As a statewide funding organization that invests millions of public dollars each year, we continue to support organizations and individuals making Colorado’s outdoor spaces more accessible, safe, and welcoming–from Colorado's urban and suburban to mountain and rural communities.
We respect the humanity of all people and are committed to addressing issues of disparity and disproportionality. Historically, some people have been prevented from enjoying the outdoors and underrepresented in outdoor projects. But we know the benefits of conservation and recreation on peoples’ lives to be multifaceted and transformational. They include better quality of life, boosted local economies, opportunities for better health and wellbeing, and stronger relationships and shared identities within communities. That’s why GOCO programs support equitable access to the outdoors and promote community-centered approaches to project development.
We encourage our partners to engage with a diversity of voices in project visioning, planning, and decision-making, especially those from Black, Indigenous, Latine, and racially and ethnically diverse people; those from people across the spectrum of sexual and gender identity; those with disabilities; and those from low-income, urban, and rural communities. And we encourage partners to consider the diverse and complex nature of identities in their definitions of “community.” By including new perspectives and representative voices in conservation and recreation efforts, projects will be more relevant, outdoor resources will better reflect the diversity of unique communities, and outcomes will be more successful.
Learning about equity issues and solutions has required a commitment of our staff’s time and intention. We know that our learning process will continue to change—and change us in the process. We acknowledge that our partners and other stakeholders are on their own paths and might be at different places in their equity journeys. And we look to our partners to help us inform and refine our own approach to best supporting and investing in them and their communities.
Internally here at GOCO, we’re applying equity to our own operations, re-tooling hiring practices, providing education and support opportunities for staff and board members, and creating equity-focused goals across departments. We rely on these equity principles to guide our approach to working with grantee partners and celebrating their work:
Accessibility | We work to remove barriers to ensure equitable access to funding and make grantmaking processes clear and efficient.
Community-Centered Approach | We strive to meet communities where they are. Together with partners, we consider the unique culture and needs of each community in order to fulfill its vision.
Education and Support | We provide partners with resources, training, and shared learning opportunities to support success.
Communications | We communicate with clear, accessible, and inclusive language and lift up the authentic, community-created stories of our partners.
We will help diversify representation of outdoor enthusiasts and proponents in our storytelling, to help support changing the narrative around who enjoys, is connected to, and advances recreation and conservation in Colorado. We will amplify new voices and perspectives in our role as a connector in our state’s great outdoors.
We are committed, for the long term, to advancing equity in our everyday actions, the systems we create for our work, and the opportunities we provide for our partners.
As we continue our journey in supporting and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion values, we welcome your feedback. We’d also like to know how we can best support you in your efforts to make access to the outdoors more equitable.