In 2019, Restore America’s Estuaries updated its strategic plan to include a new core pillar explicitly focused on the need to change and expand how estuary and coastal conservation is practiced: We aim to engage a broader, more inclusive community to increase the scale of our efforts and achieve big wins that lead to healthy and resilient bays and estuaries.
To achieve this vision, RAE has launched the Inclusive Coasts Initiative, with the help of the National Science Foundation, to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) in grantmaking, project design and implementation in the coastal sector.
In RAE’s work as a grant facilitator, stakeholder convener, and project implementer, we have become acutely aware of the benefit of DEIJ-focused approaches to coastal restoration. Likewise, other organizations in the coastal conservation community have expressed the urgent need for a greater DEIJ emphasis in grantmaking and project implementation. As one of the leading organizations in estuary protection and restoration, RAE believes it can play a part in addressing these issues and is an effort RAE is well suited to undertake.
We hope this initiative will lead to improved access to grant funding, a broader reach of grant programs, and promote inclusivity in project implementation with the ultimate goal to advance a just distribution of resources and access that benefits all members of coastal communities.
Amongst other objectives, the Inclusive Coasts Initiative will produce two workshop series – one for grantmakers and one for project implementers – designed to target the four areas within the DEIJ acronym for grantmaking and project implementation processes. Additionally, a cross sectoral working group will guide and contribute to the creation of the material, with the ultimate curricula being designed by an expert in DEIJ grant issues. RAE will also collaborate with the working group, consultant, and workshop participants to produce best practice guidance and tactical management plans for grantmakers and project implementers – all of which will be made available to the public.
If you’d like more information about how to participate in this initiative, complete the survey below: