Youth Corps Grants - Open Space Purpose

Great Outdoors Colorado

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Grant amount: Up to US $250,000

Anticipated deadline: Sep 20, 2019 3:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Colorado

Location of residency: Colorado

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About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary



Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) recently approved up to $500,000 (divided equally between GOCO’s Open Space and Local Government purposes) to be awarded to GOCO-eligible projects in conjunction with the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA). The goal of these funds is to employ youth and young adults (ages 14-25) throughout the state on critical outdoor recreation and land conservation projects using the network of youth corps accredited by CYCA.


CYCA is a statewide coalition of 9 youth conservation corps that employ and train youth and young adults on land, water, and energy conservation projects. Youth corps are a proven strategy for engaging young people in service to their communities and stewardship of their environment while cultivating in them valuable skills to meet the challenges of the 21st century. 

From project planning to completion, it is easy to use a youth corps. Youth corps are highcapacity organizations that are well-prepared; they arrive with the equipment, skills and supervision to succeed. After talking with a potential sponsor, the youth corps will match the right type of crew for the project. 

Youth corps crews complete a variety of projects, including:

  • Trail construction and maintenance
  • Tamarisk, Russian olive, and other invasive species mitigation – chainsaw crews, including pesticide/herbicide application, are available
  • Fence installation and de-construction
  • Wildlife habitat improvement
  • Riparian restoration
  • Beetle kill hazard mitigation – chainsaw crews available
  • Fire Fuels mitigation – chainsaw crews available

Other Considerations

  • Multi-agency collaborations will be considered if the project lends itself to collaboration.
  • Funding match is encouraged but not required. Grantee must provide technical expertise, oversight and occasional supervision, and all materials and specialty equipment.
  • Applicant must work closely with the corps to plan the project.
  • Multiple distinct projects should be submitted using separate applications rather than “bundled” into one large proposal. However, applicants may want to consider “bundling” projects that are in close proximity with similar types of work.
  • If awarded, CYCA will reimburse the youth corps directly for their work. The applicant will not need to have an agreement with the youth corps. The applicant will not receive any direct funding through this grant program.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Only municipalities, counties, other political subdivisions of the state, and  land trusts that own parks or open space properties or that hold conservation easements on either public or private lands may apply.
  • Eligible Properties/project types: 
    • Open Space Purpose/Publicly-Owned Lands
      • The land may be owned by a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state, and must be managed as protected open space.
      • Eligible project types include (but are not limited to construction/maintenance of trails and trail amenities, noxious weed removal, wildlife habitat restoration, and fire mitigation.
      • All work must comply with any conservation easement or other use restriction governing the property and the owner’s policies regarding its public lands.
    • Open Space Purpose/Privately-Owned Lands
      • The land may be owned by a land trust or other private party, so long as the land is permanently protected by a conservation easement or other permanent use restriction.
      • Eligible project types must provide a public benefit and include (but are not limited to) noxious weed removal, wildlife habitat restoration, fire mitigation, or other natural resource protection/stewardship.
      • Construction of trails or other recreational amenities are eligible project types.
      • All work must comply with the conservation easement or other use restriction governing the property
  • Additional Eligibility Criteria
    • Project must be appropriate for youth corps crews (14–25 year olds).
    • Applicant must coordinate closely with the youth corps in advance of submitting a proposal.
    • Applicant must have the capacity to properly host a youth corps crew.
    • Applicant must agree to promote a funded project using social and traditional media
    • Project must be “shovel-ready”: able to be completed in calendar year and have all approvals in place.
    • Project is unlikely to be funded from another source. 
  • Applicants must apply for a minimum of two weeks of youth corps work. One week of work consists of 320 hours of labor (8 people for 40 hours each, for example) inclusive of one-way travel and 4-5 hours per week of on-site education activities for the crew.


  • Projects intended for state or federal lands are ineligible. 
  • Projects intended to benefit only the property’s owner (such as digging ditches or constructing agricultural structures) are not eligible.