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How to Apply for a Grant


Honda created the Honda Marine Science Foundation based on the idea that humans can and should have a mutually beneficial relationship with coastal ecosystems. This idea is known as “sato-umi”. In Japanese, “sato” means the area where people live, and “umi” means the sea. Sato-umi is a coastal area where biological productivity and biodiversity thrive due to human interaction.


Eligible Organizations: public charities described in section 509(a)(1) or section 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or Type I, Type II or functionally integrated Type III supporting organizations.

To streamline grantmaking and ensure that the foundation does not run afoul of the prohibition against self-dealing, grants will not be given to organizations with which board members of the foundation or their relatives have a direct financial relationship. The foundation will consult legal counsel if there are questions regarding the applicability of this rule to a particular potential grantee. In addition, Honda Marine Science Foundation does not make grants that require the exercise of expenditure responsibility.

Honda Marine Science Foundation is unable to fund mitigation projects or programs that are required by a separate federal, state, or locally issued permit, decree, or enforcement action.

Honda Marine Science Foundation does not provide support to organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, age, religion, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran or military status, marital status, family status, genetic information, or any other status protected by law.

Only one project per organization and/or research team/individual will be considered for each grant cycle.

Geographic Scope

Currently, priority is given to coastal regions in Washington, Oregon, California, and/or Hawaii.

Funding Priority: Living Shorelines

HMSF considers projects that advance the understanding and/or implementation of living shorelines, which are natural approaches to protecting coastal habitats and communities (“community” is interpreted broadly beyond strictly geographical parameters). Living shorelines promote harmonious interaction between humans and the ocean. They also provide habitat value, enhance coastal resilience, and boost ecosystem services. Projects must integrate the sato-umi philosophy of prolonged human interaction.

About the Grants

The Honda Marine Science Foundation will select an estimated 4-6 grantees per year. With an estimated $400,000 available in grant funds annually, grant amounts may range from $25,000-$100,000.

Grantmaking Process

This is a two-stage process. First, a Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted. Potential applicants will be selected and notified. Second, a full application must be submitted for review.

1. Letter of Intent: The deadline for LOI submission is October 1. Selected applicants will be notified by December 1.
•   Length: not to exceed 3 pages including attachments.
•   Format: Times New Roman size 12 font, double-spaced with 1 inch margins. Submissions must be in PDF format.
•   Content:
•   Executive Summary (including organization's name, EIN, and tax-exempt classification)
•   Statement of Need
•   Purpose of Project
•   Broader Impacts
•   Timeline
•   Budget Justification
•   Credentials 
•   Conclusion 
•   LOIs that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.
•  To apply, send the Letter of Intent to: by midnight PST on October 1.

2. Application: Selected applicants will be invited to submit full applications by January 15. Instructions for submitting applications will be provided at that time. Grantees will be notified of the Board’s decision on March 1.

Grantmaking Criteria:

The below criteria are provided as guidance for organizations interested in submitting a Letter of Intent. Successful LOIs will clearly and concisely explain how the projects address these points.

Purpose of Project
•   Demonstrate how the sato-umi philosophy of harmony between people and nature in the coastal environment is advanced by the project
•   Describe how project increases resilience along coastlines to prepare communities and ecosystems for climate change impacts
•   Clearly explain the intended outcome of the project

Broader Impacts
•   Describe how project increases awareness about threats to coastal habitats and communities, and the role living shorelines play in addressing these threats, through education, research, and/or engagement efforts
•   Illustrate how project ignites transformational change through innovation, replicable project methodology, interdisciplinary efforts, and/or public policy development

•   Project timeline up to 2 years
•   Ability to serve as a model for or inform future projects or programs

Special Considerations
•   Gap Funding: Special consideration may be given to projects that have a gap in funding or are at the “last mile”, such as projects that are close to completion but need additional support to conclude in a way that helps inform solutions and meaningful advancement of sato-umi and living shorelines, such as developing a model, or conducting an event, translating scientific findings for practical implementation, etc.
•   Shovel-Ready: Special consideration may be given to projects where the design and permits are in place and the project just needs the funds to get started and do the project.
•   Mitigation: Although mitigation projects will not be considered, special consideration may be given to explore a living shorelines-based “experiment” associated with a mitigation project to enhance its conservation value that would require additional funds. The learnings must be shared with the mitigation authority.

In addition to the above criteria, projects should achieve one or more of the following:

•   Create hands-on conservation activities for the public, inside and outside the local community.
•   Enhance economic benefits to the local community.
•   Facilitate an experiential activity in the conservation area for the public.
•   Integrate historical information and story-telling into the conservation process and public experience.
•   Engage interdisciplinary partners to maximize project benefits.

Managing and Use of Grant Funds
No more than 10% of Honda Marine Science Foundation grant funds may be used for overhead or administration.

Additional Considerations
Intellectual Property: The Honda Marine Science Foundation aims to maximize the benefits of grant-funded projects. The Foundation encourages sharing resources and seeks to avoid duplicitous efforts in the broader marine science community. Thus, grantees are expected to use the funds in ways that contribute to broader, long-term objectives. 

Grant Agreement: Selected grantees must sign and return the HMSF Grant Agreement before funds can be disbursed. HMSF does not accept material changes to the HMSF Grant Agreement. 

Photos and Media: Selected grantees must provide high-resolution photos of the project depicting the site, restoration, or other implementation efforts, as described in the HMSF Grant Agreement.