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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #428691

Research Project: Agreement Between The United States National Arbortum and the Friends of the National Arboretum

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21000-071-02-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2015
End Date: May 31, 2020

Objective:
ARS and the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) desire to enter into an Agreement to provide mechanisms for FONA, the primary private partner of the United States National Arboretum, to become a more effective force for the long-term sustainability of the Arboretum in carrying out its missions of research, education, and public display gardens. The USNA Strategic Plan seeks to achieve operational and financial sustainability by expanding the base and stability of support for its activities through a new business model that balances appropriated, contributed, and concession income; and the Strategic Plan recognizes the need to expand and streamline agreements with the Arboretum’s private sector partners for financial support, joint planning, and operations of some Arboretum functions, including visitor services and amenities. The purpose of this Agreement is to articulate the nature of the relationship between FONA and the Arboretum, to set forth in general terms the basis under which the parties will work together to implement the provisions of the Strategic Plan, and to state their intent to enter into more detailed agreements regarding the topics addressed herein. This Agreement supersedes any prior agreement between FONA and ARS.

Approach:
The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has statutory authority to maintain the Arboretum pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 191. That authority has been delegated to the Administrator of ARS. 7 CFR §§ 2.21(a)(l)(cxiv), 2.65(a)(51). FONA is a nonprofit corporation incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia on March 10, 1982 to be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. The purpose of FONA is assisting and providing support for the research, education, and public display gardens of the Arboretum. The Arboretum enhances the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through long-term, multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, public education, and interpretative gardens and exhibits. It creates an opportunity for discovery through the establishment of a learning environment - in person and remotely for staff, visitors, students, and other interested persons. In service of this mission, the Strategic Plan establishes four key goals. These are to: • Ensure the national relevance of the Arboretum to ARS, other scientific institutions, stakeholders, and the public; • Increase public stakeholder awareness of and engagement with the Arboretum and its programs; • Enhance the visitor experience of the Arboretum; and • Ensure the long-term sustainability of the Arboretum. The long-term sustainability of the Arboretum is dependent upon implementing a new business model that balances appropriated, contributed, and concession income in a sustainable manner. This is particularly true for maintaining the public gardens and educational programs. The Arboretum seeks to achieve such sustainability by expanding the base and stability of support for its activities. To ensure and enhance support for the Arboretum’s mission and to define the terms of their relationship, ARS desires to enter into a public-private partnership agreement with FONA, which has served as the Arboretum’s dedicated primary private partner since 1982. FONA has substantial experience and a long-term track record in raising funds for the Arboretum under previous Agreements. The FONA board and staff are committed to the long-term sustainability of the Arboretum and expansion of the base and stability of support for its activities. The following authorities are relevant to this agreement: 20 U.S.C. § 195 authorizes the Secretary to solicit and accept gifts made for the benefit of the Arboretum. 20 U.S.C. § 196 authorizes the Secretary to (1) negotiate agreements granting concessions at the Arboretum to nonprofit scientific or educational organizations and (2) accept voluntary services from such organizations and from individuals. 7 U.S.C. § 3318(b) authorizes the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements serving a mutual interest of the parties in research, extension, and teaching activities. 40 U.S.C. §1314 authorizes executive agencies to grant easements over public property, including an interest in real property, with or without monetary or other consideration.