Grant Focus


The creation of marine reserves provides one of the most important and effective ways to protect the ocean. Research shows that protected ocean areas not only harbor more fish, they harbor older and bigger fish that can produce up to 200 times as many offspring as younger ones. Photo: Ian Shive

Areas of Focus

The Waitt Foundation has made over 2,000 grants totaling over $118 million to non-profit and charitable organizations both at home and abroad. Funding partnerships and projects in conjunction with its grantees and two operating foundations—the Waitt Institute and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention.

Over the years, the foundation has supported a variety of scientific and environmental programs.  Today, the Waitt Foundation is committed to ocean conservation with a specific focus on the establishment of new marine protected areas and sustainable fishing.

Our oceans are vast, but they are not immune to human influence. We have already altered or destroyed many marine ecosystems and driven million-year-old species to the brink of extinction. According to a study published in Science, less than 4 percent of the oceans remain unaffected by human activity. Over a billion people rely on fish and seafood as their main source of protein and hundreds of millions of people depend primarily on fishing for their livelihood.  The oceans provide us with more than $20 trillion annually in ecological goods and services, but the ocean’s health is declining at an alarming rate due to destructive fishing practices, pollution, climate change, and a multitude of other factors.  If we do nothing to help restore the delicate balance needed for a healthy ecosystem, the world’s fisheries will continue to collapse, coastal economies will grind to a halt, and millions of people will go hungry.

Ocean Conservation

Healthy reef structure, PNGThe foundation supports a variety of ocean conservation projects primarily focused on the establishment of new marine protected areas.  By raising global awareness about declining marine resources through scientific research, innovative sustainability solutions, and policy reform, it’s our hope that people will be inspired to make informed decisions in support of a healthy marine environment. From understanding how healthy ocean ecosystems work, to strengthening and expanding the world’s marine protected areas to reducing the seafood footprint, we invest in ocean conservation projects with the potential for significant, measurable impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods.  The Waitt Foundation is currently considering applications specifically related to the expansion or creation of new marine protected areas on a global scale.

Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Small Grants Program

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE                                              The ROC Grants Program is a new initiative recently launched to provide small grants, typically up to $10,000, with a quick turnaround time for solutions to emerging marine conservation issues. Complementing the Waitt Foundation’s major grants program, ROC Grants will serve as an innovative solution catalyst by rapidly responding to urgent needs in ocean conservation with a focus on marine protected areas and sustainable fishing. By funding projects at a lower financial level, we are able to support higher-risk ideas on a global scale. With a core focus on MPA’s and sustainable fishing, ROC Grants will provide funding for projects in the areas of scientific research, policy, management, and communications. Funding by the Waitt Foundation through the ROC Grants Program should constitute the sole or primary source of funding for the proposed project. For more program information, click here.

Considering applying for a grant?  At this time, The Waitt Foundation is accepting proposals specifically related to the establishment of new marine protected areas.

For more information on how to apply for a grant, please visit the “Grantee Requirements” and “Application Process” sections.

The Waitt Foundation has been named among the Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants for Science and Technology, Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants for the Social Sciences and Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants in the San Diego, CA, Metropolitan Area.

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