Marisla Foundation: Grants for Marine Conservation

OVERVIEW: Marisla invests human services and the environment. It is based in Laguna Beach, and prioritizes the West Coast. However, it funds both national and international organizations. 

IP TAKE: Marisla largely invests in established organizations like the Nature Conservancy and Oceana. However, it also supports local organizations protecting specific locations. 

PROFILE: The Marisla Foundation, established in 1986, is a private, non-operating charitable organization that functions under three directors and one assistant administrator. It maintains an asset base of about $55 million and has awarded between $35 million and $45 million annually to its environment and human services programs. 

Marisla's environmental program largely supports activities that "promote the conservation of biological diversity and advance sustainable ecosystem management." It emphasizes marine conservation in  western North America, Chile, and the Western Pacific. The program also funds innovative solutions to "health and environmental threats caused by toxic chemicals." 

California receives the glut of Marisla's grantmaking, but the foundation funds organizations across the globe. Past grantees include the Resources Legacy Fund’s work to preserve the state’s oceans and to implement the Marine Life Protection Act. Marisla funds established organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy or the Resources Legacy Fund, which each receive millions annually for their conservation work. However, it also supports smaller organizations, such as the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Oregon to protect the Rogue River, and Friends of the Los Angeles River for local restoration work. Marisla's grants to smaller organizations range from $20,000 to $100,000 if their work takes place across Marisla's areas of geographic focus. That being said, Marisla largely supports U.S.-based organizations. On occasion, Marisla funds international projects. For instance, the Pacific Island country of Palau benefited from a $25,000 Marisla grant to the Palau Conservation Society for its work in the island’s Ngerikiil River watershed. And the Chilean nonprofit Centro Ecoceanos received a $25,000 grant to protect lakes and rivers in Chile. Also, Beto is one of the founders of Oceana, an international marine conservation organization, and Marisla regularly funds this group's work, too.

With a small staff, and concise proposal and reporting requirements, Marisla appreciates a straightforward and concise approach to its marine conservation applications. The foundation only accepts online applications within four two-month windows with deadlines in January, April, July and October. Grant seekers must first take an eligibility quiz and can expect application decisions within four months after the deadline.

The foundation also requests that programmatic inquiries and the like be directed to the foundation's administrator, Margaret Lauer at


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