This page is designed to provide information about what Coastal Fund will and will not consider in a funding request. For information about Coastal Fund’s application form and process, please see the  Grant Funding page. To check major and minor grant application deadlines, see the Funding Cycles page. We also have a page of Applicant Resources that provides a great deal of information on the logistics of applying to Coastal Fund. Contact coastalfund(at) with any questions.

Funding Guidelines

The Coastal Fund is bound by its mission to connect people and the environment by allocating funds to programs that celebrate, explore, and protect the coastal ecosystems in and around the University of California, Santa Barbara. We fund projects and programs that align with our core values of community, exploration, joy, opportunity, protection and trust. Applicants should demonstrate a strong connection between their proposal, the Coastal Fund mission statement and values, and our local coastal ecosystems.

Who We Fund

Coastal Fund grant applications must be submitted in connection with a UCSB affiliated department, registered non-partisan nonprofit, or government agency. Registered UCSB student organizations may apply to Coastal Fund but cannot receive funding for stipends or student wages and may be subject to additional stipulations based on AS financial policy; student org requesters should email sarahs(at) before applying to verify that their request meets requirements. Unaffiliated individuals cannot apply for funding.

Size of Award

While Coastal Fund does not set a limit on the amount of funding an applicant may request, applicants should note that we typically allocate approximately $200,000  amongst 25-30 approved applications each quarter and most projects funded through our Major Grant program range from $3,000 to $15,000. We often provide partial funding so that we can support more programs.

Geographic Scope

Coastal Fund considers requests for coastal-related projects or programs based in the Santa Barbara region and watershed. We define this as the area between the northern boundary of the Dangermond Preserve and the southern edge of Santa Barbara County, and from the ridgeline of the Santa Ynez mountains to the northern Channel Islands, not including Catalina. We fund UCSB research that uses Sedgwick Reserve as long as the study is applicable to coastal environments and is only being done at Sedgwick due to the ease of access for researchers. We fund terrestrial projects that impact the coastal environment (for example, the protection of creeks that flow to our coast or vegetation restoration that mitigates fire damage and sediment flow) as well as projects at the shoreline, in the channel, and on the northern Channel Islands.

UCSB Student Involvement

Coastal Fund’s budget comes entirely from UCSB student fees and we therefore require projects to have a UCSB student involvement component and/or directly benefit our student population. We encourage students to take the lead on writing and submitting proposals for projects they are leading; while we ask that students list their project advisor, this is to ensure the student has adequate support and mentorship and that the proposal fits within department and campus policies. We do not give extra weight to proposals submitted by faculty members. At the same time, we strongly discourage PIs from pushing undergraduates to be the public face of projects the undergrad is not actually leading due to the perception that doing so will increase the likelihood of approval from Coastal Fund.

We believe that students should be compensated for their time working on funded projects, and we do not fund program models that require students to prove themselves or their commitment by volunteering before they are eligible for a paid position. We want to ensure that as many students as possible have an opportunity to get involved in projects, and we will not penalize funding recipients that need to extend or adjust a project due to selecting an inexperienced student that turned out to not be the right fit.

Those paid as students must be currently enrolled at UCSB or up to one quarter past graduation. Former students that will continue working for more than one quarter past graduation are considered staff and should be listed in the proposed budget as such. Students may be paid via hourly wage or stipend; while Coastal Fund typically prefers an hourly wage, applicants should consult with their department or agency HR director to determine which is best suited for the position. Unfortunately, registered UCSB student organizations cannot receive funding for stipends or student wages; please contact us with questions.

Repeat Funding and Project Overlap

Coastal Fund allows repeat funding for ongoing programs. For ongoing or repeating projects (such as an internship that occurs every quarter), applicants should submit a request once per year rather than requesting smaller amounts of funding each cycle. Applicants may submit more than one proposal per grant cycle and may have more than one grant active at once provided that each is a distinct and separate project or program. If we have a large number of proposals we may prioritize student applicants who have never received funding in the past; we do this in order to give as many students as possible the opportunity and CV-enhancing experience of receiving a funding award.

We do not approve new funding for an ongoing program until the previous Coastal Fund funding allocation for that program is complete, though applicants may apply for funding during the cycle in which they will complete the previously approved grant in order to prevent funding gaps (for example, an applicant who will spend all previously approved funds at the end of June may apply for the spring grant cycle April deadline, because the request will not be reviewed, approved and processed until June). We do not approve additional funds for an active and approved project unless under extreme extenuating circumstances. Please reach out to us via email to discuss options in this situation before applying.

Supplies and Equipment

Coastal Fund accepts funding requests for supplies (items that are consumed during the project, such as lab chemicals, volunteer snacks, or brochures). Equipment (durable items that last beyond the life of the project) needs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Applicants should clearly explain why the requested equipment is necessary for the project and describe the equipment’s use after the project is completed.

Staff Time and Oversight

Coastal Fund accepts funding requests for staff time and especially values staff and researchers that are able to serve as mentors to involved students. Staff funding requests should provide an estimated number of hours or percentage of time required to accomplish project objectives. Staff time may include staff directly overseeing the project as well as administrative staff support and (if applicable) development staff time spent on grant writing and follow up reporting.

Event Funding

Coastal Fund does not provide funding for events through Major or Minor grants. Those looking for event funding should submit a Co-Sponsorship request.


Coastal Fund currently approves funding for up to one year at a time. Because Coastal Fund’s application review process takes one full academic quarter and funds cannot be approved for expenses that have already occurred, applicants seeking funding beginning in summer should apply to our spring grant cycle, those seeking funding for spring should apply in winter, and so on. Coastal Fund does not consider funding requests during summer, so those looking for funding for fall should apply in the spring grant cycle.

Extension Requests

Although most projects finish within the initially proposed timeline, some projects require more time. In these cases, funded recipients may formally request an extension approximately one month prior to the close of their grant. Typically, Coastal Fund is willing to approve project extensions for up to six months after the initially proposed conclusion, with further extensions granted in rare cases. All extensions are evaluated on a case by case basis. 

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