The National Geographic Society established the Education Foundation in 1988 – the Society’s centennial – to fund activities promoting and advancing geographic education in the United States and Canada. The Foundation launched with an initial contribution of $40 million by the Society’s Board of Trustees. Over the years, the Foundation has built up an endowment worth more than $182 million through generous contributions from the Society and other donors.
The Foundation supports educational activities conducted by National Geographic and provides grants to other organizations that work to advance the Foundation’s mission. Throughout its history, the Foundation has awarded more than $95 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
By studying geography, students will be able to interpret the past and contribute to the future. From where the next storm will hit, to where pollution will drift, to where we need to (or not to) build new housing—geography steers us.
Gilbert M. Grosvenor
Chairman Emeritus, National Geographic Society and Education Foundation
The Education Foundation currently supports programs in three distinct areas:
State and Place-Based Programs
The Foundation supports activities that advance geographic education at the regional, state, and local levels through grants to external partners. The primary focus of this grantmaking is the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. The Alliance Network is made up of university-based partnerships of higher education and K-12 educators working to improve geographic education in their area. Each Alliance offers professional development and cultivates professional communities for teachers of geography. They also participate in educational policy discussions and program implementation at the state and district levels. The Foundation currently funds statewide Alliances in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
Educational Resources and Professional Development
The Foundation supports the creation of educational resources and professional development within National Geographic’s Education division. It provides funding to Education to create and distribute materials for teaching and learning of geographic concepts and practices. Through the National Geographic Education website at NatGeoEd.org, these resources reach a global audience of more than one million visitors each month and growing.
Communications, Research, and Policy
The Foundation supports activities that build public awareness of the importance of geographic education, such as Geography Awareness Week.
The National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education is the Foundation’s primary external grantmaking program at this time. Alliance Program grants are by invitation only, and the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.