Important Announcements

2015 White House Science Fair

Three CCA award winning teams honored. New team record established. Read more...

Purpose and Mission

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is a federal agency established by Congress and committed to fostering community service through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by middle and high school students. Today our mission reflects the urgent need to cultivate a passion and expertise in our nation’s youth for science to meet national priorities.


January 10, 2017

Dear Friends of the Foundation:

Today the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation (CCFF) announced a temporary suspension of customary business operations, as a federal agency, effective January 19, 2017.

This temporary suspension, a planned federal process, is required by the scheduled “end of term” for the Board’s remaining Trustee. It will extend until the Presidential Appointment of new Trustees. During that period, operating as the Columbus Fellowship Foundation (CFF), it is pursuing independent initiatives to carry forward the mission. Growth and development are expected to continue through STEM policy outreach and promotion of public private partnership innovation.

As so many of you know, the CCFF commitment over the last 3 years has been to “refocus, renew and rebuild” through a unique approach to STEM education in awards and competitions. With your help and guidance, the CFF is continuing to drive full implementation of this sharpened mission: “Community service through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by middle school and high school students nationwide.”

Your commitment and outreach to Congress, the White House, and the media has been particularly powerful in advancing the unique value offered by our national competitions - the Christopher Columbus Awards (CCA). The exceptional honors received by our teams at last year’s White House Science Fair were compelling. The successes of middle and high school students, CCA alumni now in STEM programs, and the many graduates working across the national STEM marketplace have been remarkable. We plan to build upon their successes and great ideas.

Yet, to be very clear, recent years have been challenging for the Foundation and the Christopher Columbus Awards (CCA) competitions. Our efforts have been directed largely to maintaining ongoing commitments and encouraging STEM education enhancement. Today, though no new programs can be undertaken until relaunch with new Trustees, Foundation supporters are planning ahead. The greatest inspiration in CCA’s work remains the impact on our youth. Our primary source of support has come from the teachers, Foundation alumni, volunteers, and numerous supporters who continue to contact us with words of encouragement and reminders as to the “power” our programs have had. Our students’ impact on community problems is brought home by articles, communications and community recognition received years later.

Our greatest hope is that continuing private sector individual and company resources can build and enhance the integrated effort while citizens and constituents support new agency initiatives through Trustee appointments. Pending appointment of new Trustees, we anticipate active private sector and nonprofit advocacy to both encourage relaunch and pursue the Foundation’s immediate mission. With your help, we hope to build current operations while laying a pathway for future Trustee initiatives. We plan to do so by emulating the breadth of the Foundation’s long-standing resource base of integrated funds, non-profit and for-profit partnerships, agency programming and personal contributions.

Thank you for buoying us with your support. We deeply appreciate it and, as always, welcome your ideas and guidance.