MONTEREY, Calif. -

The Monterey Institute of International Studies received a $1.8 million gift for continued growth and expansion of the Institute's ocean and coastal economics research and education center, called the Center for the Blue Economy.

The gift has three components: a $600,000 outright gift this first year and then challenge matching gifts of $600,000 in each of the following two years, with the goal of generating at least $3 million for the center's operations over the next three years.

The Center for the Blue Economy promotes ocean and coastal sustainability by providing the best available economic information to empower governments, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and concerned citizens to make educated decisions about the ocean and coastal environment.

Its major programs include the National Ocean Economics Program, which earlier this spring reported the powerful influence of the ocean and coastal economies on the overall U.S. economy.