The application period has now closed.
Please check back around Labor Day 2017 for the next funding cycle.

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. (Applicants might also consider applying to the State Coastal Conservancy’s “Explore the Coast” funding opportunity due on 10/7/16.)

2016 Application & Guidelines Packet

Example of grant resolutions

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper
© Santa Barbara Channelkeeper


A total of $488,150 will be distributed in the 2016/17 grant cycle. Applicants may request any amount up to $50,000, and 25-50% of the funding will be allocated in small grants under $12,000.


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.


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.


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. Since the WHALE TAIL® Grants Program began in 1998, it has awarded $10.9 million to 609 different projects.


Past Grant Recipients
full reports