On Tuesday,October 5, CME Group Foundation announced its $1 million gift to the Early Mathematics Education Project to meet the Department of Education’s requirements for its Investing in Innovation (i3) grants.

The Math Project’s principal investigator, Professor Jie-Qi Chen, expressed her gratitude. “If not for the $1 million match grant of the CME Group Foundation, we wouldn’t have gotten the i3 award,” says Chen, referring to an important condition of the i3 process: To qualify for an i3 award, a project not only had to be innovative and backed by solid theory and performance, it also had to have a match from the private sector of 20 percent of its grant request. In the case of the Math Project, that 20 percent was $1 million.

Foundation chairman Jack Sandner describes the decision to make the grant that fulfilled the challenge. “Math is inextricably connected to advancements in science and technology
and is a tremendous learning exercise, even if you aren’t going to be a mathematician or a scientist,” he says. “And yet, we in the United States are not dedicating enough resources to math education and are not helping kids be comfortable with math. We wanted to support an institution that can provide progress in early childhood math education, and we found through our analysis that Erikson stood very tall in the field.”

The i3 award and matching grant will expand the reach of the project even beyond Chicago. A portion of the funds will be used to create a print and multimedia manual for education trainers who work with teachers in Chicago and around the country to provide quality early math education.