Dorrance Marine Conservation Initiative

2023 Request for Proposals

Southern California and Island of Hawaiʻi

The mission of The Dorrance Family Foundation is to improve the quality of life in the community by supporting education and natural resource conservation.


To provide support to high-performing non-profits with demonstrated expertise in improving ocean health through the recovery, restoration, regeneration, and protection of marine habitat and biodiversity.


Marine Habitat and Biodiversity

• Coastal and nearshore ecosystems and the imperiled species they harbor

· Coral reefs, estuaries and bays


  • Island of Hawaiʻi: North Kohala, South Kohala, North Kona, South Kona to Miloliʻi and immediate area
  • Southern California: Mission Bay and immediate area, Buena Vista Creek and immediate area, Channel Islands
  • Programs and projects requesting funding can include communities, watersheds and systems having direct impact on the coral reefs, estuaries, and bays in the identified locations



  1. Must be a public charity and have had tax-exempt 501(c)3 status for a minimum of 3 years. Start-ups are not eligible.
  2. Must be based in the USA.
  3. Only one grant application per organization will be accepted.
  4. Joint and collaborative proposals are accepted.
  5. Government agencies are not eligible to apply directly. Programs and projects that include integration, partnership, and collaboration with state and federal management agencies are acceptable.
  6. Universities and colleges are eligible to apply.
  7. If you are the supporting organization or fiscal sponsor for another entity, you must specify whether you are requesting funding for your organization or the organization you support/sponsor. Your responses must identify and reflect the organization that will be carrying out the proposed work.


The Dorrance Family Foundation will use the following criteria to review and select grantees:

  1. The extent to which the project meets the program goal of The Dorrance Family Foundation.
  2. The extent to which the project supports, protects, enhances or scales the outcomes of currently funded projects in the identified priority areas of coastal and nearshore ecosystems and impacted communities.
  3. Fully completed letter of inquiry. Letters of inquiry that are incomplete or missing required attachments will not be considered.
  4. Grant request does not exceed 30% of the organization’s annual budget.
  5. Organizational capacity, expertise, and credibility of the applicant to achieve the intended the intended outcomes.
  6. Clear, measurable, and identifiable objectives, benchmarks, and timelines that demonstrate the project’s impact.
  7. Access to the work through site visits and site-specific progress reports; locations and habitats where the work is being done.
  8. The extent to which the project:
    • • focuses on species/suite of species
      • is place-based
      • is community-based
      • is tangible
      • incorporates science and cultural expertise
      • is ready-to-proceed with direct interventions (shovel/fin ready)
      • addresses major habitat and ecosystem stressors and threats, and identifies solutions
      • can be scaled up or replicated in the future with additional resources and partners, if applicable
  9. Long-term research only projects are not suggested.
  10. Long-term advocacy projects are not suggested.


Grants MAY NOT be used for the following:

  1. Benefit of specific individuals.
  2. Capital campaigns except for capital needs and/or equipment that significantly and measurably improve organizational or program effectiveness and impact.
  3. General operating expenses (overhead and other administrative costs are acceptable for the program and project for which funding is being requested).
  4. Endowment.
  5. Re-granting to other organizations or individuals.
  6. Activities that promote religious beliefs.
  7. Lobbying – IRS-defined lobbying activities are prohibited by federal law.
  8. Partisan research and analysis and non-permissible policy-related activities.


California: $25,000 – $500,000
Hawaiʻi: $15,000 – $150,000


Submission of a letter of inquiry will only be accepted online. If your organization meets the Request for Proposal guidelines, CLICK HERE TO APPLY  to begin your submission according to the Request for Proposal schedule and deadline. Please note that if you have received a grant from The Dorrance Family Foundation in the past, you may already have an organization account and log-in information. Contact Tennille Williams at with technical questions.


We will ask you to provide information through an initial online letter of inquiry process. Be sure to select “CREATE A NEW LOI” and select “MARINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE”.  Please be specific and concise about the location/s and details of you proposed work. Be sure to hit the “SUBMIT LETTER OF INQUIRY” button to submit your information successfully.


  1. Proof of IRS federal tax-exempt status, 501(c)3.
  2. Operating budget (organizations with multiple branches or chapters must submit a state-specific budget). Supporting organizations must submit an operating budget for the organization for which funding is being requested.
    • Include by percentage primary sources of funding (individual, corporate, government)
    • Include by percentage total annual expenses for operations, admin, fundraising and programs
  3. Project budget that includes a list of other current and prospective funders to the proposed project/program.
  4. Most recently filed 990 and most recently audited financial statement (if available).


Submit your letter of inquiry by clicking the “SUBMIT LETTER OF INQUIRY” button at the end of the online form by 5:00 pm PT, September 15, 2023. Letters of inquiry will only be accepted through our online process.


  1. Letter of Inquiry DueSeptember 15
  2. Site Visits and Final Review Meetings for Grant Determinations – To be determined
  3. Notifications, Grant Agreements, and Awards – November 30
  4. Progress Reports Due –If you are a current grantee, you will receive a separate email by August 15 with the final progress report requirements, to be submitted by September 15 if requested.



Please contact Carrie Ostroski, or 480-290-1961, should you have any questions, and allow for up to two business days for a reply.