Resources - Friends Policy and Partnership Agreement

Friends Policy and Partnership Agreement


Background and Timeline:


April 4th, 2014 – U.S. FWS Director Dan Ashe, signed the Friends Policy to assist employees in achieving the Service mission more efficiently through partnerships with nonprofit Friends organizations. Details here.


January 21, 2014 – Acting Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Cynthia Martinez, issued additional guidance regarding Service Volunteers and Friends Nature Stores to access this guidance click here.


2015: Service conducted webinars on the policy:

  • Region 1 and 8 webinar.
  • Region 2 webinar. Please note that on this webinar it is stated that if a refuge is 7-11 miles from a local grocery store, it might be appropriate for them to sell certain items (bottled water, snacks, etc.). That is not correct. We do not have a defined distance that deems it appropriate. Each refuge could be different — this is one of those questions where it is situational.
  • Region 5 webinar.


Spring 2014: The National Wildlife Refuge Association hires an independent law firm to review the Friends Partnership Agreement from a nonprofit’s perspective. View a side-by-side comparison of the Service’s template and the law firm’s suggested possible edits and comments.



March 15, 2016: After solicitor review of the recommendations presented by the law firm retained by the Refuge Association, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin, signs an amendment to the Partnership Agreement template regarding the anti-lobbying clause.

View the amendment here. 

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