Explore the Coast Grant Applications Due Monday, April 20, 2020

The California State Coastal Conservancy (Conservancy) announces the availability of grants to public agencies, tribes and nonprofit organizations for programs that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore California’s spectacular coast. The ocean, coast, and beaches have long been recognized and used as spaces of joy, relaxation, and healing. The Explore the Coast grant program seeks to provide coastal experiences for people and communities who face challenges or barriers to accessing or enjoying the coast (“ETC Priority Communities”).

2020 Grant Award Expected Timeline

  • (completed) SCC review of applications – May 2020
  • (completed) Advisory Board review of application – June-July 2020
  • Advisory Board meeting – August 2020
  • Final Decisions – September 2020
  • SCC staff prepare project recommendation – September-October  2020
  • SCC Board approval – November 19, 2020
  • Selected grantees in contract with the Coastal Conservancy (project-specific) – likely December 2020 – Spring 2021


ETC Priority Communities may include but are not limited to lower-income individuals and households, people with disabilities, people of color, immigrant communities, foster youth, and others.

Projects should also meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Provides an enjoyable experience at the coast.
  • Reduces economic, physical, operational, or societal barriers to accessing or enjoying the coast.
  • Inspires ongoing coastal resource stewardship ethic through active learning and interactive activities.

Approximately $1.4 million will be awarded in this grant round. There is no minimum grant amount, and the anticipated maximum grant amount is $50,000. Applicants should apply for projects that could start in late 2020 or early 2021 and will be completed by February 2023. The Conservancy will base the size of the award on each project’s needs, its overall benefits, and on the extent of competing demands for funds. Applications must be submitted via email to grants@scc.ca.gov by Monday, March 30, 2020 April 20, 2020 (more information below).


Recording from our webinar, held Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 11 am – 12 pm can be found here.


Eligible Applicants:  Public agencies, tribes, and nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding. To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Eligible Project Locations:  Projects must involve visiting the coast of California or the shore of San Francisco Bay. The Conservancy is very interested in supporting programs that bring participants to the coast from throughout the state.

Eligible ProjectsEligible projects include a wide range of programs and activities that will help to bring more people to the coast and/or enhance their experience at the coast. At least 50% of participants served by the grant must be from communities who face barriers accessing the coast. Below are some examples of projects that are eligible and ineligible for funding. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Providing transportation for people from communities who have faced barriers accessing or enjoying the coast to take part in recreational, educational, or stewardship programs.
  • Projects that reduce economic, physical, or societal barriers to accessing or enjoying the coast.
  • Projects that maximize barrier-free access to the coast for persons with disabilities.
  • Festivals, docent programs, or other outreach events to raise public awareness of access opportunities and/or promote recreational uses of the coast.
  • Projects that provide overnight coastal experiences for participants.
  • Projects that support volunteer stewardship of Coastal Trail segments or other coastal access points and habitats.
  • Projects that promote the use of public transit to access the coast.

Ineligible Projects:

  • Projects that only include classroom-based programs and/or curriculum.
  • Construction of facilities.
  • Projects that are solely beach clean-ups.

Regional Contacts

Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their projects with Conservancy managers prior to submitting applications. Please use this linked map as a quick reference for which regional manager to contact. Questions about the application process and potential projects may be directed to:

  • Karyn Gear, North Coast Program Manager, 510-286-4171, karyn.gear@scc.ca.gov
    • Region 1, North Coast (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma)
    • Region 2, Far North (Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity)
  • Moira McEnespy, San Francisco Bay Area Program Manager, 510-286-0317, moira.mcenespy@scc.ca.gov
    • Region 3, Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano)
    • Region 4, Sacramento & Sierras (Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba)
  • Trish Chapman, Central Coast Program Manager, 510-286-0749, trish.chapman@scc.ca.gov
    • Region 5, Central Coast (Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara)
    • Region 6, San Joaquin Valley (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare)
  • Megan Cooper, South Coast Program Manager, 510- 286-4172,  megan.cooper@scc.ca.gov
    • Region 7, South Coast (Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego)
    • Region 8, Inland Southern California and Deserts (Imperial, Inyo, Riverside, San Bernardino)

Application Submittal

The Explore the Coast grant application is linked here. Applications must be submitted as a word document via email to grants@scc.ca.gov by Monday, March 30, 2020 April 20, 2020.  Applicants are welcome, but not required, to attach a small number of relevant photos (preferably as jpgs) and maps (as jpgs or pdfs); these attachments should not exceed 10MB total. Relevant photos and maps should demonstrate the location, context, and proposed outcomes of the project.

Helpful Resources

The following resources may be helpful while preparing your grant application:


Please be aware that all documents submitted to the Conservancy become public documents.  The Conservancy will assume that submitted photos are permissible for use by the Conservancy unless the applicant clarifies otherwise.

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