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Chicago-area derivatives firms give more than $4 million to local food bank

Futures industry steps up to help Chicago Food Depository respond to coronavirus

1 June 2020

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The Greater Chicago Food Depository has served the greater Chicago area since 1979. But it's safe to say that in more than 40 years of operation, the institution has never faced a crisis quite like the coronavirus pandemic.

A Federal Reserve survey showed that nearly 1 in 5 working Americans either lost their jobs or were furloughed across March and early April. And digging deeper into the numbers, roughly 39% of those affected were making $40,000 or less annually -- meaning those already struggling to get by were the most likely to see their finances disrupted.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository was already a crucial resource for families looking for help, but by March it became clear the food bank was needed more than ever.

“While every neighborhood has been affected by this pandemic, African-American and Latino communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides have been devastated by the combination of COVID-19 and food insecurity,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Food Depository. “We acted urgently to increase food access in those communities.”   

Derivatives market participants who call Chicago home recognized this need in their hometown, and stepped up to help in a big way. Collectively, firms in the area donated more than $4 million to the food depository's COVID-19 emergency food distribution response. The list of donor firms include Citadel, CTC Trading, DRW Trading, IMC, Intercontinental Exchange and Mizuho Securities -- and is still growing.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository obviously has used this funding to directly provide more meals to hungry Chicago-area families. But the generosity of futures industry firms has also helped back programs such as $1 million in equity-driven grant funding to assist other local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and "pop-up" programs that ensure aid effectively gets to the communities that need it most.

“The economic impact of this pandemic will be felt for years to come,” Maehr said. “We’re very grateful for FIA’s continued support. We’ll need all the help we can get.”

The Greater Chicago Food Depository has been a longtime partner of FIA through charitable events held in conjunction with FIA's annual Futures & Options Expo in Chicago. Since 2008, FIA’s total contributions have added up to more than $4.3 million.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository still needs help responding to the challenges created by the coronavirus. Visit www.chicagosfoodbank.org to donate or to volunteer and to learn more about the organization's COVID-19 response.

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