Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations are vital partners in fulfilling the Land Grant and Extension missions of Cornell University.
Established by state statute in 1912 as subordinate government agencies, 55 county Extension Associations in 57 counties operate under memoranda of agreement with Cornell University to provide educational programming to residents of New York in areas such as agriculture, youth development, nutrition, environment, and community development.
Associations’ informal educational programs are supported by the research conducted by faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, as well as other Land Grant Universities throughout the country.
By extending the work of faculty, Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations provide 56 “portals” to Cornell University and serve as the only direct contact many New Yorkers will have with their Land Grant University.
Each association is governed by a board of locally elected volunteers who are responsible for identifying their community’s educational needs, offering a mix of programs which address those needs, hiring qualified staff to develop and deliver programs, and securing adequate funds to support the work of the Association.
County governments provide $35 million in funding to Associations, which is an indicator of the high level of local support for Associations. Association/Campus projects also generate another $27 million annually in grants and contracts. Statewide, Associations employ over 1,300 staff and engage over 50,000 volunteers in the delivery of their educational programs.
Fundamental to Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations is the powerful idea that individuals and communities should be a part of decisions about educational programming that will affect them, and that a high degree of local involvement can inform the public work of the University.
Also central to the system’s design is the idea that a strong partnership with local governments can strengthen and add to the support for Cornell and its extension programs that is provided by state and federal government. Local programs are tailored to local needs, while maintaining system-wide integrity and connection to Cornell.