Outdoor Equity Fund
Policy Type Legend
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Outdoor Learning in Schools
Early Childhood Education
This fund is created with the premise that access to the outdoors is a basic human right. As part of the 2019 bill that created the New Mexico Office of Outdoor Recreation, an equity fund was created with base funding through the state legislature to be supplemented by contributions from the outdoor industry, private foundations, and individuals. With matching commitments from corporations and foundations, the fund is set to double in size soon after enactment.
Within 2020, its first year, New Mexico’s Outdoor Equity Fund received 84 grant applications, and awarded over $270,000 to 25 applicants across the state, building access for approximately 2,700 kids to spend time outdoors over the next year. FY21 Grants monies awarded ranged from $3,000 to $15,000 to support outdoor recreation and learning programming specifically for individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds across the state of New Mexico. For example, two recipients in 2020 were Latino Outdoors and Global Opportunities Unlimited. New Mexico’s Outdoor Equity Fund has raised about $175,000 in private funding from outdoor brands, foundations, and private donors.
Organizations that work with low-income youth can apply to the fund to receive microgrants to purchase outdoor equipment, cover recreation fees, or pay the cost of driving to the state’s national parks and monuments. Grant applications are reviewed by a 6-person external review team of stakeholders, made up of nominated representatives from organizations, advocates for outdoor learning, and outdoor learning providers. This group approves about 25 grant applications per year and aims to increase the number of programs funded.
Three core elements are taken into consideration regarding applicants: at least 40% of the population served by the applicant must be low income youth, the applicant must have a welldeveloped, written plan to engage low-income youth in outdoor recreation activities, and the applicant must have an educational plan to educate youth about climate and the environment as part of its outdoor recreation program. At least 30% of grants each year must be awarded to nonprofit organizations, and half of grants will be awarded in urban areas, 25% in rural and 25% in tribal areas.
New Mexico created a follow-up law that increases funding for this equity fund to $400,000 a year on an ongoing basis. In FY21, New Mexico’s Outdoor Equity Fund will offer awards ranging from $1,500-$20,000 with a 1:1 match required.
Most Recent Yearly Funding
Continuing or One-time Funding
General Fund, through New Mexico’s Junior Bill Mechanism, Continuing general fund appropriations and special appropriations, philanthropic and business contributions
Path to Enactment