5 Things to Know About Columbia Community Service's 77th Annual Appeal: What It Is and How You Can Get Involved

Learn the key details about an important initiative supported by employees and retirees that helps Upper Manhattan thrive.

October 11, 2023

Maybe you've seen the emails going out in previous years, or maybe this is your first year at Columbia and you're just hearing about Columbia Community Service. Either way, here are quick answers to the questions you might have about the program, what it is, and why it's important as the 77th Annual Appeal launches. 

1. What is Columbia Community Service?

Columbia Community Service (CCS) is one of the oldest and most visible elements of the collective commitment that Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College have to Morningside Heights and Harlem. Every year, donations to the Annual Appeal provide grants to more than 50 organizations for programs that provide essential social services, help keep families fed, enrich arts and cultural offerings, and provide educational support.

In addition, CCS facilitates capacity-building, volunteer opportunities, and workshops that connect our University community to local nonprofits.

In its 76th year, the Columbia Community Service Annual Appeal raised more than $300,000 from hundreds of Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College faculty, staff, and retirees. Thanks to their generous support, CCS awarded grants to 55 organizations in Harlem and Morningside Heights.

October marks the launch of the 77th Annual Appeal. You can donate to CCS today with a credit card or via payroll deduction.

2. What does a donation to Columbia Community Service do?

Because CCS’s operating costs are paid by the University, 100% of your donation to CCS supports local organizations that combat hunger, provide educational enrichment and social services, and support arts and culture. Your donation helps keep summer camps operating, provides scholarships for children to attend after school and enrichment programs, supports the health and well-being of older adults, and much more.

With a single donation to CCS, your dollar reaches a wide range of organizations, supporting their missions and increasing their impact.

For example, just one $25 CCS donation helps New York Common Pantry (NYCP) put 23 meals onto the tables of their clients and helps establish long-term independence.

3. Which organizations does CCS support?

CCS supports more than 50 nonprofit organizations serving Harlem and Morningside Heights. These CCS grantees provide essential programs that combat hunger, support social services, sponsor the arts, and provide educational opportunities for youth in STEM, arts, and literacy. See the full list of CCS grantees.

4. How did CCS get its start?

During World War II, a group of civic-minded women affiliated with Columbia joined together to make a difference both locally and globally. Their efforts began with fundraising for the war effort, but soon expanded to the Columbia Committee for Community Service, which by the early 1960s was beginning to focus heavily on supporting local, neighborhood organizations. 

Learn more about the history of CCS.

5. How can I get more involved with CCS?

  1. Donate to the CCS 77th Annual Appeal today! A gift of any amount makes a difference.
  2. Volunteer with a CCS grantee. Lend your talent, knowledge, and expertise with opportunities to provide tutoring, mentoring, food distribution at pantries, and much more.
  3. Become a CCS ambassador and participate in one of the many drives CCS runs throughout the year to collect food, gently used clothing and coats, and back-to-school supplies.

Thank you for your participation and support of our local community.