What we do

CME Group Foundation helps today’s students keep pace with dramatically evolving technology, creating a workforce for the future that is equipped with the skills to meet tomorrow’s global challenges. By bringing together the brightest minds in education to generate fresh approaches to math, computer science and personalized learning, we are sparking system-wide change that benefits all students, from cradle to career.

They will shape the future of the world’s most important industries, including our own, so we give them the tools they need to achieve their full potential.

Our Goals

As part of our work at CME Group Foundation, we strive to achieve the following goals:

  • Empower innovative partners
  • Create change through collaboration
  • Work to transform systems

Kindergarten Readiness

CME Group Foundation seeks to improve kindergarten readiness by increasing the KIDS assessment scores for Black, Latinx and low-income children in Illinois. After investing $11.7 million in early math education over the past eleven years, the Foundation Board decided to expand our early childhood education focus to include all three domains measured by the KIDS assessment.

Unfortunately, many children don’t get the help they need to build a strong foundation for learning, as indicated by the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) administered annually by teachers across the state. In the fall of 2019, only 35 percent of our state’s white kindergarteners were deemed to be starting kindergarten ready in all three areas observed: early math, language and literacy, and social emotional development. Yet that was still 12 points higher than the figure for Black children and 18 points higher than that of Latinx youngsters.

We believe that all young children should have access to vibrant, playful and supportive educational experiences that affirm who they are and prepare them to thrive as they continue their education. While Illinois has made substantial gains over the past several years in universal Pre-K, the KIDS assessment scores still need improvement so that all young children are kindergarten ready in all three domains.

Early Math Education Initiative

The Foundation’s Early Math Initiative (2009-2020) was designed to provide educators with the knowledge, confidence and tools to teach and inspire children from infancy through elementary school about the world of mathematics. Over a decade, Early Math Education Initiative funding totaled $11.3 million. The initiative bolstered professional development for teachers of young children, improved family engagement in the learning of young children and influenced early childhood mathematics policies. For more about the initiative, see the Arabella Advisors report: (link – I WILL ATTACH THIS DOCUMENT SO YOU CAN LINK TO IT)

For more information, see the Grantmakers for Education Case Study on our program:

A Decade in the Making: Early Math Education Initiative Seeks Broad Impact

View recipients

Early Childhood Education Grants

CME Group Foundation 2019-20 Early Math Initiative

K-12 Education Program

The Foundation helps prepare K-12 students for success in college and careers by using technology to personalize learning and assist with computer science education.

CME Group Foundation is the largest private funder of Chicago Public Schools’ Computer Science 4 All (CS4All) initiative. The Foundation is pleased to support several other organizations providing research and data analysis for CS4All and out of school time computer science programs.

In addition to K-12 computer science education, the Foundation supports professional development for school leaders and teachers on improving student outcomes by using technology to personalize learning.

Finally, CME Group Foundation is working with Chicago Public Schools and other organizations to improve K-12 financial education ‒ in order to equip students and families with the knowledge, skills, habits and tools that promote their long-term financial health.

View Recipients


Computer Science for All (CS4All)

The Fund


College and Career Success Program

In 2019, CME Group Foundation launched its Foundation Scholars Program. Twenty-five students received a scholarship of up to $20,000, renewable for three years. Now adding 15 new students a year, the program is open to low-income, underrepresented Black and Latinx students majoring in finance, computer science, information technology, math, cyber security, data science, statistics or financial engineering. For university partners with 4+1 programs (bachelor’s degree in a technical field and a one-year master’s in finance), students can apply for three years of support in junior, senior and master’s years.

CME Group Foundation’s 2021-22 partner schools are:

  • DePaul University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • National Louis University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Saint Xavier University
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

View 2020-21 Recipients

View recipients

In addition to the scholarship program, the Foundation provides operating support grants to a number of nonprofit organizations that work with Chicago’s low-income and minority students to insure post-secondary degree or certification attainment and transition to a strong first job in the field in which they majored, plus research and policy organizations serving that goal. The select organizations have a track record of success in providing research that is needed and utilized by the field and/or successful policy work that has advanced priorities of the post-secondary and career success fields.

Meet the New CME Group Foundation Scholars

Twenty-five college students are headed back to school with new scholarships from CME Group Foundation. Each selected student received up to $20,000 to further their studies in finance or technology – skills needed to take on the jobs of the future in global derivatives markets that CME Group operates.

While many scholarships are aimed at helping freshmen start college, the CME Group Foundation Scholars Program is targeted to ensure underrepresented minority sophomores, juniors and seniors can finish their four-year degree. Winners can reapply for up to three years of support.

"We're dedicated to investing in students because they are crucial to our success and future economic well-being," said Kassie Davis, Executive Director of CME Group Foundation. "Our hope is that by offering scholarships to underrepresented students majoring in finance, computer science, math and other similar areas, they'll be well prepared for careers in our industry going forward."

"With this load off my shoulders, I can focus more on my studies," said scholarship recipient Anthony Banuelos, Sophomore at Illinois Institute of Technology. "I will work very hard to prove that I deserve this scholarship, so I can renew it for the next three years."

In addition to the scholarship money, students also got to attend a day of education at CME Group to learn about the markets and career opportunities in the city's financial sector. The students say the scholarships have them excited about applying their skills toward a career in finance and will also provide them access to real-world experience.

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Jada Aduda is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. She grew up in Brooklyn Park, MN and graduated from Osseo Senior High School. Her interests include traveling and volunteering in her community. Her career goal is to become an investment banker and create a non-profit organization for disadvantaged communities to get exposure to opportunities within the financial services industry.

Jazmin Ayala is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in Finance. She grew up in the Southwest Side of Chicago and graduated from Curie High School. Her interests include hiking, swimming, and traveling. Her career goal is to become a financial advisor. 

Saira Bano is a senior at Loyola University Chicago double majoring in Information Technology and Software Engineering. She grew up in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Stephen Tyng Mather High School.  Her interests include basketball, business, music, programming, traveling, and technology. Her career goal is to become a data scientist. 

Anthony Bañuelos is a third-year at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Cyber Security and Computer Engineering. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Lincoln Park High School. His interests include baseball, eSports, photography, and coding. His career goal is to be part of a cyber defense team.

George Campau is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance and Economics. He grew up in Jackson, Michigan, and graduated from Jackson High School. His interests include skiing, and violin. His career goal is to create innovative and lasting business solutions that accelerate the transition to a clean energy electric grid.

Francisco Chavez is a second-year undergraduate at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Joliet, Illinois and graduated from Joliet Central High School. Francisco’s interests include making vision tracking programs, reading trivia, and fishing. His career goal is to develop artificial intelligence software.

Maria Contreras is a senior at Stevens Institute of Technology majoring in Mathematics with a minor in Finance. She grew up in Union City, New Jersey and graduated from Union City High School. Her interests include traveling, music, and soccer. Her career goal is to become a business analyst. 

Beemnet Desta is a sophomore at DePaul University majoring in Computer Science. She grew up in Ethiopia and graduated from School of Tomorrow High School. Her interests include volunteer work and community service. Her career goal is software programming.

Jose Hernandez is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Waukegan and graduated from Waukegan Brookside High School. His interests include exploring new technology, graphic design, and going to the gym. His career goal is to work for a well-known tech corporation then eventually start his own web development company.

Sanaa Hill is a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Business Finance. She grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, and graduated from Walden III High School. Her interests include the Loyola Afrodescent dance team, Black Cultural Center, and Loyola University Chicago Empowering Sisterhood (LUCES) program. Her career goal is to create a more inclusive business market to expand the industry for women of color.

Scholastique Iradukunda is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. She grew up in Kigali, Rwanda and graduated from St. Lawrence Schools in Kampala, Uganda. Her interests include poetry, reading, and writing. Her career goal is to work in technology consulting.

Armani LeSure is a junior at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Information Technology and Management. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Lindblom MSA High School. His interests include gaming and music. Armani hopes to become an Information Technology Manager.  

Estefania Lopez is a fourth-year at the Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Lane Tech High School. Her interests include running, sewing and traveling. Her career goal is to become an app developer and continue her efforts in broadening CS education. 

Hugo Lopez is a junior at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) majoring in Finance with a minor in Entrepreneurship. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Lane Tech High School. His interests include working on cars, working out, and advising/helping people/business. His career goal is to help companies build successful businesses through proper financial management.

Nathan Lorenzo is a senior at DePaul University majoring in Network Engineering and Security. He grew up in Jefferson Park and graduated from St. Patrick High School. His interests include computing, hiking, and reading. His career goal is to become a network engineer.

Jason Malonga is a senior at DePaul University majoring in Finance. He grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois and went to Benet Academy. His interests include being a member of DePaul's Men's Basketball Team, traveling, and learning about finance. His career goal is to have an impactful career in the financial services industry.

Brooke Marshall is a senior at Northern Illinois University majoring in Computer Science. She grew up in Aurora, IL and graduated from Oswego East High School. Her interests include mobile and game development and reading. Her career goal is to become a software engineer in the finance/banking industry.

Paige Morton is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Mathematics. She grew up in Carol Stream, Illinois and graduated from Glenbard North High School. Her interests are music, participating in Loyola’s Black Cultural Center and African Student Alliance, and fighting against social injustices. Her career goals are a career in finance and as an actuary.

Patrick Mullen is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. He grew up in River Forest, Illinois and graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School. His interests include running, fishing and basketball and he is the portfolio manager for Loyola's investment fund. His career goal is private equity.

Alex Negrón is a third-year student at the Illinois Institute of Technology double-majoring in Applied mathematics and Statistics. He grew up in Buffalo, New York and graduated from St. Francis High School. His interests include writing and mathematics. His career goal is to discover new applications of probabilistic tools to areas such as quantitative finance and artificial intelligence.

David Ngige is a senior at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in the Woodlawn area of Chicago and graduated from Kenwood Academy High School. His interests include trading cryptocurrencies, listening to podcasts, and audiobooks. His career goal is to become a software engineer.

Ariel Nudman is a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance and Economics. He grew up in Shanghai, China and later moved to Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Ida Crown Jewish Academy High School. His interests include water sports, running, and investing in stocks. His goal is to work as a financial manager or analyst and to one day become a CFO.

Jessica Oliveros is a junior at DePaul University majoring in Computer Science. She grew up in Hegwisch and graduated from Downers Grove North. Her interests include learning new programming languages and tutoring. Her career goal is to be a software engineer.

Julian Pacheco is a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Finance. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Jones College Prep High School. His interests include playing sports, listening to comedy and business podcasts, and spending time with friends and family. His career goal is to become a financial analyst and make an impact in the corporate finance industry.

Zion Powell is a junior at Saint Xavier University majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Harvey, IL, and graduated from Thornton Township High School. Zion’s interests including teaching computer science at his local library, chess, coding and baking. His career goal is to create a global school to teach financial literacy and computer science to low-income students.

Hernan Razo is a senior at the Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Rogers Park on the north side of Chicago and graduated from the Chicago Math and Science Academy. His interests include cycling, programming, and playing his saxophone. His career goal is to become a data scientist. 

Uriel Reyes Vazquez is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. He was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from Omaha South High School. He is involved with the Mexican American Student Association as Treasurer. His career goal is to go into the finance industry, specifically in the areas of business consulting, financial consulting, investment banking, or real estate.

Noelle Robinson is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, double majoring in Finance and Information Decision Sciences. She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Mizzou Academy High School. Her interests include tutoring her peers and teaching personal finance to young adults. Her career goal is to use information and data to improve business processes in the financial services industry.

Thomas Rueben Rocha is a junior at University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in Finance and minoring in Economics. He grew up in Romeoville, IL and graduated from Romeoville High School. Thomas’s interests include running, reading, adventuring, and he wants to become a hedge fund manager.

Carlos Rodriguez is a fourth-year at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Westinghouse College Prep. His interests include civic engagement and diversity and inclusion in tech. His career goal is software engineering.

Tyson Thomas is a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. He grew up in Plano, Texas and graduated from Plano Senior High School. His interests include music, contributing to Black spaces on campus, intramural sports, painting, volunteering, and video games. His career goal is to become a tax attorney.

Lee Ann Thompson is a second-year graduate student at Stevens Institute of Technology majoring in Financial Engineering. She grew up in Trinidad & Tobago and New York and graduated from Bishop Anstey High School East. Her interests include watching reality television, evening runs and reading about the financial markets. Her career goal is to become a Chief Risk Officer.

Gladys Toledo-Rodriguez is a third-year at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Lane Technical College Prep. Her interests include cooking, teaching, and learning new programs, from languages to software. Her career goal is to become a software engineer.

Marco Aurelio Useche is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Supply Chain Management. He grew up in Orlando, FL and graduated from Freedom High School. His interests include politics, sports, business interests. His career goal is to be CEO of a large corporation, mainly in the food and beverage industry. 

Benny Vazquez-Elvir is a third-year at Illinois Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science. He grew up in Chicago and graduated from Lane Technical High School. His interests include coding competitions, video games, and making side projects such as bots and websites. His career goal is to use computer science to make revolutionary technology.

Daniel Velarde is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in Finance. He grew up in Carterville, Illinois and graduated from Carterville High School. His interests include investing, music, film, fishing, and hunting. His career goal is to open his own financial management firm. 


CME Group Foundation's 2019-20 College and Career Success Portfolio