(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.

Please send any questions about ROC Grants to

Please read through this entire page before submitting an application.

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

  2. Project duration is 6 months.

  3. Applicants must demonstrate a commensurate level of experience and expertise with respect to the proposed project.

  4. Applicants must maintain affiliation with an academic institution or NGO for the duration of the grant project.

  5. 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.

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

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.


Proposals for grants up to $20,000 will be reviewed on a monthly rolling basis. Project funds will be distributed within 2 weeks of funding decisions.

Proposals are reviewed monthly on a rolling basis, although some applications may take additional time to evaluate. 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. 

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.

Management – Includes enforcement and infrastructure support.

Communications – Includes raising public awareness and engaging stakeholders, including advertising by a 501(c)3 group around a public policy moment. 

  1. Please review our Grantee criteria on this page (including budget sample). For a sample listing of projects funded to date, please visit the ROC Projects Spotlight page.

  2. All applicants must submit a budget for how grant funds would be used as part of 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, the Waitt Foundation does not allow for indirect costs/administrative fees.

  4. We require all grant applications to be submitted via our website. The Waitt Foundation does not accept proposals by email, 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.


An automatic email will be sent when your application is submitted. Please check your spam folder to ensure you have received it.

Please read through this entire page and visit our ROC Grants FAQ page before submitting an application or question.

Please send any questions about ROC Grants to


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La Jolla, California | |  (858) 551-4443

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