Christopher Columbus Awards


The Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based STEM education program for middle school students. The program challenges the students to work in teams of three to four with an adult coach, to identify an issue in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution to the problem.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 04/02/2020 (Archived.)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants (Special)
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2012: In 2012, two of the six Finalist teams received Gold Medals and $2,000 per team member for their winning projects. The competition is designed for teams of middle school-age students, and gives the students experience in solving problems using the scientific process of exploring, analyzing and drawing conclusions. The Incrediveyor! team comprised of three members from Gahanna Middle School, Gahanna, OH and one member from Mont Vernon Village School, Mont Vernon, NH, won Gold Medals and $2,000 for each team member. Highlighting the problem of dangerous bacteria on grocery store conveyor belts that can contaminate food, the team developed the Incrediveyor, a checkout belt made of hydrophobic, Teflon-coated glass fiber fabric that is continuously sanitized. The Pinelands Eco Scienteers team from All Saints Regional Catholic School, Manahawkin, NJ, won Gold medals and $2,000 for each team member. Highlighting many third world countries' dependence on wood as primary source of fuel, the team developed a low-cost briquette press that utilizes bio-waste products as a new source of cooking fuel. Fiscal Year 2013: The competition is designed for teams of middle school-age students, and gives the students experience in solving problems using the scientific process of exploring, analyzing and drawing conclusions. In 2013, two of the eight finalist teams received gold medals and $2,000 each for their winning entries. The finalist teams were judged a second time for the practicality of implementing their idea. The winning team received the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant to take back to their community to make their innovation a reality. Additionally, one team was recognized with a special Chairman's Award with each team member receiving $500 for their winning entry.

The Biodiesel Weasels team from Pinnacle Charter School, Federal Heights, CO, won gold medals and $2,000 for each team member. Highlighting the problem of increased transportation costs, the team's solution was to "top off" fuel tanks of the district's buses with biodiesel fuel to help reduce transportation costs. The S.L.I.D.E.: Solar Light Indicating Danger Ecologically from the STEM Science Team, Roan Mountain, TN, won gold medals and $2,000 for each team member. Highlighting the significant danger of playground equipment becoming hot enough to cause second- to third-degree burns, the team developed S.L.I.D.E. - a solar powered warning system designed to detect playground equipment surface temperatures and to visually alert playground visitors when the surface becomes dangerously hot. The Zero Waste Team from Charter Oaks Academy, Hockessin, DE, won the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant. Highlighting the fact that Delaware landfills are almost to full capacity, the team developed an outreach program consisting of residential curbside composting, business composting and composting education to educate the community about this problem. The Chairman's Award was presented to the Flame On! team from Whiteface Science Rocks U, Whiteface, TX, with $500 for each team member. Living in an area prone to wildfires, the team was concerned about the high cost of damages to homes caused by wildfires. The team redesigned a roofing shingle that contains polymers to help reduce a rooftop's flammability, thereby lessening the damages sustained by homes in wildfire areas. Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available
Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Coins and Fellowship Foundation, Title IV, Section 400-429, Public Law 102-281, 106 Stat. 139-145, 20 U.S.C 5701-5708.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants are teams of three to four students in sixth through eighth grade with a coach, who identify a problem in their community and solve it using the scientific method.
Beneficiary Eligibility
U.S. citizens, middle school students.
No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. Application materials may be requested by individuals who meet the eligibility requirements stated above. Entry forms and all competition information are available for download at: or may be requested by calling (800) 291-6020 ext. 3154. Completed entries must be received by February 4, 2013. The program is sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and managed by MMS Education, 105 Terry Drive, Newtown, PA 18940, Attn: Stephanie Hallman. Entries are accepted from teams of three to four students in grades six to eight from all 50 states, territories and possessions only. All team entries must include: a Christopher Columbus Awards Entry form (signed by team members and the coach), a team-written section and the visual component. To enter, mail the original and two copies of the team's community solution to: Christopher Columbus Awards, 105 Terry Drive, Suite 120, Newtown, PA 18940.
Award Procedure
The Christopher Columbus Awards have three judging phases. The teams' entries are reviewed by a regional panel of judges who select 30 semifinalist teams. Another judging panel selects eight finalist teams and their coaches. The finalist teams receive an all-expense-paid trip to Florida to attend The Christopher Columbus Academy and National Championship Week, where they compete for monetary awards and the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant. The finals and the Christopher Columbus Academy are held at Walt Disney Resorts, Orlando, FL, from June 9-14, 2013.
Feb 04, 2013 The deadline is in early February each year.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not Applicable.
Not Applicable.
Not Applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Not Applicable.
How may assistance be used?
All members of two Gold Medal winning teams are presented with monetary awards and one team wins the Columbus Foundation Community Grant. The grant must be used to further develop the team's solution to the community issue they addressed in the competition. The grant team will work with a community partner on the project throughout the next year.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Program reports are not applicable. No cash reports are required. Interim progress reports regarding the grant project. Final report on project. Receipts of all expenses and travel incurred regarding the grant project. Performance monitoring is not applicable.
Not Applicable.
No Data Available.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
12-18 months. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Monetary awards are presented following the awards ceremony. The grant is paid in installments upon the approval and under the direction of the Program Manager.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None. Main Foundaton website:
Headquarters Office
Judith Shellenberger, 110 Genesee Street, Suite 390, Auburn, New York 13021 Email: JUDITHMSCOLUMBUS@CS.COM Phone: (315) 258-0090 Fax: (315) 258-0093.
Website Address or
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants (Special)) FY 12 $206,941; FY 13 est $273,000; and FY 14 est $273,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$2,000 Monetary Awards
$25,000 Grant.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not Applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.


Federal Grants Resources