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  News Release
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CME Group Foundation Launches Early Math Education Initiative in Chicago; Contributes Approximately $3 Million in Grants to Serve 15,000 Students

CHICAGO, October 5, 2010 – CME Group Foundation, the charitable foundation that supports nonprofit organizations primarily in the Chicago area, today announced it would provide nearly $3 million in contributions to help young children from Chicago's low-income communities improve their math skills. The funds will be distributed through four grants as follows:

Through its contributions to these educational programs, CME Group Foundation hopes to enable young children from Chicago's low income communities to become proficient at math at the appropriate grade or developmental level. The programs will impact nearly 800 Chicago educators and 15,000 Chicago students.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to partner with these esteemed organizations to address early math education, a critical need among American school children,” said Jack Sandner, CME Group Foundation Chairman. “All young children have the capacity to learn and become competent in math, but many times, that potential is not realized in the early years of schooling, particularly for low income children. Math education has risen to the top of the national policy agenda to meet the demands of international competition in the 21st century that require a workforce competent in math. Through our Early Math Education Initiative, CME Group Foundation hopes to make a difference in changing the direction of mathematics learning while ultimately serving as a model for future programs.”

The CME Group Foundation Early Math Education Initiative is intended to provide young children with high-quality math instruction to serve as a starting point for later learning and to help address inequalities in educational outcomes. The grants will focus on the professional development of early childhood teachers as it relates to math education and the collaboration among educators to align curriculum.

“Erikson’s program in early math has already proven itself to be effective in increasing the math skills and knowledge of children who enter preschool behind in mathematics learning. Now, thanks to the visionary leadership of the CME Group Foundation, we are able to extend those benefits to the elementary grades in the Chicago Public Schools and beyond. By supporting our efforts, the Foundation will have an impact on the field of early mathematics education as a whole,” says Samuel J. Meisels, Erikson Institute President.

“The Ounce appreciates the opportunity to partner with the CME Group Foundation to promote the early math development of young children who are most at risk of school failure. This important new collaboration will significantly advance our shared vision of ensuring the educational success and future well-being of low-income children across Chicago,” says Diana Mendley Rauner, Ounce of Prevention Fund Executive Director.

“This partnership with the CME Group Foundation will allow for our youngest learners in underserved neighborhoods of Chicago to reach their full potential in mathematics and beyond. It is these types of comprehensive and longitudinal programs that have the greatest impact in the lives of the inner-city children we serve,” says Joshua Hale, Big Shoulders Fund Executive Director.

“Chicago Children’s Museum is committed to supporting the needs of teachers and students, and is excited to partner with the CME Group Foundation and the Illinois Network of Charter Schools to provide our Playful Approaches to Learning in Math and Science programming,” said Jennifer Farrington, Chicago Children’s Museum President and CEO.

About the Program

Erikson Institute
The Erikson Institute Early Mathematics Education Project provides early mathematics training to more than 300 preschool and kindergarten teachers in Chicago Public Schools. With support from CME Group Foundation, during the next four years Erikson Institute will expand to include students in pre-kindergarten through third grade, offering comprehensive professional development for early childhood teachers. This program was one of the 49 highest-rated proposals from nearly 1,700 applications submitted to the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation grant competition. Erikson will also share its expertise in early math best practices with the Ounce of Prevention to incorporate these into the Ounce's Early Mathematics Initiative

Ounce of Prevention Fund
Ounce of Prevention Fund launched the Early Math Initiative in 2008 to foster optimal math, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills for low-income children from birth to age five at its Educare school on Chicago's south side. The CME Group Foundation grant will fund efforts to enhance teachers' abilities to support children's development in these areas and facilitate parent involvement in activities with their children at home. The Ounce will partner with Erikson Institute to extend best practices with infants and toddlers and with families. These strategies will be incorporated into the Ounce's new Center-Based Training Institute – an initiative designed to provide help early childhood programs across Chicago implement the classroom practices necessary to improve the early math skills of young children at risk of school failure.

The Big Shoulders Fund
The Big Shoulders Fund is implementing the Response to Intervention program to support pre-kindergarten through third grade teachers with instructional practices that foster students' growth and development specifically in the area of mathematics. The support from CME Group Foundation will provide instructional coaching for teachers, including onsite coaching in classrooms, and research-based materials to improve student learning for over 1,200 students at high risk for failure in Chicago. This long-term commitment to improving teacher knowledge and instructional practice has been demonstrated as the most effective for student success.

Chicago Children's Museum
Chicago Children's Museum will offer Playful Approaches to Learning in Math and Science programs to educators of pre-kindergarten through second grade students in partnership with the CME Group Foundation and the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Teachers will attend workshops to explore new applied math and science instruction techniques. They will focus on the creative use of materials, open-ended experimentation, math, science and literacy links, and integrating math and science throughout their curriculum. Additionally, Chicago Children's Museum will offer each classroom a field trip to the museum, allowing teachers the opportunity to apply strategies from the workshops.

About CME Group Foundation
CME Group Foundation's grants support nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Chicago region (the six-county metropolitan area), to:

  • Promote research, teaching and learning specific to financial markets futures and derivatives;
  • Promote the education of children and youth; and
  • Promote the health and education of young children.

CME Group Foundation (www.cmegroupfoundation.org) was created in 2008 and endowed with a gift of $16 million from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trust (CME Trust). CME Trust, with assets of approximately $50 million, was established by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (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. Because there never was a need for the endowment to be used for its intended purpose, CME Trust received approval to distribute its net income to public charities in 2005. In addition to the Foundation's annual grant payout, CME Trust expects to make a contribution annually to CME Group Foundation for its grantmaking.