Grant Application Process

Every year, Columbia Community Service awards grants to selected nonprofit organizations.  Along with meeting eligibility requirements, applicant organizations 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.


By contributing to CCS, faculty and staff from Columbia, Barnard College, and Teachers College provide critical support to nonprofits tackling affordable housing, health and wellness, and youth development -- to name a few. In 2019, CCS selected 60 organizations as grant recipients.  

How to Apply

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

  • Organization must have its own 501(c) 3 status and be able to provide a copy of its federal tax determination letter.
  • Organization must reside and operate in the CCS catchment area, which is north of West 86th Street, south of West 155th Street, between 5th Avenue and the Hudson River.
  • Although the CCS Grant is unrestricted, it should only be used for the proposed project.
  • Organizations must have annual operating budgets of one million dollars or less. However, organizations with larger operating budgets may apply for funding for small projects focused specifically within the CCS catchment area.
  • New requests must be for proposed projects that can be fully supported with $3,000 or less or the agency must prove that additional funding is already in place before the grant is confirmed.

All new grantseekers and previous grantees that were not awarded a grant in the previous cycle must submit a letter of inquiry addressed to Columbia Community Service by email to no later than January 1. The letter must include a brief (maximum of 300 words) description of the proposed project, including how it serves your constituents, accompanied with a budget, a listing of the organization’s board, proof of the organization’s 501(c) 3 status and any supporting material (e.g., brochure and mission statement). The inquiry should be addressed to: The CCS Grant Allocations Committee.

CCS will respond to your letter of inquiry by email within two weeks after receipt. If your letter of inquiry meets the criteria listed above, an application will be provided by email.

Applications are due as noted on each grant application. No late applications will be accepted. 

  • CCS will contact applicants regarding site visits after a complete application is received. CCS will not consider applications that are:
    • Submitted after the deadline.
    • Deemed incomplete due to missing information.
    • Information provided on the grant application should be legible and complete.
  • Required supporting documents must be submitted with the application.
  • CCS will conduct site visits to organizations in order to ensure that the projects have the support they need.
  • After site visits are completed, the CCS Allocations Committee will make final decisions regarding the grant award based upon:
    • The total funds available for grants.
    • The recommendations of the site visitor.

Grant funding amounts will be determined in mid to late May, and confirmations of those amounts will be distributed in June. The organization will receive an invitation to the event if a grant has been awarded. 

For questions, please contact Joan Griffith-Lee at 212-854-4288 or Other resources that might be of interest to grant seekers can be found on the Resources for Grantees page.