ROC Grants Program
Small grants for big ocean conservation opportunities…
Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program
a project of the Waitt Foundation
The Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program provides small grants with a quick turnaround time for solutions to emerging conservation issues. This complements the Waitt Foundation’s existing major grants program and is responsive to conservation opportunities, supports higher-risk ideas at a low financial cost, and engages with small, local NGOs domestically and abroad.
ROC Grant Program Focus
Grants will fund projects related to the WF mission of supporting sustainable fishing and marine protected areas (MPAs). This includes sub-themes of:
Scientific Research. Includes natural science or social science projects. For example, collecting baseline data before coastal development or MPA establishment, or studying fishery effects of a natural (e.g. tsunami) or man-made (e.g. oil spill) disaster. As appropriate (e.g., if AUVs/ROVs are involved), project execution could be organized in collaboration with WI.
Policy. Includes opportunistic projects around unique public policy windows, such as preparation of policy analysis and support of experts’ efforts to inform decision makers on upcoming government actions. For example, a cost-benefit analysis of proposed fishing regulations, or travel expenses for a delegation of scientists to educate elected officials.
Management. Includes enforcement and infrastructure support. For example, stop-gap funding to increase enforcement capacity in light of a sudden uptick in illegal dynamite fishing, or training personnel to enforce new regulations about to go into effect.
Communications. Includes raising public awareness and engaging stakeholders, including advertizing by a 501(c)3 group around a public policy moment. For example, a PR blitz (e.g. billboards or radio adds) to educate the public in advance of a vote on an ocean conservation measure, or training local people to become citizen scientists or enforcement tipsters.
Proposals for grants up to $10,000 will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Proposals up to $20,000 will be considered, but granted highly infrequently. Project funds will be distributed with in 2 weeks of funding decisions. More rapid turnaround is possible for highly urgent projects.
- Funding Urgency: how quickly the project needs to begin for maximum effectiveness
- Conservation Impact: magnitude of ecological, socioeconomic, and policy benefit
- Scale of Impact: geographic area and likeliness of applicability/replication elsewhere
- Feasibility of Implementation: based on socioeconomic and political context
- Organizational Capacity: adequacy of staff size and expertise to execute project
Project must support sustainable fishing and/or MPAs as elaborated in the program focus section.
Applicants need not hold advanced degrees, but must demonstrate a commensurate level of experience and expertise with respect to the proposed project.
Applicants must have and maintain legitimate affiliation with an academic institution or NGO for the duration of the grant project.
ROC grants should constitute the sole or primary source of funding for the proposed project, not serve as complementary funding for larger, more costly projects.
Spending of grant funds must commence within 1 month of granting, and be completed within 6.
Funds cannot be used for event sponsorships (e.g. conferences, workshops).
First, please review our grantee requirements.
All applicants must submit a project specific budget for how the Waitt Foundation funds would be used, therefore, please be prepared to attach your budget during the online submission (sample budget). Applications without a budget will not be considered.
We require all grant applications to be submitted via our website. The Waitt Foundation does not accept proposals by e-mail, mail or fax. To submit an application online, click here. Please note that this application is part of a larger two stage system, however, ROC grants applicants are only required to complete the first stage.
Proposal Review Process
Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Programs & Strategy / Waitt Institute
Ayana is a marine biologist with a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has a particular interest in holistic approaches to sustainable management of ocean resources the incorporate ecology, economics, and sociology. Joining the organization in 2012, she spends a majority of her time on the road with the mission to collect, create, curate, actualize, and amplify the best ideas in ocean conservation. Her primary motivation is ensuring sustainable seafood for the approximately 1 billion people in developing countries who depend on the ocean for the their nutrition and livelihoods. She has a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and has worked on ocean policy at NOAA and the EPA. You can find out more about her research on her website, and follow her adventures in ocean conservation on her National Geographic blog.
Recent ROC Grant Awards
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Gleason
Project: Urgent Creation of Haiti’s First MPA in Caracol Bay
Principal Investigator: Ivan Ramirez, MSc
Project: Blast Fishing Awareness and Quick Response Program for the South Pacific Coast of Nicaragua
Mote Marine Laboratory
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Whitney
Project: Fine-scale Behavior and Post-release Recovery in Great White Sharks
Scripps Institution for Oceanography
Principal Investigators: Dr. Brad Erisman / Chris Neighbors
Project: Kia Over There, a documentary highlighting environmental issues facing the Fijian fishing village
University of the West Indies
Principal Investigator: Dr. Suzanne E. Palmer
Project: Rapid Assessment of Marine Ecosystems in the Portland Bight Protected Area of Jamaica to Inform Proposed Development Plans