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We are dedicated to protecting the ocean by facilitating education, conservation, and scientific research opportunities to multicultural youth and their communities. We increase students' understanding of the importance of the ocean in their lives, awareness of ocean-related threats, and the adoption of environmentally friendly practices so that we all contribute to ocean protection. We also strive to motivate diverse youth to pursue science, technology or engineering careers that relate to the ocean.


The foundation was formed in 2013, but its work and origins date back to 2001 as the MERITO® Program developed by NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 2004. The MERITO Program at each of these sanctuaries had an outstanding impact in ocean protection by effectively immersing thousands of multicultural students and adults in ocean science education and indirectly millions through outreach efforts. However, due to reduced budgets within the Federal Government, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries supported a group of community members in the creation of the MERITO Foundation Inc. acknowledging the necessity of an independent non-governmental entity to sustain and continue to provide high-quality ocean science education tailored to the community’s needs.



The MERITO Foundation Inc. works closely with Federal, State, County, and Municipal Government Agencies, school districts, Higher Education Institutions and non-profit conservation organizations in USA and abroad. The MERITO Foundation shares lessons learned and reaches out to other regions near national marine sanctuaries where there is a need for ocean conservation education. To learn more about our sponsors, clients and partners click here.


The MERITO Foundation Staff and Board of Directors is composed of a committed and diverse group of people who care about our ocean environments, youth and communities

Board photo at Leashless Jan 2018.jpg


To enhance ocean and climate science literacy among multicultural communities while supporting marine research and conservation in order to promote healthy ocean ecosystems and inspire the next generation of ocean professionals.

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