Call for Applications to Serve on the California State Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast Advisory Board

***Application Due January 22, 2021***



California’s ocean, coast, and beaches have long been recognized and used as spaces of joy, relaxation, and healing. The State Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast (ETC) 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”). ETC Priority Communities include lower-income individuals and households, people with disabilities, people of color, immigrant communities, foster youth, and others. Over the past seven years, this program has distributed over $6.4 million through nearly 218 ETC grants throughout California to connect more people to state’s spectacular coast. Through these grants, tens of thousands of Californians have been able to experience the coast, often for the first time.

Kids at the beach

Photo: Viva Verde

The Advisory Board

To better achieve ETC program’s goals, the Conservancy created an Explore the Coast Advisory board. Our goal is that through the ETC Advisory Board, we will improve the ETC grant program by harnessing diverse stakeholders’ insights and experience and will share decision-making power with the communities served by the program. The Advisory Board began in 2019, and we are soliciting applications for new Advisory Board members that would serve at least one two-year term. Advisory Board members are invited, but not required, to serve for two terms in a row (total of four years).

Each year, the Coastal Conservancy allocates hundreds of thousands of dollars to programs that connect ETC Priority Communities to the coast.  Our aim is to equitably distribute this funding and maximize the impact of every dollar spent.  To better achieve these goals, the ETC Advisory Board advises Conservancy staff on the application process, review of applications, and ongoing administration of the grant program.

The work of the Advisory Board includes the following:

  • Reviewing ETC grant applications, and providing guidance on project selection
  • Providing recommendations on how Coastal Conservancy staff can better communicate future Explore the Coast grant opportunities to a broader audience, and provide technical assistance for applicants
  • Reviewing and commenting on the grant materials and selection criteria for future grant rounds to help the ETC program better achieve its goals.

Time Commitment

We are asking Advisory Board Members to commit to at least one two-year term on the board. Each year, the level of commitment over the course of the year is roughly as follows:

  • Participate in three 2-hour planning phone calls (including an initial orientation call)
  • Spend approximately 10 hours of personal time reviewing grant applications prior to the review meeting
  • Participate in-person at a full day application review and program assessment meeting. While in-person participation is preferred, if an advisory board member cannot participate in person, arrangements will be made for them to participate by phone or zoom.


The Coastal Conservancy will reimburse travel costs* to attend the application review meeting. The Coastal Conservancy will offer an annual stipend of $350 to Advisory Board members who need financial assistance to participate.


To avoid a conflict of interest, Advisory Board members cannot be employees or board members of current or prospective Explore the Coast grant recipient organizations. Advisory Board members that have another form of close relationship with an ETC grantee will be asked to recuse themselves from discussion of that organization’s application(s).

Desired Qualifications

Coastal Conservancy staff seek Advisory Board members from across California who reflect the state’s diversity (including racial, ethnic, income, gender, language, and physical ability diversity), and with expertise in the following areas:

  • Designing and implementing culturally relevant programming for populations that may face barriers to accessing the coast (including communities of color, Native American communities, low-income communities, or persons with physical disabilities)
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Environmental education or youth leadership programs
  • Environmental equity
  • Community engagement
  • Monitoring and evaluation of non-profit programming

To Apply:

If interested, please fill out this linked application by January 22, 2021. Please be aware that your submittal will be a public record subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.

If you have questions about the ETC Advisory Board and would like more information to help you decide whether to apply, please contact Avra Heller, Project Specialist, at



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