Explore the Coast 2023 Grant Round Open!

Kids on the beach

Photo: Watershed Action Program

The California State Coastal Conservancy is pleased to announce the availability of grants to public agencies, federally-recognized tribes and indigenous communities, and nonprofit organizations for programs that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore California’s spectacular coast and San Francisco Bay shoreline through our Explore the Coast grant program.

The ocean, coast, and beaches have long been recognized and used as spaces of joy, relaxation, and healing for many Californians. The ability to experience the coast without fear of physical barriers, feelings of not belonging, or financial challenge is crucial to how individuals cultivate their lifelong connections with the coast. The Explore the Coast grant program seeks to provide enjoyable coastal experiences for people and communities who face challenges or barriers to accessing or enjoying the coast (“ETC Priority Communities”).

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

  • Provide an enjoyable experience at the coast or bay shore.
  • Reduce economic, physical, operational, or societal barriers to accessing or enjoying the coast or bay shore.
  • Inspire ongoing coastal resource stewardship ethic through active learning and interactive activities.

Approximately $1 million is available for this grant round. Applicants may request a grant amount of up to $100,000.

Applicants should apply for projects that could start in late 2023 or early 2024 and aim to be completed by January 2026. 

Eligible Applicants

Public agencies, federally-recognized 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. Other community-based organizations and tribes or indigenous communities that are not federally-recognized may apply with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. PLEASE NOTE: Organizations that have a current Explore the Coast Grant are only eligible if their existing grant will be complete by December 1, 2024. In addition, organizations with a current Explore the Coast grant cannot apply for funding that would overlap their existing grant.

Eligible Project Locations

Projects must involve visiting the coast of California including the shores of bays. The Conservancy is interested in supporting programs that bring participants to the coast from throughout the state, including inland areas.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include a wide range of programs and activities that help to bring people to the coast and/or enhance their experience at the coast. At least 60% of participants served by the grant must be from ETC Priority Communities. Competitive projects will provide participants with joyful and culturally relevant coastal experiences. Other benefits such as ecosystem stewardship and environmental education are secondary benefits and are not necessary for a project to be eligible.

Examples of eligible projects:

  • Providing transportation for ETC priority community members to participate in recreational, educational, or stewardship programs at the coast.
  • Providing coastal experiences such as kayaking, surfing, or sailing for persons with disabilities.
  • Providing beach recreation day trips for participants and their families.
  • Facilitating festivals, docent programs, or other outreach events to promote and increase coastal recreational opportunities for ETC priority community members. Applicants should have a clear plan for engaging ETC priority community members in large-scale festivals open to the public.
  • Providing overnight coastal experiences for participants.
  • Promoting the use of public transit to access the coast.

Application Materials

More information on the 2023 Explore the Coast grant round can be found in the application instructions here.

The application can be downloaded in Microsoft Word here.

You can also access the application in Google Docs by clicking the link here. When the document is opened, go to File > “Make a copy”. You can then freely edit and share the document in Google Docs. When you are ready to submit the application, go to File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx). If you do not have a Microsoft Office license, you can instead download the document as a PDF and send it to the email below.

Application Webinar and Technical Assistance Office Hours

The Conservancy will offer three webinars consisting of one informational session that will review the Explore the Coast Grant Program and address questions regarding the application, and two Technical Assistance “Office Hour” sessions where SCC staff will be available to answer specific grant questions and provide guidance on application preparation. Registration links are below:

Submit completed application as a Word document to grants@scc.ca.gov by Monday, February 27, 2023, by 11:59 pm.

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