and Executive Order No. 13224;
  • Operating deficit reduction or existing debt liquidation;
  • Benefit events and advertising for fundraising purposes;
  • Tax generating entities (municipalities, school districts, etc.) for services within their normal responsibilities; and
  • More than one request or active grant from an organization or its affiliates at a time.


The Proposal Process

  • Organizations invited to submit a proposal will be given specific instructions regarding deadline, format and attachments.
  • CME Group Foundation staff will contact the applicant for additional information and to arrange a site visit or meeting. Foundation Board members may join staff for these meetings.
  • Foundation staff will review the proposal including possibly contacting other organizations or individuals about the organization.
  • If there are significant changes to an organization’s leadership, financial situation or capacity during the proposal process, Foundation staff must be notified.
  • Staff recommendations are reviewed and approved by the Foundation Board of Directors twice a year.
  • Applicants will be notified by phone, email or letter of the Board’s decision.