Seven Santa Fe businesses were among 57 programs awarded $898,337 through the state Outdoor Equity Fund.

The program, which recently completed its second year, is meant to expand outdoor recreation, especially by creating “transformative outdoor experiences” for low-income youth.

Audubon Southwest received $16,945; The Global Warming Express got $19,000; New Mexico School for the Arts, Reunity Resources, YouthWorks and River Source Inc. were each awarded $20,000; and Santa Fe Conservation Trust took in $12,812.

The Outdoor Equity Fund is run by the New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division, which is part of the state Economic Development Department. Last year, the program awarded $261,863 to 25 programs.

Outdoor Recreation Division Director Axie Navas said 2,700 children had outdoor experiences in the equity fund’s first year and as many as 22,000 youth will head outdoors over the next 18 months with this year’s funding.

“With about 3.5 times the funding this year versus last, the Outdoor Equity Fund will reach more than eight times as many youth,” Navas said in a statement.

Private companies such as Wilderness Society, The North Face and REI have given about $86,500 to the fund over the past two years, Economic Development Department spokesman Bruce Krasnow said.

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