Two native nonprofits, Southern Ute Tribe obtain cash to assist foster outside recreation – The Durango Herald

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Adaptive Sports Association in Durango and Montezuma Inspire Coalition in Cortez Outdoor Equity Grant Fund recipients

The Montezuma Inspire Coalition, which sponsors outdoor field trips for Montezuma County youth, will receive $70,000 from the Outdoor Equity Grant Fund. (The journal file)

The Outdoor Equity Grant Board recently announced the recipients of a $1.3 million equity grant, and the Adaptive Sports Association of Durango is on the list along with the Montezuma Inspire Coalition and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

The purpose of the grant program is to increase the accessibility of outdoor recreational activities for Coloradans who may not have as easy access to recreational areas.

According to the Colorado General Assembly website, the Outdoor Equity Grant Fund is part of a bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in 2021. Its purpose was to increase access and opportunities for underserved youth and their families to Colorado’s open spaces, state parks, public lots, and other outdoor areas.

Twenty-seven organizations in Colorado will be recipients of the $1.3 million in funds. The Adaptive Sports Association, which provides sports and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities, is set to receive $50,000 of the money. The Montezuma Inspire Coalition, which provides outdoor curriculum to Montezuma County youth, will receive $70,000 and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will receive $10,000.

According to Andrea Kurth, head of the Outdoor Equity Grant program, organizations that submitted grant applications had to provide detailed budgets of how they planned to use the money.

“The Outdoor Equity Grant Board has reviewed applications and has attempted to accommodate requests for funding to the extent possible,” Kurth said in an email to The Durango Herald. “The ÖGB is committed to a fair, just and efficient appraisal process for applications and makes funding recommendations based on a consensus-based process. The OEGB will rely on the collective wisdom of the board members rather than devolving power or authority to individual reviewers.”

The grant program will focus on funding organizations focused on serving Colorado’s underprivileged and disabled populations, as well as organizations concerned with environmental conservation.

“The program focus should aim to address one or more of the following issues: the racial injustices faced by Coloradans in accessing nature, improving environmental justice, accessibility to nature for Coloradans from marginalized communities, including LBGTQ+, the disability community and/or Native Americans and indigenous peoples,” Kurth said. “They should raise awareness and/or attempt to address the root cause of the inequalities of Colorado youth in trying to access nature. Our goal is to build the Colorado of our future through strategic investments that improve the lives and well-being of youth and their families.”

This year’s recipients are the second round of applicants to receive funds from the program championed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and sponsored by Colorado House Democrats.

“Adaptive sports and educational experiences help introduce more Coloradans to the great outdoors,” Colorado Rep. Barbara McLachlan said in a press release. “I am pleased that the Adaptive Sports Association, the Montezuma Inspire Coalition and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, among others, are receiving an Outdoor Equity Grant. Breaking down barriers to access nature will help nurture a new generation of Coloradans who can enjoy, explore, respect and protect our public lands.”

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