Grant Application Process

Every year, Columbia Community Service (CCS) awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide community-based programs and services in the neighborhoods surrounding the University and meet certain eligibility requirements. CCS prioritizes grant support for the neighborhood defined as the area north of West 86th Street, south of West 155th Street, and between Fifth Avenue on the east, and the Hudson River on the west. Applicant organizations must meet all guidelines and application requirements, demonstrate sound fiscal practices, and extend our mission of making a difference in the community.

The University’s Medical Center, 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 north of West 155th Street. More information on the fund is available on their website.

By contributing to CCS, faculty and staff from Columbia, Barnard College, and Teachers College provide critical support to local nonprofits in our community tackling a range of issues including affordable housing, health and wellness, and youth development – to name a few. This year, CCS awarded $300,012 in grants to 55 nonprofit organizations in Harlem and Morningside Heights that fight hunger, provide health services, and promote literacy, STEM, and nutrition.


How to Apply

Your organization must meet the following guidelines before submitting a letter of inquiry:

  • Organizations must have their own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and be able to provide a copy of their federal tax determination letter.
  • Organizations must provide programs and services in the CCS catchment area, which is north of West 86th Street, south of West 155th Street, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River.
  • Organizations with annual operating budgets of one million dollars or less are prioritized for funding. However, larger organizations can still apply if the project is less than one million and focused specifically within the CCS catchment area.

There will be careful review of circumstances when applicant organizations have:

  • a pre-existing fiscal relationship with either Barnard College, Columbia University or Teachers College.
  • organizational leadership (e.g., employee, Board, and advisory) affiliated with Barnard College, Columbia University or Teachers College.

Organizations Seeking a Grant for the First Time or were funded in the Past but not in the Last Year

For 77 years, CCS has awarded grants to support nonprofit organizations that provide community-based programs and services in Harlem and Morningside Heights. Unfortunately, due to unusually limited funding for this cycle, the CCS Grant Review Committee will not be able to accept proposals from new organizations this year.  


CCS applications must be:

  • Submitted on or before the deadline
  • Complete and legible
  • Accompanied by required supporting documents
  • Supported by a scheduled site visit with a designated CCS representative

After site visits are completed, the CCS Grant Review Committee will make final decisions regarding the grant proposal. Grant funding amounts will be determined in mid-to-late May, and grants will be distributed in June.

For questions, please contact Joan Griffith-Lee at [email protected] or 646-256-7772. Other resources that might be of interest to grant seekers can be found on the Resources for Grantees page.