CEF’s work inspires students, engages educators, and strengthens communities

to build a better world through the science of chemistry.


When it comes to preparing the STEM workforce – those industries relying on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – often the focus is on students in high school and post-secondary education.

But the truth is, if students aren’t inspired by science when they are young – as early as five years old – it gets increasingly harder to engage them in learning and ultimately, enter careers in STEM industries.

CEF’s You Be The Chemist programs uniquely connect business and education in local communities to reach students early in life and ignite a passion for chemistry and science-related careers.

Companies and individuals in the science and chemistry industries have invested in You Be The Chemist since 1989, to inspire young students into a lifelong passion for these fields. Programs are implemented in partnership with schools and education programs so activities align with local workforce and learning needs.

You Be The Chemist continues helping businesses and education providers show young students the potential to build a better world through the science of chemistry. Read CEF’s Case Statement here.


Our Mission

To build the excitement and value of chemistry and STEM careers by empowering educators to engage K-8 students in accessible, hands-on science experiences.

Our Vision

We inspire students to be innovators and STEM leaders, building a better world through the science of chemistry.

Our History

The Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF) was founded by the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) in 1989.

Since becoming a distinct entity in 1997, CEF continues its strong relationship with NACD members who see the growing need for a skilled, qualified workforce. CEF’s circle of supporters now also includes consumer product corporations and a range of STEM and science-related businesses that are U.S. and global leaders.

See a full list of our contributors.

View our 2021 – 2024 Strategic Plan.