Cooperating Associations Program
Cooperating associations are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that financially support and volunteer services to the Corps through a cooperative agreement. They are free-standing corporate entities with boards of directors, purposes, and abilities consistent with their boards and objectives. Some associations work in single areas; others are involved in various areas achieving multiple tasks.
Cooperating associations are used to accomplish such broad goals as natural resource and recreation management, interpretation, and visitor service activities at civil works water resource projects, fee-owned lands, and other areas for which the Corps has administrative and management responsibilities. In addition, forming an association develops partnerships with communities and improves communication among local constituencies.
Support special events, interpretive, educational or scientific activities, exhibits, and programs
Support natural resources management and/or public programs at or near Corps projects through conservation and educational activities and special events
Acquire materials, equipment, supplies, or other items, or services appropriate for management, operation, interpretive, educational and visitor service functions.
Provide services to visitors through the sale, production, publication, and/or distribution of appropriate interpretive and educational items related to the goals and mission of the Corps
Distribute medium for those educational and scientific publications which relate to the Corps projects missions
Collect dues; operate bookstores on-site, purchase equipment and materials for use at Corps projects, conduct and/or fund programs, and fund Volunteer Recognition Events.
Cooperatively manage Corps recreation areas through a cooperative agreement and lease
There is often confusion between the definitions of a cooperating association, cooperative agreements, and friends groups. To clarify:
Cooperating Association: refers to a legal entity, organized under state law, which enjoys a non-profit and tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service codes and which operates under the terms of a Cooperative Agreement with the Corps of Engineers.
Cooperative Agreement: refers to the agreement between a cooperating association and the Corps of Engineers defining the functions and responsibilities of each party to the agreement. Note: There are cooperative agreements that may not involve cooperating associations; such as law enforcement services, fire protection, research and development and others. These cooperative agreements are not the same type of cooperative agreements as covered under the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, used by other federal agencies
Friends Group: generally refers to local volunteer groups of citizens organized for a specific purpose or interest in a particular geographical area. Friends groups may or may not have 501(c) status. A friends group does not become a cooperating association unless a cooperative agreement is signed.
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