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The Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Board (OEGB) is now accepting applications through April 8, 2022 for programs to widen underserved Coloradans’ access to the outdoors.

These grants are intended to help increase outdoor access and support environmental, experiential, outdoor, stewardship, and conservation education for Colorado youth and families; helping to address inequities Coloradans face in accessing the outdoors.

“We are excited to break down barriers and help everyone in Colorado have the opportunity to enjoy our state’s amazing precious places and vast great outdoors,” said Governor Jared Polis. “These important grants will help a diverse generation of Coloradans build real and lasting connections to our beautiful state and I thank the bill sponsors for getting this law to my desk.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Director Dan Prenzlow says the board and the grant program are an important step in the right direction.

“The Colorado Outdoor Equity Board wants to hear from the community about what their needs are,” Prenzlow said. “This first round of applications will inform the development of future grant processes and strategic investments in programs and projects that break down barriers and increase access to the outdoors.”

CPW and the OEGB work to increase access and opportunities for underserved youth and their families to experience the open spaces, state parks, public lands, and outdoor areas Colorado is famous for. Programs and projects applying to for grant funding should strive to be culturally responsive and raise awareness of or seek to address the root causes of the disparities Colorado youth may face when trying to access the outdoors, whether they are from urban or rural communities.

The OEGB was created by House Bill 21-1318 and is composed of representatives of communities that have faced and still face barriers to getting into Colorado’s outdoors. Representative Leslie Herod of Denver, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, is glad to see the grant process begin.

“I am thrilled to see the Outdoor Equity Board come to life,” Herod said. “The members of this board will build the Colorado of our future through strategic investments that improve the lives and well-being of youth and their families.”

Important grant information 

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, tribes, schools, governments, and for-profit businesses. The review of grant proposals will focus on:

  • Organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor recreation, conservation, and environmental education
  • Demonstrated need and commitment to diverse voices and perspectives.

The application process opened March 7 and will continue through 5:00 p.m. on April 8. There will also be an informational question-and-answer session from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on March 17. Applicants will be notified about grant decisions on May 1, 2022, and the award process will begin on May 6, with grants awarded on May 31.

The award total will be $550,000 for this grant cycle, with a maximum grant request of $250,000. Applicants can submit their Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Application here.

For more information about the Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Board, the grant guidelines, or other CPW programs, visit the CPW website.

Featured image: Children looking through binoculars – Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Image courtesy Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Board