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How to Apply for a Grant

Note: The Honda Marine Science Foundation is not accepting applications at this time. We wish you much success in your search for funding support.


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.

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 that 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.


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.

Honda Marine Science Foundation does not make grants to projects that:

•   Have a direct financial relationship to board members of the foundation or their relatives. The foundation will consult legal counsel if there are questions regarding the applicability of this rule to a particular potential grantee.
•   Require the exercise of expenditure responsibility.
•   Qualify as mitigation projects or programs that are required by a separate federal, state, or locally issued permit, decree, or enforcement action.
•   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.

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 project advances the sato-umi philosophy of harmony between people and nature in the coastal environment.
•   Describe how project increases resilience along coastlines to prepare communities and ecosystems for climate change impact.
•   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
Special consideration may be given to the following types of projects

•   Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Projects that engage experts from multiple disciplines, such as ecological and environmental sciences, engineering, social sciences, and community organizing. This may also include cross-sectoral collaboration between community groups, academic institutions, environmental non-profits, educational institutions, or other unique partnerships.
•   Gap Funding: Projects that have a gap in funding, whether in the beginning stages or at the “last mile” (close to completion but need additional support to conclude in a way that helps inform solutions). This may include: regulatory permitting, model development, event execution, longer-term monitoring, etc.
•   Innovation: Projects that “test” new approaches, such as hybrid natural/artificial solutions, comparisons to evaluate the efficacy of various types of living shorelines, or enhancements to traditional approaches to mitigate coastal erosion and habitat damage (note that the mitigation project itself is not eligible, and that 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.

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.