(ROC) Small Grants

The Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grants Program is a project of the Waitt Foundation. ROC Grants provide small grants with a quick turnaround time for solutions to emerging conservation issues and ocean protection. 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 on a global scale.


Proposals for grants up to $10,000 will be reviewed on a monthly rolling basis. Proposals up to $15,000 will be considered, but granted highly infrequently. Project funds will be distributed with in 2 weeks of funding decisions, which are made on a monthly rolling basis throughout the year.

The funding cycle is open to new applications.  Proposals are reviewed monthly on a rolling basis, although some application take additional time to evaluate. Please visit the ROC Projects Spotlight page for samples of projects funded. There are no deadlines for submitting an application.


Grants will fund projects related to the Waitt Foundation 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.

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 government action on an ocean conservation measure, or training local people to become citizen scientists or enforcement tipsters.

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 public policy context.

Organizational Capacity – Adequate human capital size and expertise to execute project.

  1. Project must support sustainable fishing and/or MPAs as elaborated in the program focus section.

  2. Applicants need not hold advanced degrees, but must demonstrate a commensurate level of experience and expertise with respect to the proposed project.

  3. Applicants must have and maintain legitimate affiliation with an academic institution or NGO for the duration of the grant project.

  4. 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.

  5. Spending of grant funds must commence within 1 month of granting, and be completed within 6 months.

  6. Funds cannot be used for event sponsorships (e.g. conferences, workshops).

  1. First, please review our Grantee Requirements (including budget sample). For a sample listing of projects funded to date, please visit the ROC Projects Spotlight page or visit the Interactive Map for geographical listings.

  2. 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.  Applications without a budget will not be considered.  Additionally, please be prepared to submit a project timeline and proof of non-profit status.

  3. Due to the nature of this program and level of funding for our small grants initiative, the Waitt Foundation does not allow for indirect costs/administrative fees as part of its award funding policy.

  4. We require all grant applications to be submitted via our website. The Waitt Foundation does not accept proposals by e-mail, mail or fax. 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.


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