About Us

Exploring and Protecting the Planet Since 1888

Photo: Jane and chimp show the National Geographic flag

1962: Jane and partner show the flag

Photograph by Hugo Van Lawick


The National Geographic Society is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to exploring our planet, protecting wildlife and habitats, and helping ensure that students in K-12 are geographically literate.

For almost 130 years, we have funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers and shared their findings with the world. We sponsored Hiram Bingham as he brought back stories of Machu Picchu, documented Robert Ballard’s quest to find the Titanic, and supported Jane Goodall’s study of chimpanzees. 

Our explorers continue to push the boundaries of knowledge. To date, we’ve given out more than 12,000 grants to scientists and conservationists whose work is making a real difference in the world. Each year, our Emerging Explorers program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring innovators who are already making a difference early in their careers. 

We support critical projects like the Big Cats Initiative, which is working to stop the decline in populations of big cats in the wild; and the Pristine Seas project, which has helped protect more than 4.4 million square kilometers of the ocean’s last wild places.
And with our planet’s future at stake, we’re focused on the guardians of that future: our children. Our education programs give teachers the tools they need to engage kids of all ages, reveal our interconnected world, and inspire new generations of citizens and explorers.

Our discoveries and breakthroughs are shared with a global audience through the renowned National Geographic magazine, Nat Geo television channels, digital products, and other media managed by National Geographic Partners, as well as through live events and immersive experiences. 

We rely on the support of generous donors to fund our work in research, education, and conservation around the world. Thank you for making this work possible!