Friends of CSS


Friends of Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, Engineering, Inc., (FoCSS) is a New York state charitable corporation that was formed to support the academic mission of CSS. The purpose of FoCSS is to enhance the educational experiences of the students, teachers and staff of Columbia Secondary School.

What we do...

Friends of CSS is a  non-profit that financially supports and maintains much of the infrastructure and programming that makes CSS a dynamic public school. We fund multiple salaried positions, like the college office; engineering and technology equipment; as well as provide supplemental funds for staff who engage students in after-school activities. Historically, FoCSS has supported and subsidized almost all of the extra curricular activities at CSS, including experiential learning field trips and college trips, clubs and electives and special events such as the musical.  We have also helped defray costs of AP exams, funded Naviance and picked up the cost of college texts for students taking courses at CU. CSS would not have these amazing resources without the funding from FoCSS.  These are essential supports for our students, staff and parent community.

Who we are...

Friends of CSS is made up of current and former parents, students and staff who serve on a volunteer basis and meet monthly.

The difference between us and the PTA...

FoCSS is separate and independent from both the PTA and from the DOE, although the Friends and PTA regularly consult to coordinate efforts where appropriate. 

Where our funds come from...

The majority of Friends’ income currently comes from Columbia University’s annual contribution to CSS, but a significant amount also comes from voluntary charitable gifts from CSS parents and families. We also engage in outside fundraising through approaching potential donors, grant writing, corporate matching gifts, and other means.

Why you should donate...

Your support is vital. Your donations preserve the essential elements of the CSS experience that we find. All contributions to Friends of CSS are deductible from federal and state income taxes to the full extent allowed by law. FoCSS is a listed 501c3 on GuideStar and Cause IQ, which are websites where 501c3 organizations are registered.  We are audited and file financial reports with the IRS.

How you can donate...

Click here.

Find out more...

You can view a presentation on our organization here. You can contact us at:


The 2023-2024 Friends of CSS Board

Min Hong, President

Miriam Nightengale, Secretary

Kian Tajbakhsh, Treasurer 

Leanne Gonzalez-Singer 

Mark Kerman 

Solenn de Kersauson 

David Lurvey 

Kit McArthur 

Nat Polish 

Nydia Prishker 

Marie Te Hapuku 

Dave Thom