The COVID-19 pandemic puts GOCO’s statewide partners in a unique situation. The crisis has disrupted the mission-driven work of organizations that are adapting financially and operationally while continuing to provide services important to the long-term vitality of their communities. Our partners are working to adjust plans and timelines, and many are eager to continue advancing and completing visions and projects already in progress.
To shape objectives of GOCO’s COVID-19 response program, we must first understand specific impacts of the crisis on our partners’ work, including impacts to current projects’ timelines and budgets and plans for future outdoor efforts. GOCO has launched a survey for current grantees and grant-eligible entities, including local governments and nonprofit land trust organizations across Colorado, to complete. If you or your organization would like to participate in the survey and has not received an invitation to do so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOCO’s fiscal year (FY) ’21, which runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, will undoubtedly be one that requires us to put a community-centered approach to work. As a funding partner, GOCO aims to provide a system of support that streamlines funding opportunities, creates efficiencies for partners and staff, and considers new and unprecedented needs.
These new and unprecedented needs are in response to the COVID-19 financial impacts communities are seeing now and forecasting into the future. We at GOCO want to ensure that community priorities advancing our shared values in the outdoors, which may be at risk, are protected. To that end, GOCO is poised to allocate up to $15 million in FY 21 funding towards response efforts. As we continue to listen to our trusted partners, we anticipate that our support will be dedicated towards projects and organizational capacity to support already in-progress conservation and recreational projects. In addition, we are committed to help our network partners imagine ways to contribute to the health and wellbeing of Coloradans in the wake of the crisis, enhance community vitality, and help boost local economies.
GOCO is uniquely positioned to help put people to work in Colorado's outdoors. The GOCO board intends to double down on its youth corps investment, as youth corps programs create jobs by employing young people to complete critically needed and backlogged stewardship work across the state while also providing on-the-job training, life skills, and pathways to education with AmeriCorps grants. GOCO will also provide funding flexibility for Generation Wild coalitions that employ youth program providers and community members so that they may continue to serve their communities with outdoor learning and enriching experiences as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Taking into account our partners’ changing needs and their survey responses, we expect to announce additional details of our COVID-19 response program following a GOCO board meeting on June 11. We will continue to update our blog as details are available.