CME Group Foundation determines support based on the initiatives we have decided to undertake in our program priorities.

Small grants may be given for projects of special interest to the Foundation directors outside our main program areas. However, these grants account for no more than 10% of total giving annually.

CME Group Foundation uses the following strategies to maximize our potential:

  • Narrowly focused priorities to maximize impact.
  • Large, multi-year commitments to organizations with successful track records 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.
  • Respond to trustee interests through Special Opportunities funds.

General Guidelines

Unfortunately, due to our limited resources and focused priorities, we do not accept unsolicited grant proposals.

Groups applying for a grant must have:

  • IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status
  • A paid staff
  • Three years of operation
  • An active governing board and support from the community
  • Sound finances, efficient and ethical management
  • The ability to successfully implement programs
  • Equal opportunity employment and operate programs in a manner supportive of equal opportunity objectives

The proposed activity should not needlessly duplicate other activities or programs.


To apply, groups must:

  • Provide a written report on the use of CME Group Foundation funds, results and the extent to which the outcomes have been achieved.
  • Publicly acknowledge the Foundation’s contribution and provide opportunities for increased visibility for CME Group Foundation

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.

Allowable Overhead

The Foundation's policy on allowable overhead is as follows:

  • School districts - 5%
  • Universities - 10%
  • Nonprofit organizations - 15%

What CME Group Foundation Will Not Fund

The Foundation does not fund grants for individuals and will not fund more than one request or active grant from an organization or its affiliates at a time.

We will not fund organizations that:

  • Discriminate in regards to disabilities, age, gender, race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation
  • Devote a substantial portion of their activities to attempting to influence legislation or to participating in campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office
  • Do not comply 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
  • Operate deficit reduction or existing debt liquidation
  • Benefit events and advertising for fundraising purposes
  • Generate taxes (municipalities, school districts, etc.) for services within their normal responsibilities

The Proposal Process

Organizations must be invited to submit a proposal and 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. Staff recommendations are reviewed and approved by the Foundation Board of Directors several times a year. Applicants will be notified by phone, email or letter of the Board’s decision.

If there are significant changes to an organization’s leadership, financial situation or capacity during the proposal process, Foundation staff must be notified.