Subchapter B—Personal Property
Part 102-37—Donation of Surplus Personal Property

Appendix C—Glossary of Terms for Determining Eligibility of Public Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations

The following is a glossary of terms for determining eligibility of public agencies and nonprofit organizations:

“Accreditation” means the status of public recognition that an accrediting agency grants to an institution or program that meets the agency’s standards and requirements.

“Accredited” means approval by a recognized accrediting board or association on a regional, State, or national level, such as a State board of education or health; the American Hospital Association; a regional or national accrediting association for universities, colleges, or secondary schools; or another recognized accrediting association.

“Approved” means recognition and approval by the State department of education, State department of health, or other appropriate authority where no recognized accrediting board, association, or other authority exists for the purpose of making an accreditation. For an educational institution or an educational program, approval must relate to academic or instructional standards established by the appropriate authority. For a public health institution or program, approval must relate to the medical requirements and standards for the professional and technical services of the institution established by the appropriate authority.

“Child care center” means a public or nonprofit facility where educational, social, health, and nutritional services are provided to children through age 14 (or as prescribed by State law) and that is approved or licensed by the State or other appropriate authority as a child day care center or child care center.

“Clinic” means an approved public or nonprofit facility organized and operated for the primary purpose of providing outpatient public health services and includes customary related services such as laboratories and treatment rooms.

“College” means an approved or accredited public or nonprofit institution of higher learning offering organized study courses and credits leading to a baccalaureate or higher degree.

“Conservation” means a program or programs carried out or promoted by a public agency for public purposes involving directly or indirectly the protection, maintenance, development, and restoration of the natural resources of a given political area. These resources include but are not limited to the air, land, forests, water, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, minerals, and animals, fish and other wildlife.

“Drug abuse or alcohol treatment center” means a clinic or medical institution that provides for the diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation of alcoholics or drug addicts. These centers must have on their staffs, or available on a regular visiting basis, qualified professionals in the fields of medicine, psychology, psychiatry, or rehabilitation.

“Economic development” means a program(s) carried out or promoted by a public agency for public purposes to improve the opportunities of a given political area for the establishment or expansion of industrial, commercial, or agricultural plants or facilities and which otherwise assist in the creation of long-term employment opportunities in the area or primarily benefit the unemployed or those with low incomes.

“Education” means a program(s) to develop and promote the training, general knowledge, or academic, technical, and vocational skills and cultural attainments of individuals in a community or given political area. Public educational programs may include public school systems and supporting facilities such as centralized administrative or service facilities.

“Educational institution” means an approved, accredited, or licensed public or nonprofit institution, facility, entity, or organization conducting educational programs or research for educational purposes, such as a child care center, school, college, university, school for the mentally or physically disabled, or an educational radio or television station.

“Educational radio or television station” means a public or nonprofit radio or television station licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and operated exclusively for noncommercial educational purposes.

“Health center” means an approved public or nonprofit facility that provides public health services, including related facilities such as diagnostic and laboratory facilities and clinics.

“Historic light station” means a historic light station as defined under section 308(e)(2) of the National Historic Preservation Act 16 U.S.C. 470w-7(e)(2), including a historic light station conveyed under subsection (b) of that section, notwithstanding the number of hours that the historic light station is open to the public.

“Homeless individual” means:

(1) An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, or who has a primary nighttime residence that is:

(i) A supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);

(ii) An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or

(iii) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

(2) For purposes of this part, the term “homeless individual” does not include any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to an Act of the Congress or a State law.

“Hospital” means an approved or accredited public or nonprofit institution providing public health services primarily for inpatient medical or surgical care of the sick and injured and includes related facilities such as laboratories, outpatient departments, training facilities, and staff offices.

“Library” means a public or nonprofit facility providing library services free to all residents of a community, district, State, or region.

“Licensed” means recognition and approval by the appropriate State or local authority approving institutions or programs in specialized areas. Licensing generally relates to established minimum public standards of safety, sanitation, staffing, and equipment as they relate to the construction, maintenance, and operation of a health or educational facility, rather than to the academic, instructional, or medical standards for these institutions.

“Medical institution” means an approved, accredited, or licensed public or nonprofit institution, facility, or organization whose primary function is the furnishing of public health and medical services to the public or promoting public health through the conduct of research, experiments, training, or demonstrations related to cause, prevention, and methods of diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries. The term includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, clinics, alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers, public health or treatment centers, research and health centers, geriatric centers, laboratories, medical schools, dental schools, nursing schools, and similar institutions. The term does not include institutions primarily engaged in domiciliary care, although a separate medical facility within such a domiciliary institution may qualify as a “medical institution.”

“Museum” means a public or nonprofit institution that is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes and which, using a professional staff, owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits them to the public on a regular basis (at least 1000 hours a year). As used in this part, the term “museum” includes, but is not limited to, the following institutions if they satisfy all other provisions of this definition: Aquariums and zoological parks; botanical gardens and arboretums; nature centers; museums relating to art, history (including historic buildings), natural history, science, and technology; and planetariums. For the purposes of this definition, an institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one fulltime staff member or the equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or public exhibition of objects owned or used by the institution. This definition of “museum” does not include any institution that exhibits objects to the public if the display or use of the objects is only incidental to the primary function of the institution.

“Nationally recognized accrediting agency” means an accrediting agency that the Department of Education recognizes under 34 CFR part 600. (For a list of accrediting agencies, see the Department’s web site at

“Nonprofit” means not organized for profit and exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501).

“Parks and recreation” means a program(s) carried out or promoted by a public agency for public purposes that involve directly or indirectly the acquisition, development, improvement, maintenance, and protection of park and recreational facilities for the residents of a given political area.

“Program for older individuals” means a program conducted by a State or local government agency or nonprofit activity that receives funds appropriated for services or programs for older individuals under the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, under title IV or title XX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), or under titles VIII and X of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2991 et seq.) and the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9901 et seq.).

“Provider of assistance to homeless individuals” means a public agency or a nonprofit institution or organization that operates a program which provides assistance such as food, shelter, or other services to homeless individuals.

“Provider of assistance to impoverished families and individuals” means a public or nonprofit organization whose primary function is to provide money, goods, or services to families or individuals whose annual incomes are below the poverty line (as defined in section 673 of the Community Services Block Grant Act) (42 U.S.C. 9902). Providers include food banks, self-help housing groups, and organizations providing services such as the following: Health care; medical transportation; scholarships and tuition assistance; tutoring and literacy instruction; job training and placement; employment counseling; child care assistance; meals or other nutritional support; clothing distribution; home construction or repairs; utility or rental assistance; and legal counsel.

“Public agency” means any State; political subdivision thereof, including any unit of local government or economic development district; any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including instrumentalities created by compact or other agreement between States or political subdivisions; multijurisdictional substate districts established by or pursuant to State law; or any Indian tribe, band, group, pueblo, or community located on a State reservation.

“Public health” means a program(s) to promote, maintain, and conserve the public’s health by providing health services to individuals and/or by conducting research, investigations, examinations, training, and demonstrations. Public health services may include but are not limited to the control of communicable diseases, immunization, maternal and child health programs, sanitary engineering, sewage treatment and disposal, sanitation inspection and supervision, water purification and distribution, air pollution control, garbage and trash disposal, and the control and elimination of disease-carrying animals and insects.

“Public health institution” means an approved, accredited, or licensed public or nonprofit institution, facility, or organization conducting a public health program(s) such as a hospital, clinic, health center, or medical institution, including research for such programs, the services of which are available to the public.

“Public purpose” means a program(s) carried out by a public agency that is legally authorized in accordance with the laws of the State or political subdivision thereof and for which public funds may be expended. Public purposes include but are not limited to programs such as conservation, economic development, education, parks and recreation, public health, public safety, programs of assistance to the homeless or impoverished, and programs for older individuals.

“Public safety” means a program(s) carried out or promoted by a public agency for public purposes involving, directly or indirectly, the protection, safety, law enforcement activities, and criminal justice system of a given political area. Public safety programs may include, but are not limited to those carried out by:

(1) Public police departments.

(2) Sheriffs’ offices.

(3) The courts.

(4) Penal and correctional institutions (including juvenile facilities).

(5) State and local civil defense organizations.

(6) Fire departments and rescue squads (including volunteer fire departments and rescue squads supported in whole or in part with public funds).

“School (except schools for the mentally or physically disabled)” means a public or nonprofit approved or accredited organizational entity devoted primarily to approved academic, vocational, or professional study and instruction, that operates primarily for educational purposes on a full-time basis for a minimum school year and employs a full-time staff of qualified instructors.

“School for the mentally or physically disabled” means a facility or institution operated primarily to provide specialized instruction to students of limited mental or physical capacity. It must be public or nonprofit and must operate on a full-time basis for the equivalent of a minimum school year prescribed for public school instruction for the mentally or physically disabled, have a staff of qualified instructors, and demonstrate that the facility meets the health and safety standards of the State or local government.

“University” means a public or nonprofit approved or accredited institution for instruction and study in the higher branches of learning and empowered to confer degrees in special departments or colleges.

“Veterans Organizations” means organizations eligible to receive Federal surplus property for purposes of providing services to veterans under 40 U.S.C. 549(c)(3)(C). Eligible veterans organizations are those whose (1) membership comprises substantially veterans (as defined under 38 U.S.C. 101); and (2) representatives are recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under 38 U.S.C. 5902. The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a searchable website of recognized organizations. The address is

Last Reviewed 2017-08-14