Great Outdoors Colorado
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) is a quasi-governmental trust that was established in 1992 by ballot initiative. The trust receives half of the states lottery income, but this amount is capped at $66.2 million dollars in 2018 and adjusted for inflation each year. 40% of lottery income goes to a conservation trust fund, and 10% to State Parks, while lottery income in excess of $132.4 million in 2018 goes to Building Excellent Schools Today, a program of the Colorado Department of Education intended to build or renovate school buildings. GOCO has an Executive Director and staff, but decisions are directed by 17 citizen board members. These board members are appointed by the governor, confirmed by the legislature, and represent a range of interests, geographies, and political parties.
In 2017, GOCO rolled out the Inspire Initiative, supporting the development of 15 regional coalitions of for-profit, non-profit, and municipal organizations joining together to address structural barriers to youth getting outside in their communities. With an emphasis on supporting collaborative programming between organizations, GOCO has allocated a significant portion of their funding to support these regional coalitions. In its first year, GOCO disperses $13.5 million of grants to these coalitions to support existing and new programming, while during the 2018 fiscal year, $14.1 million in grants were distributed. In its second year, the initiative benefited from $4.1 million in philanthropic foundation contributions. All grant applicants are required to have matching funding, with an intent to use the fund to leverage both in an out of state funding sources and draw additional funding to the sector.
To support this work, GOCO has simultaneously introduced the Generation Wild Initiative, which is a shared branding and communications initiative to build public support and value for outdoor experiences, provide parents with support and ideas and ideas for introducing the children to the outdoors, and make a public case for the importance of outdoor experience. Each Regional Inspire consortium is also a Generation Wild Community.