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WHALE TAIL Competitive Grants Program

Grants to California Nonprofits, Agencies, and Schools to
Promote Stewardship of Marine and Coastal Resources

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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California Coastal Commission

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

11/09/19 Postmarked


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Grants of up to $12,000 and grants of up to $50,000 to California nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools to teach children and the general public to appreciate and care for marine and coastal resources. Projects supported by this program must serve California residents.

Adopt-A-Beach programs, as well as other beach maintenance and coastal habitat restoration projects that have an educational component, are also eligible for these grants. This grant program focuses on reaching communities that are currently poorly served in terms of marine and coastal education.

The WHALE TAIL Grants Program funds projects that fall into any one of the following three categories: 1) Shoreline cleanup and enhancement programs (such as Adopt-A-Beach); 2) youth education programs; 3) programs for educating the general public. 

Applicants can also request funding under two special subcategories: a) projects addressing climate change as it relates to the ocean or coastline; b) grants for organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 or less, that are working with underserved communities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162520

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Applicants may request any amount up to $50,000, and 25-50% of the funding will be allocated in small grants up to $12,000.

Term of Contract:

Projects may be of any length as long as funding concludes by April 15, 2022.

Because the funds for these grants were appropriated in state fiscal year 2019/2020, which ends on June 30, 2020, proposals must include work tasks that begin before June 30, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be either a non-profit organization, school or school district, or a government entity.

Grants will not be awarded to provide for an organization’s general, ongoing administrative costs, or to fund advocacy work.

Projects funded by WHALE TAIL® Grants must serve audiences in California. Grants cannot be awarded for projects that include religious content in their programming. The WHALE TAIL® Grants Program focuses on education about coastal and marine environment. If a project will take place in an inland area or on a bay, the proposal should address how the project includes coastal and marine educational content, including a description of how the connections between bays or inland areas and the coast and ocean will be emphasized.

Grant funds will be allocated primarily for projects not yet funded by this program, but repeat grants will also be considered.

Funds cannot be used to purchase food, beverages, prizes or cash gifts, insurance, or items that will be sold.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A free webinar will be held on October 3, 2019, at 3:30 pm, as an introduction to completing this grant application. Register for the webinar here:

If you miss the webinar, a recording will be posted at

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline for Applications (must be postmarked by): November 4, 2019. Proposals may not be submitted via fax or e-mail.

Staff will review all proposals and make recommendations to the Coastal Commission, which will vote at its February 2020 meeting (tentative date). Applicants will be notified following the Commission vote, most likely by the end of February 2020.

Applicants are encourage to contact the Commission’s Public Education Program with any questions or to discuss a project idea. Please contact Annie Kohut Frankel or Chris Parry (see details in Contact Information, below).

Also contact the Coastal Commission Public Education staff if you are interested in adopting a beach but do not know how, or if you are interested in starting a new Adopt-A-Beach Program in an area that does not currently have a program. Adopt-A-Beach Managers are designated by the Commission staff to operate the program in a particular geographic area and serve as the liaison with the Commission. Local Adopt-a-Beach Managers have adapted, modified and added to the program to fit their interests and talents.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit complete application packages to:
WHALE TAIL Grants Program
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105

Annie Kohut Frankel
(415) 597-5888

Chris Parry
(415) 904-5208

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California

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