Cooperating Associations Program
Cooperating associations are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that financially support and volunteer services to the Corps through a cooperating association 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.
There is often confusion between the definitions of a cooperating association 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 Cooperating Association Agreement with the Corps of Engineers.
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 cooperating association agreement is signed.
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