Explore the Coast Grants

State of California Coastal Conservancy

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Grant amount: Up to US $50,000

Anticipated deadline: Apr 16, 2019

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in California: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Del Norte County, Humboldt County, Los Angeles County Expand all

Location of residency: California

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The Coastal Conservancy is a non-regulatory state agency that works to preserve, improve, and restore public access, natural resources and agricultural lands along the Pacific coast and the San Francisco Bay shoreline and its adjacent counties. The Conservancy’s work complements the work of the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) by undertaking projects and working with public agencies and non-governmental organizations to accomplish these goals.

Increasing public access to California’s coast is a core component of the Conservancy’s work. With the Explore the Coast Program, the Conservancy seeks to support programs that bring people to the coast and/or enhance the visitors’ experience. Explore the Coast grant funding will come from the Coastal Access Account, which comes from fees for permits issued by the California Coastal Commission. 

Grant Program

The purpose of this grant program is to support activities that allow more people to explore California’s spectacular coast, improve the visitor experience or help the public to learn about natural, recreational, cultural and historic resources of the coast. Explore the Coast grants will support a wide range of activities including programs that bring people to the coast, increase stewardship of coastal resources, and provide educational opportunities at the coast. Due to limitations related to the funding source this round is restricted to projects along the outer California Coast. 

Approximately $750,000 will be awarded in this grant round. There is no minimum grant amount; the anticipated maximum grant amount is $50,000. Grantees can expect that projects could start in late 2018 or early 2019 and should be completed by February 2021. 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.

This grant program seeks to fund projects that meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Provides a coastal experience for lower-income or other underserved populations;
  • Increases the number of people visiting the coast;
  • Improves barrier-free access for persons with disabilities;
  • Provides a valuable recreational, environmental, cultural or historic learning experience;
  • Serves a large number of people within the context of the population density of the surrounding area;
  • Increases stewardship of coastal resources; and/or
  • Enhances the public’s coastal experience in a way that does not currently exist.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Applicants:
    • Public agencies, tribes, and certain 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, and its articles of incorporation must demonstrate that the organization’s purposes are consistent with Division 21 of the Public Resources Code, the Coastal Conservancy’s enabling legislation.
  • 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 Projects:
    • Eligible projects include a wide range of programs and activities that will help to bring more people to the coast and/or enhance their experiences.
    • Below are some examples of types of eligible projects; this is not an exhaustive list:
      • Provision of transportation for people that may face challenges getting to or enjoying the coast (such as lower-income people, people with disabilities, ESL communities, students from Title 1 schools or others) to take part in recreational, educational, or stewardship programs. 
      • Programs that maximize barrier-free access to the coast for persons with disabilities, including beach wheelchairs or guided programs. 
      • Festivals, docent programs, or other outreach events to raise public awareness of access opportunities and/or promote recreational uses of the coast.
      • Programs that create opportunities for people to visit the coast for the first time.
      • Programs to support volunteer stewardship of Coastal Trail segments or other coastal access points and habitats. 
      • Programs that promote the use of public transit to access the coast.


  • These grants will not fund construction of facilities.