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Explore the River Grants

Grants to California Nonprofits, Tribes, and Public Agencies to
Enhance Public Access to the Local River and its Tributaries

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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California State Coastal Conservancy - Santa Ana River Conservancy Program

Deadline Date:



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Grants to California nonprofit organizations, Tribes, and public agencies in eligible locations to enhance public access to the local river and its tributaries. Priority is given to projects that increase access for underserved communities, including low-income families, immigrant communities, foster youth, people with disabilities, people of color, and others. Funding is intended for programs that facilitate and enhance the public’s opportunities to explore the Santa Ana River and its tributaries.

The Explore the River grant program seeks to provide experiences for people and communities who face challenges or barriers to accessing or enjoying the River (“ETR Priority Communities”).  The ETR grant program will focus on the River and its tributaries excluding the coastal areas.  Organizations interested in grants should apply to the Conservancy’s Explore the River program.

Projects should also meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Provides an enjoyable experience at the River.
  • Reduces economic, physical, operational, or societal barriers to accessing or enjoying the River.
  • Inspires ongoing River stewardship ethic through active learning and interactive activities.

Eligible Projects: Eligible projects include a wide range of programs and activities that will help to bring more people to the River and/or enhance their experience at the River. At least 50% of participants served by the grant must be from communities who face barriers accessing the River. Below are some examples of projects that are eligible and ineligible for funding. This is not an exhaustive list:

  • Recreational, educational, or stewardship programs that encourage access to the River
  • Providing transportation for people from communities who have faced barriers accessing or enjoying the River to take part in recreational, educational, or stewardship programs.
  • Projects that reduce economic, physical, or societal barriers to accessing or enjoying the River.
  • Projects that maximize barrier-free access to the River for persons with disabilities.
  • Festivals, docent programs, or other outreach events to raise public awareness of access opportunities and/or promote recreational uses of the River.
  • Projects that provide overnight experiences for participants.
  • Projects that support volunteer stewardship of Santa Ana River Trail segments or other access points and habitats.
  • Projects that promote the use of public transit to access the River. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 189515

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

There is no minimum grant amount, and the anticipated maximum grant amount is $35,000.

Term of Contract:

Applicants should apply for projects that could start in early 2021 and will be completed by February 2024.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants: Public agencies, tribes, and nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding.
To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of
the Internal Revenue Code.

Ineligible Projects:
-Projects that only include classroom-based programs and/or curriculum.
-Construction of facilities.
-Projects that are solely River clean-ups.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 29, 2020.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Applications must be submitted via email to

Greg Gauthier
State Coastal Conservancy

Megan Cooper
South Coast Program Manager of the Coastal Conservancy
510- 286-4172

State Coastal Conservancy
1515 Clay St, 10th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Santa Ana River

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