Our Mission

Using the power of science, exploration, education,
and storytelling to illuminate and protect

our approach

Investing in a diverse, global community of changemakers

Bold Explorers

We fund a global community of Explorers who investigate, test hypotheses, innovate, stretch their creativity, and push the boundaries of traditional thinking in ways that fundamentally change our world.

Impactful Programs

We support and cultivate a portfolio of diverse, Explorer-led programs within our five focus areas to drive impact and fulfill our mission of illuminating and protecting our world.

Connection & Education

We leverage our global expertise, platforms, and unparalleled convening power to inspire educators, youth, and future Explorers and help more people learn about, care for, and protect our world.

Responsible Stewardship

Our innovative business model allows us to invest every philanthropic dollar—100% of donations—directly to our Explorers and programs. Join us to support what matters most to you.

Our Focus

Maximizing impact
in five key areas

Revealing and protecting underwater worlds

Our Explorers work in oceanography, marine/coastal ecology, climate science, ocean exploration technology, community-based conservation, and related fields.


Preserving and protecting land environments

Our Explorers work in terrestrial geosciences, terrestrial/freshwater ecology, climate science, conservation technology, community-based conservation, and related fields.


Protecting and conserving wildlife

Our Explorers work in ethology, population biology, evolutionary biology, conservation technology, species conservation, and related fields.


Understanding our past and protecting our future

Our Explorers work in archaeology, cultural anthropology, paleoanthropology, human geography and migration, and related fields.


Supporting innovation

Our Explorers work in applied artificial intelligence and technology, innovations in climate adaptation, natural resource and systems sustainability, outer space, and related fields. 


changing the world

Your impact begins today!

Our promise

Supporting future changemakers

"Everyone is an Explorer. How could you possibly live your life looking at a door and not go open it?"
Bob Ballard
National Geographic Explorer at Large and Oceanographer
Our Grants Program

Become an Explorer

Our Grants Program

We offer several grants, with various entry points, to provide a dynamic pathway to join our community and engage with us.
Learn More

Join our youth community


The next generation

Young people have the power to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. #GenGeo is a youth community who are committed to taking action for our planet.
Join us
Our commitment to dei

Cultivating an environment of opportunity, mutual respect,
and belonging

Learning from our past, examining our present, and building a more inclusive future.

We believe we can only achieve our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world when people of every race, identity, experience, and ability have a role in our work. Although we have much more work to do, the Society has made strides to achieve and maintain equity.

Photo Credits from top of page: Explorer portraits:  David Gill, Owen Bissell (2), Matt Ferguson, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Patrick Carr.  Michael Nichols, Beverly Joubert, Roger Horrocks, Joshua Irwandi, Emily Shur, Joe McKendry (illustration), Okavango Wilderness Project/Guardians of the River, Octavio Aburto, Armando Vega.  Below: Michael Nichols, Andy Mann, Paul Nicklen, Ami Vitale, Christian Tryon, Kenneth Garrett, Mark Thiessen.

Get updates about our critical work to explore and protect our planet.

Join Us
Your impact begins today

By joining the Society, you will fund Explorers working to save wildlife, protect our oceans and ecosystems, preserve our ancient heritage, and solve the planet’s mysteries and challenges.