On May 18, 2009, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and the President of the West Harlem Local Development Corporation (WHLDC) signed the West Harlem Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) marking a unique partnership between the University and the residents in Manhattan’s Community District 9. The agreement, along with commitments made to the City and the State over the course of the formal approval processes for the Manhattanville expansion project, encompasses not only a financial commitment on the part of the University, but also a commitment of both “in-kind” resources and advice and guidance on a range of issues and programs. The Office of Government and Community Affairs is the main University contact for the CBA and administers three of the programs.
The Community Scholars Program at Columbia University is designed to offer independent, community-based scholars from Northern Manhattan access to a suite of Columbia University services and resources that allow them to work toward the completion of a particular project or to attain skill in a particular area. The program helps to foster and deepen ties between the University and the many independent members of the cultural and intellectual community surrounding it. To learn more about this program, please visit our Community Scholars page.
In accordance with its commitment with Empire State Development, Columbia University offers resources for Disconnected Youth residing within the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ). The Office of Government and Community Affairs (GCA) manages this project to identify and engage disconnected youth, individuals ages 16 to 24 who are not employed, have not completed high school or obtained a high school equivalency diploma, in order to enroll them, at no cost, in existing NYCDOE high school programs or TASC programs. Learn more on the Connecting Youth Initiative page.
WHDC In-Kind Space Requests
As part of the In-Kind Facilities and Services benefit in the CBA, the West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC) is able to use part of its "In-Kind" fund to request the use of CU space on behalf of local community groups. Local community groups must be located in Manhattan Community District 9 (MCD9), which is defined as the area between 110th and 155th Streets and the Hudson River and an eastern boundary of Manhattan, Morningside, St. Nicholas, Bradhurst and Edgecombe Avenues. GCA acts as the liaison between the WHDC and University Events Management. More information can be found on the WHDC In-Kind Space Requests page.