Definition of a Cooperative Agreement

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Federal agencies frequently enter into cooperative agreements.
Federal agencies frequently enter into cooperative agreements. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

A cooperative agreement is a legal agreement between the federal government and any other entity. A cooperative agreement occurs when the federal government transfers something of value, usually money, to a state government, municipality or private company for a public purpose. In a cooperative agreement, substantial interaction goes on between the federal government and the other party.

Grants vs. Cooperative Agreements

The main difference between a grant and a cooperative agreement is that in a grant, not much substantial interaction occurs between the federal government and the awardee. In a cooperative agreement, there is significant involvement by the federal government associated with the stated agreement.

Cooperative Agreements vs. Procurement Contracts

The essential difference between a procurement contract and a cooperative agreement is that in a cooperative agreement, money is awarded to another entity to carry out a public purpose with the involvement of the federal government. In a procurement contract, there is a purchase by the federal government of some product or service from another entity.

Cooperative Agreement Summary

The cooperative agreement is mainly for funding of public projects in which a department of the federal government is an active partner. An example would be a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and various state and local organizations that promote disaster preparedness.

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