Columbia Community Service

During World War II, the Columbia University Committee for War Relief made critical contributions to the United States war effort, including the United War Fund and the American Red Cross. After the war, this group began to focus on helping the local community surrounding the University, which led to the formation of Columbia Community Service (CCS). Since its inception in 1946, CCS has helped countless people in the Columbia area by giving substantial grants and providing valuable resources to local community organizations. 

Columbia Community Service (CCS) is one of the oldest organizations on campus. Its yearly campaign is a means for faculty and staff of Columbia University to support soup kitchens, after-school programs, and other critical services, through direct financial contributions. With the University covering all CCS administrative expenses, 100% of contributions go directly to the provision of services; grants awarded by CCS are for direct services only, and not for salaries. The grants awarded by CCS are for direct services only, and not for salaries.  

To learn more, please visit the Columbia Community Service Website.

How to Apply

To be eligible for a CCS grant, your nonprofit organization must be located and offer services within one or more of the neighborhoods surrounding the University. Typically the neighborhood is defined as the area north of West 86th Street, south of West 155th Street, and between 5th Avenue on the east, and the Hudson River on the west. Please review the application process and send an e-mail to Joan Griffith Lee at if you have questions.

For Agencies located North of 155th Street

The University's Medical Center, which is located at West 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue, operates a similar fund called the Medical Center Neighborhood Fund, which provides grants for organizations located to the north of West 155th Street.


Looking to lend a helping hand? Visit the CCS Volunteer page for the latest opportunities available at CCS-supported nonprofits.