Here are a few common questions about the grant program. Read the WHALE TAIL® Grant guidelines and application for full details.

  • Who can receive a grant?
    Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, projects of a non-profit fiscal sponsor, public schools or districts (including colleges and universities), government entities, Federally Recognized Tribes and other California Native American Tribes as defined by Governor's Executive Order B-10-11.
  • What are these grants for?
    WHALE TAIL® Grants are for projects that focus on coastal and ocean education and stewardship. Projects can take place anywhere in California; you don't have to go to the ocean (although many projects do). Projects that take place away from the ocean should address how the connection to the coast and ocean will be emphasized. Climate change-related projects are eligible, as are projects that engage people in protecting and conserving the coast and ocean through beach cleanups, ecological restoration, or otherwise.
  • Who should I engage with my project?
    Projects can engage California youth, adults, or general public. WHALE TAIL® Grants focus on reaching communities in California that have historically received fewer marine education and stewardship opportunities. We strongly encourage applicant organizations based in and composed of the communities they are engaging.
  • How much are the grants?
    The maximum grant is $50,000. There's no minimum grant amount. At least 25% of the grants recommended will be for amounts of $20,000 or less. Approximately $2,000,000 will be distributed in this grant cycle.
  • Does this grant require matching funds?
  • When is the application deadline?
    5pm on November 6, 2023.
  • How do I submit my application?
    You have three options: by email, by uploading to a Dropbox folder, or by postal mail. For email, send your proposal as an attachment to by 5:00pm California time on November 6, 2023. If you prefer to upload, submit your proposal to the Dropbox folder by 5:00pm California time on November 6, 2023. For postal mail, your package must be postmarked no later than November 6, 2023. See the guidelines and application for the mailing address and more information.

    Do not submit your proposal as a link to a cloud document, and do not zip your files. The maximum attachment size for our email system is 30 Mb. If your grant proposal is saved as a PDF, you can use the "Reduce File Size" tool under the "File" menu to reduce your file size. You are also welcome to send attachments in separate emails. If you have files that are larger than 30 MB, consider using the Dropbox upload option.
  • When do I find out if I got a grant?
    We'll notify applicants of the results by the end of February 2024.
  • When would I get the money?
    WHALE TAIL® Grants are reimbursement grants, which means that you will invoice us for work already done or purchases already made. Grant project tasks must start between March 20 and June 30, 2024, and can finish any time before April 15, 2026. You can invoice as often as once per month for reimbursement, and the State may take up to 45 days to issue checks. DO NOT begin work on your project until you have a signed grant agreement with the Coastal Commission because we can only reimburse for work that occurs as part of a signed agreement.
  • Are there restrictions on what this grant can pay for?
    Yes. Grants will not be awarded to provide for an organization's general, ongoing administrative costs; to fund political advocacy work; for projects that include religious content in their programming; for travel outside of California; or for the purchase of vehicles, insurance, prizes, incentives, gift cards, cash gifts, or items that will be sold.
  • What requirements will be placed on me if I receive a grant?
    You must agree to recognize the California Coastal Commission's WHALE TAIL® Grant as the project funder and place our funding credit logo on any printed or online content produced for the project. You must maintain complete accounting and time records and invoice us accurately. You must submit a written final report at the completion of your project detailing what you accomplished and who you engaged. Depending on the length of your grant project, you may be asked to submit one or more brief progress reports in writing or by phone. Read through the WHALE TAIL® Grant guidelines for more information.
  • Who do I contact for questions?
    Annie Kohut Frankel, Grants and Education Programs Manager, at