Important Announcements

White House Science Fairs

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.


Dear Friends of the Foundation:

In January 2017, the Foundation announced a temporary suspension of federally funded efforts; thus moving to expand its long standing private sector charitable operations. Unique joint federal and charitable foundation programs will resume pending Congressional action.

This long-planned change is required by statute (PL 102-281). Suspension of the federal side will extend until Congressional Nomination and Presidential Appointment of new Trustees. During this period, as mandated, we are enhancing multiple charitable private sector and agency initiatives to carry forward the mission. Growth and development are expected to continue through STEM policy outreach, support of prize winning student teams and promotion of public-private partnership innovation.

As so many of you know, the Foundation, established 25 years ago, has vigorously pursued critical national scientific priorities. Our sole commitment over the last three years has been to “refocus, renew and rebuild” through a unique, award winning, approach to STEM education in awards and competitions. With your help and guidance, we are continuing to drive full implementation of the sharpened mission you so strongly encouraged: “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 and have encouraged your continued essential outreach. 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.

Yet, to be very clear, recent years have been challenging for the Foundation. Our efforts have been directed largely to maintaining ongoing commitments and encouraging STEM education enhancement. 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 science education leaders who continue to contact us with words of encouragement and reminders as to the “power” our programs have had.

Our greatest hope is that continuing private sector individual and company resources 501(c)3 will enhance the integrated effort while citizens and constituents support new agency initiatives through Trustee appointments. We plan to grow 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.