Record Banner
Vol.26, No. 06 Oct. 16, 2000

Columbia Community Service Kicks Off Season of Giving

By Lauren Marshall

Summer and after-school art, music and educational activities for inner city youth; nursery school and kindergarten scholarships for children from low-income families; social work services for the elderly and meals and shelter for the homeless—these are just a few things that Columbia Community Service (CCS) brings to our neighbors.

But none of this would be possible without the support of Columbia, Barnard and Teachers College faculty and staff.

The 54th Annual Appeal for CCS is off and running this year. The campaign began on Oct. 18 with a letter from President George Rupp, campaign chairperson. Faculty and staff of Columbia and its affiliates will soon receive donor cards in campus mail and have until spring to make donations. For President Rupp, who has made strengthening Columbia’s ties to its surrounding communities a University priority, CCS is an important and effective way for Columbians and partners to individually demonstrate their commitment to Columbia’s neighbors. "Especially in this campaign season, with its rhetoric of compassion and care, it is good to have a specific opportunity to make a direct and substantial difference in the lives of people we see every day," said Rupp.

Each year, 100 percent of the dollars donated go directly to organizations dedicated to diverse members of Columbia’s surrounding communities, reaching more than 19,000 people including children, youth, adults and seniors. CCS raised a record $217,000 last year. Over 41 CCS-supported organizations within a 35-block radius surrounding the Morningside campus received grants ranging from $500 to $10,000. Columbia’s own Community Impact, a community service organization that links some 900 Columbia students with more than 25 community service programs in the area received $20,000.

"The generous support of CCS has allowed Community Impact to provide a wide range of services to members of our surrounding community and offer Columbia student volunteers valuable service opportunities," said Sonia Reese, executive director of Community Impact. "Through our projects, students teach, tutor and mentor neighborhood youngsters; provide referrals to low-income adults for housing, job-training programs, and emergency services; enroll children and families in free and low-cost health insurance plans; and offer a wide array of other needed services by neighborhood residents."

Although organizations are direct recipients of donated funds, the impact is at a personal level. "Each year, CCS grants serve as lifelines to programs struggling to continue their grassroots efforts in the face of tight public budgets. If you walked near campus this morning, you may well have passed someone who has been fed, tutored, treated, trained or housed by organizations supported by last year’s Appeal," said Richard Naum, vice president for university development and alumni relations.

CCS is not merely a matter of donating money. Many Columbia, Barnard and Teachers College staff dedicate personal time to raising funds, processing grants and selecting recipients. In addition, the University covers all administrative costs of the Appeal, which allows every dollar donated to benefit the organizations and programs supported by CCS.

According to this year’s CCS board president David Leebron, dean of the School of Law, CCS reflects the spirit of Columbia and its affiliates. "CCS says a lot about the University in terms of how we regard and contribute to our local community. For those who live and work here and even those who just work here, CCS is central to Columbia’s commitment to community," said Leebron.

CCS is administered by a volunteer 14-member board. This year’s CCS campaign is led by President George Rupp with assistance from co-chairs President Arthur Levine of Teachers College, Acting President and Provost Elizabeth S. Boylan of Barnard, Richard Naum, and Martha Howell, Columbia professor of history.

CCS began during World War II, when Columbians heeded the call for war relief. Since that time the immediate University community has voluntarily contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to neighborhood organizations. As the 54th Annual Appeal gathers momentum, Columbians again are asked to support the community in which we work and live.