June 26, 2023:
Application Period Open

July 14, 2023:
Application deadline

August 4, 2023:
Applicants notified of status

August 25, 2023:
Project revisions, custom project invoices, and signed agreements all due

September-November 2023
Project window

November 3, 2023
Projects that are not on track to complete by November 30 are identified, for possible return or exchange of purchased items.

November 2023:
Representative of each Mini Award provides a project overview (3-5 minutes) at their ECA Region's Fall Workshop (dates to be announced).

November 30, 2023
Deadline for completion of all project activities (including your own evaluation plan).

December 15, 2023
Completion of ECA's project evaluation survey and deadline for unused items to be returned

Summer/Fall 2023 ECA Mini Awards Program

Update (6/26/2023)

A second round of 2023 ECA Mini Award applications are now being accepted through July 14. If you have any questions about project ideas and the overall process, please email Mark Benthien, ECA Executive Director and Mini Awards Program Manager, at benthien@usc.edu


  • The ECA Mini Awards Program provides materials, guidance, and support for ECA members to complete projects that improve resilience by promoting and implementing earthquake mitigation, awareness, education, and preparedness.

  • The program is supported with funding from FEMA’s National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) state assistance program, based on an annual application by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) for earthquake mitigation and education in California. Cal OES then provides a sub award to the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at USC) to administer ECA overall, including the Mini Awards program.
  • All requested packages will be purchased by SCEC and shipped directly to program participants.
  • Most projects will receive packages costing up to $500.00; earthquake mitigation projects (only) may request purchases of up to $1000 if eligible (see “Eligible Activities” below). Total costs must include tax and shipping within these limits.
  • You may submit more than one application (for different package types or locations), though most organizations will receive only one award in order to support broader efforts.
  • Applicants must make a strong case for how they will implement their proposed activities (including if pandemic restrictions continue), and how they will complete all aspects of their project and required program reporting by the deadline.

Eligible Applicants

  • Any public and private sector organization (agency, institution, business, neighborhood association, etc.) may propose a project that benefits people or organizations primarily located in their ECA region, as follows:
    • ECA SoCal: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties; also adjacent counties to the northeast (Inyo, eastern Kern, and Mono).
    • ECA Central Coast: Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura Counties; also adjacent inland counties (Fresno, western Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare)
    • ECA Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties; also adjacent inland counties (Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba)

  • The Mini Award Application must be submitted by a registered Earthquake Country Alliance member (join for free at EarthquakeCountry.org/join).
  • Awardees from prior years must specify on their submissions if the same or new areas/groups will benefit from the project (new beneficiaries are preferred).
  • Applicants must confirm full support of their organization’s leadership for receiving and managing the Mini Award.

Eligible Activities

  • Projects must be earthquake-specific, and focused only on mitigation activities (see EarthquakeCountry.org/step1 and EarthquakeCountry.org/step4) or activities that increase earthquake education and awareness.
  • Earthquake mitigation project applications may request materials (from our catalog or a custom package you propose) totaling $500, or up to $1000 IF the recipient has successfully completed an ECA Mini Award project previously, or has actively participated in at least 2 ECA activities (regional workshops, committee calls, etc.) within the last year. Mitigation proposals must describe how the items requested will be properly installed and how the project will improve earthquake safety/resilience.
  • Earthquake education and awareness project applications may request materials totaling $500 (from our catalog or a custom package you propose) and must describe how the items requested, and your planned activities, will improve earthquake education, awareness, and preparedness.
  • Custom projects can also combine mitigation materials (fasteners, etc.) along with educational activities, within allowable grant limits (for example, $250 for furniture fasteners and $250 for Rocket Rules booklets for a pre-school).
  • Applications for general preparedness projects and supplies (first aid supplies, radios, flashlights, etc.) are NOT eligible.
  • Purchases can be used to improve earthquake mitigation, education, or preparedness within the applicant’s organization, or for its constituents (for example, your organization could propose to secure furniture within homes in your community, within a senior facility, within a school, or elsewhere).

Package options

On your application, specify the package of materials to be purchased and sent to you, by either:

Image of first page of 2023 ECA Mini Awards Catalog
  1. Selecting a package for your project within the
    2023 ECA Mini Award Options Catalog.

    These include:

    • Various packages (for workplaces, homes, schools, etc.) of furniture straps, cabinet latches, picture hooks, computer and other electronics straps, and other items for securing your space.
    • Packages of educational materials for neighborhood coordination, youth preparedness, and community events (some options may require coordination with ECA to select your specific materials; see the catalog)


  2. Contacting vendors to create your own mitigation or education package that aligns with the stated eligible activities and then submitting draft invoice(s) for payment along with your application. The payee listed should be the University of Southern California, with your organization/address stated as the recipient. The total must include tax and shipping and not exceed the $500 or $1000 limits as specified above.


Evaluation and Reporting Requirements

Mini Award recipients must:

  • Coordinate bi-weekly (via phone, email, etc.) with ECA staff for support and status updates.
  • Finish all activities of their proposed project (including installation of ALL mitigation items received, or distribution/use of ALL educational materials received) before November 30 (any unused materials must be returned by December 15 at the recipient’s expense).
  • Complete a summary survey by December 15 (including project activities, impact and/or lessons learned, etc., and share digital images or videos of product installation or use of educational materials).
  • Present a brief (2-3 minute) summary of their project at their region’s Fall ECA Regional Workshop in November (location and date to be determined).


Application Instructions

  1. First, review all packages within the 2023 ECA Mini Award Options Catalog. If none of these options are appropriate for you mitigation or education project, you can propose your own package (see “Package Options” above).
  2. Next – get a head start! E-mail initial thoughts for what will be proposed to benthien@usc.edu, to receive feedback and suggestions for submitting an eligible application.
  3. Once you have identified the package of materials to be purchased for you, develop a plan for how your project will be implemented and evaluated, including how all materials will be installed or used by November 30).
    • We recommend reviewing the application, writing your answers to the questions, and then when ready copying them into the online form.

  4. Next, complete and submit the Online Application, on or before July 14, 2023.


Contact Mark Benthien, ECA Executive Director and Mini Awards Program Manager, at benthien@usc.edu.