Ocean Currents

First Wave of Ocean Justice Small Grants

Ocean Conservancy levels up its commitment to equity and justice

jellyfish by ocean surface
© Fabrice Dudenhofer / Ocean Image Bank

It is with great honor that the Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Justice team announces the launch of the first annual Ocean Justice Small Grants (OJSG). OJSG is one of the programs borne out of Ocean Conservancy’s commitment to equity and justice. Our advocacy for the global ocean is grounded in our commitment to ocean justice—which we define as the fair and equitable distribution of both the benefits of the ocean’s bounty and the burdens of its complex care. Because global ocean inequalities take shape in a myriad of ways, our work as an ocean advocacy organization must be thoughtful, agile, intentional; and always oriented toward the polestar of a healthier ocean, protected by a more just world.

Climate change and environmental injustices disproportionately impact marginalized communities. Therefore, we cannot attempt to solve these dual crises without first addressing the systemic social and economic inequalities that affect these communities. In our work on the Ocean Justice team, we seek to center the leadership of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC), and other marginalized identity communities in creating ocean community-based solutions. We are fully investing in our theory of change by applying an intersectional environmental lens to our development of the Ocean Justice Small Grants program.

Through OJSG, we seek to support and uplift the ongoing work of coastal community groups and push the needle forward on their locally led projects. Through our small grants program, Ocean Conservancy hopes to leverage our resources to spotlight and amplify the excellent conservation work of underrepresented frontline communities. And connecting our grantees to Ocean Conservancy’s network, as well as to each other, helps to cultivate a space for these historically overlooked communities to share expertise and create authentic partnerships as they solve climate and ocean issues at the ground level.

With these grants, we are looking to fund projects that sit at the intersection of a multitude of marginalized identities, and also advance our ocean justice mission in five key ways:

  • strengthening coastal communities
  • promoting sustainable fishing and traditional indigenous practices
  • protecting communities’ connections to the ocean
  • advancing ocean innovations
  • developing new ocean leaders

Please note that in this first round of grants we are only accepting applicants from the U.S. and U.S. territories.

Would you or someone you know benefit from an Ocean Justice Small Grant? Contact Mikayla Spencer, Manager of Equitable Ocean Communities, at [email protected] for questions and clarification.

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