Orange County Coastkeeper and the California State Coastal Conservancy have partnered to provide small grants for organizations seeking accessibility equipment.
Orange County Coastkeeper (Coastkeeper) and the California State Coastal Conservancy (the Conservancy) are excited to launch their Beach and Coast Accessibility Program, a new statewide initiative enhancing access to California’s beautiful coastline for individuals with disabilities. The program will provide small grants of up to $30,000 to nonprofit organizations, public entities, and indigenous groups, enabling them to acquire accessibility equipment such as beach wheelchairs (motorized and non-motorized), walkers, mats, and other devices.
The Beach and Coast Accessibility Program addresses the critical need for barrier-free access to the coast, ensuring that all individuals, regardless of mobility challenges, can fully enjoy California’s scenic beaches. By funding the purchase, repair, and promotion of specialty equipment, the program seeks to make coastal recreation inclusive and enjoyable at no cost to the individual.
“We see this program as a catalyst for positive change, promoting not only access but also community engagement and education about the importance of inclusivity in outdoor activities,” said Garry Brown, President and Founder of Orange County Coastkeeper.
Coastkeeper and the Conservancy will issue a request for proposals statewide, inviting applications from eligible organizations to procure accessibility equipment. The grants will not only cover the initial purchase but also ensure that the equipment remains in good repair for a minimum of five years. Recognizing the wear and tear caused by sand, wind, and saltwater, project budgets will incorporate funding for replacement components and, if needed, locked storage facilities.
To track the impact of the program, Coastkeeper and the Conservancy will monitor and document equipment usage, ensuring that the accessibility devices are reaching those in need. Grantees will play a crucial role in disseminating information about equipment availability to their communities to raise awareness and encourage widespread use.
“The Coastal Conservancy works to make sure Californians can enjoy our spectacular coast. The Beach and Coast Accessibility Program provides funding to public agencies, tribes, and nonprofits to expand coastal access for people with disabilities. We are delighted to work with Orange County Coastkeeper to make this funding available up and down the California coast,” said Amy Hutzel, Executive Officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy.
The Beach and Coast Accessibility Program is a testament to Coastkeeper and the Conservancy’s commitment to public access, community engagement, and equitable recreation. By removing barriers to coastal access, this initiative will contribute to a more inclusive and vibrant California coastline.
ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, which supports over 350 different independent programs across 47 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect swimmable, drinkable, fishable water and promote watershed resilience throughout our region. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. Coastkeeper addresses water issues impacting Riverside and San Bernardino counties through our Inland Empire Waterkeeper and Coachella Valley Waterkeeper programs. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA STATE COASTAL CONSERVANCY: The Coastal Conservancy is a California state agency, established in 1976, to protect and improve natural lands and waterways, to help people get to and enjoy the outdoors, and to sustain local economies along California’s coast. The Conservancy is a non-regulatory agency that supports projects to protect coastal resources and increase opportunities for the public to enjoy the coast.