Explore the Coast Grants

State of California Coastal Conservancy

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Grant amount: Up to US $50,000

Anticipated deadline: Apr 8, 2020

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in California: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Del Norte County, Humboldt County, Los Angeles County Show 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 undertakes projects and works 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 visitor experiences. 

Grant Program

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 the Coast.” The purpose of this grant program is to help more people to explore California’s spectacular coast. Explore the Coast seeks to increase recreational, educational, or stewardship opportunities particularly for people and communities that may face challenges getting to or enjoying the coast. 

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.

Approximately $800,000 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 2019 or early 2020 and should be completed by February 2022. 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.

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.
      • To be consistent with Division 21, the organization's purposes must explicitly include the protection of natural resources, wildlife, habitat, the environment, the coast, environmental education, public access to nature or the coast, conservation of a particular area, climate change, or other language along these lines.
  • 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 that provide overnight coastal experience for participants. The Conservancy may have additional funds this year specifically for overnight programs. 
      • 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.


  • The Explore the Coast grants will not fund construction of new facilities.
    • However, through other grant programs, the Conservancy has funded the construction of hundreds of projects to build new trails, trailheads and other amenities (beach stairways, bathrooms, overlooks, etc.).