Request for Proposals


Request for Proposals: “MPAs Over the Finish Line”

Award Amount:  $50,000.00 – $150,000.00 USD

Award Period/Terms:  6 to 12 months

 – 50% Granted at Inception

 – 50% Granted at Project Half-way Mark, based on performance review

Application Period:  June 17, 2017 – October 1, 2017

Anticipated Grant Inception Date:  January 1, 2018

Qualified Applicants:

 – US 501(c)(3) nonprofits

 – International equivalent non-governmental organizations (NGO)

 – Government agencies interested in applying should contact the Waitt Foundation to discuss NGO “pairing”

 – Applicants may submit up to 3 project proposals, but each proposal must separately follow the instructions below

Application Instructions: Below

Background: The Waitt Foundation takes a hands-on, partnership-oriented approach to grant making. We fund projects and campaigns aimed at ending overfishing, the creation and expansion of marine protected areas, marine spatial planning, and raising public awareness about the rapid decline in ocean health. With a focus on enduring public private partnerships and conservation finance, our principal goal is often to support governments in achieving their own sustainable fisheries and ocean conservation goals.

Request for Proposals: Marine science increasingly demonstrates the value of marine protected areas (MPAs) to support biodiversity, improve fisheries management, and provide other important ecosystem services. Many nations have committed to designating 10% of their waters as marine protected areas with some nations committing to 30% MPAs. To support the designation of MPAs, this RFP aims to identify “shovel ready” MPA projects where 6 to 12 months of additional, targeted funding will result in legally-binding MPAs that have the political and social support necessary for implementation success.

We anticipate that a successful project applicant will be well underway with existing financial support or otherwise have a high likelihood of success. The principal goal of this RFP is to assist in “getting MPAs over the finish line,” generally by providing funding to a key element of an ongoing project (e.g., communications, specialized policy staff, influencing key decision-makers through creative means, etc.). Qualified projects include those seeking new MPA declaration, or expansion of an existing MPA. No-take MPAs are strongly preferred; marine managed areas with substantive and demonstrable extractive protections will also be considered. MPA implementation projects on their own are beyond the scope of this RFP.

Types of activities that this RFP will support include: policymaker partnership and education, targeted outreach, designation processes including government and stakeholder engagement, and legal and policy drafting. This RFP will not support scientific assessment, monitoring, or data collection and analysis, as these activities must have been already completed. The scope of this RFP is not geographically limited, nor is it limited by the potential size of the protected area. Proposals will be evaluated based on public policy feasibility and likelihood of success, a clearly demonstrated understanding and existing usage of the appropriate “policy” or “community” pathway toward legally-binding MPA declaration, ecological and socioeconomic significance, community/constituency buy-in, and likelihood of implementation success including effective mechanisms for management, enforcement, and compliance.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to a) integrate strategic and creative communications into the project work plan, to include new media (earned and paid), traditional media (earned and paid), and/or direct public engagement, and b) demonstrate their ability to leverage key personal relationships for results. Big international NGOs may submit multiple applications for regional offices, but should not exceed three proposals per region.

One month prior to the halfway point in the project, the Waitt Foundation will make a qualitative analysis of the Project’s accomplishments vs. proposed work plan and timeline. At this time, a determination will be made if the second tranche of funding will be released for the project and is in no way guaranteed.

Application Requirements:

 – Document #1: 1-2 Page Narrative (not including maps)

 – Document #2: 1 Page Work plan and Timeline

 – Document #3: 1 Page Detailed and Itemized Budget

Reporting Requirements:

 – One Month Prior to Grant Halfway Point:

        -Document #1:  ½ Page Narrative Project + ½ Page Work plan and Timeline Updates

        -Document #2:   ½ to 1 Page Budget Update

 – One Month After Grant Completion:

        -Document #1:  2-4 Page Narrative Report on Project Outcomes/Lessons Learned

        -Document #2:  1 Page Budget/Spend Report

To Apply:

Please email your application with the above three Documents in PDF format to The Subject Line should read [WF MPA RFP – “Organization Name” – “Your Project Name”]. You will be notified of further interest or funding no later than October 31, 2017. Please, no calls.

Learn More:

To learn more about other grant opportunities from the Waitt Foundation, please visit our “Rapid Ocean Conservation” (ROC) small grants website at To learn more, and to request a platform for scientific expeditions (baseline ecological surveys) please visit Finally, to express interest in a government partnership with the Waitt Institute, please visit