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Help support more WHALE TAIL® Grants by donating to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund at the bottom of your California State Tax Form!

Children tidepooling in Mattole

The 2015/16 grantmaking cycle has closed. The next round of funding will be announced around Labor Day 2016.

Introduction: The WHALE TAIL® grants support programs that teach California's children and the general public to value and take action to improve the health of the state's marine and coastal resources. 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 grants program focuses on reaching communities that are currently poorly served in terms of marine and coastal education.

Available Funding: A total of $399,000 will be distributed in the 2015/16 grant cycle. Applicants may request any amount up to $50,000, and 25-50% of the funding will be allocated in small grants under $10,000.

Categories of Grants: The WHALE TAIL® Grants Program funds projects that fall into any one of the following three categories: 1) Adopt-A-Beach®programs; 2) Youth programs; 3) Programs for the general public. In addition, applicants may request funding under a subcategory for projects addressing climate change and/or ocean acidification.

Eligibility: Applicants must be either a non-profit organization, a school, or a governmental entity. For beach operation and maintenance projects, the applicant must be a non-profit organization or local governmental agency. For proposals in the Adopt-A-Beach® category, both current and new Adopt-A-Beach® managers are eligible to apply.

Background: This program distributes funds from sales of the WHALE TAIL® Coastal Protection License Plate and from donations to the "Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund" listed on the California state tax form. The WHALE TAIL® License Plate is an official "specialty" license plate issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Proceeds from the sales of the plates benefit the California Coastal Commission's Adopt-A-Beach® Program, California Coastal Cleanup Day and a wide variety of coastal and marine education projects throughout the state. The "Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund" is one of the "tax check-off" funds listed on the California state tax form, offering taxpayers the option to provide voluntary donations of any amount. Proceeds from contributions to this fund specifically benefit the WHALE TAIL® Grants Program.

Past Grant Recipients (full reports): 2014/2015, 2013/2014, 2012/2013, 2011/2012, 2010/2011, 2009/2010, 2008/2009, 2007/2008, 2006/2007, 2005/2006

in MS Word or in PDF .

See also the examples of grant resolutions giving permission
to apply for a grant.

If you have any questions or need more information, you may

  • e-mail us at,
  • call us at (800) COAST 4U (800-262-7848),
  • or write to us at:

    WHALE TAIL®   Grants Program
    California Coastal Commission
    45 Fremont St., Suite 2000
    San Francisco, CA 94105

Map of all WHALE TAIL® Grant Recipients Since 1998

Map of Whale Tail Grants
Click here to access interactive map.
Click on markers to view project descriptions, and scroll through pages of our list of grantees.