Explore the Coast Grants


kids playing in the water on the beach

Photo: Viva Verde Education Program

Explore the Coast Grant Program

The Conservancy’s Explore the Coast Grant program encourages all Californians to explore and experience our spectacular coast.

There is no minimum grant size but the maximum grant award is $50,000. If funding is available, the Conservancy will offer these grants every year. Since 2013, the Conservancy has awarded over $6 million in 200 separate grants (updated Fall 2019).

Explore the Coast grants fund a wide range of programs that bring people to the coast. Several projects fund transportation for school groups from inland areas to the ocean or San Francisco Bay, particularly people from underserved communities and those with disabilities who otherwise have fewer opportunities to visit the coast. Many projects provide environmental education about the ocean, coast, and San Francisco Bay to K-12 students, targeting schools in low-income communities. This grant program seeks to fund projects that meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Provides a coastal experience for people that may face challenges getting to or enjoying the coast (such as lower-income people, people with disabilities, English as a Second Language (ESL) communities, students from Title 1 schools or others).
  • Creates opportunities for people to visit the coast for the first time.
  • Provides a valuable recreational, environmental, cultural, or historic learning experience.
  • Increases stewardship of coastal resources.

Advisory Board

The Explore the Coast Grant Program benefits from the guidance of an Advisory Board, which represents the interests and needs of communities served by this grant program.  The Advisory Board counsels Conservancy staff on the application process, review of applications, and ongoing delivery of the Explore the Coast grant program. To learn more about the Advisory Board and its current members, click here.


Funding for Explore the Coast grants comes from the Environmental License Plate Fund, from the Coastal Access Account and other sources.

Programs that teach Californian’s to value the state’s coastal resources or programs that combine education with beach maintenance and habitat restoration projects should also consider applying for a Coastal Commission Whale Tail Grants.


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