Outdoor Equity Fund

New Mexico

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. Administered by the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, organizations that work with low-income youth can apply to the fund to receive micro-grants to purchase outdoor equipment, cover recreation fees, or pay the cost of driving to the state’s national parks and monuments. 

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 well-developed, 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 non-profit organizations, and half of grants will be awarded in urban areas, 25% in rural and 25% in tribal areas. At current funding levels, grants are capped at $5000, but could grow as the fund increases in size.