The Marine Debris Grant Program – grants of up to $30,000 across the world to address the problem of marine debris through diverse partnerships, initiatives, and creative solutions (application deadline: 31 August 2023)

California-based the Marine Debris Foundation (MDF) has recently launched the first round of its Marine Debris Grant Program to address the problem of marine debris through diverse partnerships, initiatives, and creative solutions.

The Marine Debris Foundation awards grants in the United States of America and internationally. The MDF understands that many localities and communities are disproportionately impacted by the plastic crisis and, thus, projects in these areas will be given priority. Internationally, the MDF will emphasize funding in the Global South–defined as countries or regions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania that are low or middle income and historically marginalised.

The MDF awards grants annually during a call-for-proposal process, with grant periods ranging from 12 to 24 months; multi-year grants will also be considered. 

For this open call, grants will be given for up to $30,000 (£23,515) per award.

The MDF provides both project-specific and general operating grant funding to eligible organizations. However, the MDF does not provide funding for large capital or infrastructure projects or endowments.

The Marine Debris Foundation prioritizes grant making to eliminate marine debris and plastic pollution, and to augment the efforts and impact of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. As such, any proposed project should fit into one or more of the following marine debris/plastic pollution focal areas:

o Reduction.
o Prevention.
o Removal, and
o Assessment

Priority/Strong consideration will be given to:

o Replicable and scalable models across different geographies.
o Cost-reducing technologies and best practice solutions.
o Community-led initiatives, particularly from frontline communities.
o Collaboration with existing organizations and a high level of stakeholder engagement.
o Initiatives with strong community engagement and informed by behavioural change science
o Organisations with strong diversity and/or headed by Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Colour (BIPOC) leaders, and
o Projects that advance Environmental Justice

Eligibility Criteria

o Any U.S. or international charity, non-profit organization, state, municipality, city, town, or indigenous community working on issues pertaining to marine debris reduction, prevention, removal, or assessment is encouraged to apply. Organizations and/or communities disproportionately affected by environmental injustices as a result of plastics production, pollution, and/or marine debris are also encouraged to apply.
o The MDF grant funding prioritizes initiatives led by nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations or the equivalent; however, other nonprofit or charitable organizations (including international charities) are eligible for funding if their proposed initiatives fit within at least one of the strategic focal areas. 
o For-profit organizations, while not prioritized, are eligible for funding for projects that fit with at least one of the strategic focal areas or offer great potential for positive impact. For-profit entities are encouraged to collaborate with one or more non-profits to maximize impact.

Funding is not available for:

o Lobbying.
o Litigation, or
o Legally mandated mitigation projects.

The deadline for applications is Thursday 31st August 2023.

For further information, please visit the Marine Debris Foundation (MDF) website.