Funding Updates

  • Level I and Level II grants applications that were submitted by the April 11, 2024 deadline will receive funding decisions in September 2024. Information about our future grant opportunities will be shared in summer 2024.
Our Strategy

Invest in bold Explorers

We have awarded more than 15,000 grants since our founding in 1888. 

The recipients of these grants, who we call National Geographic Explorers, are a diverse community of changemakers from around the world working to support our mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. 

Our Explorers are people of all walks of life from all over the world. They don’t just venture to the tops of mountains or the bottom of the ocean.  They’re also in the lab diving deep into the microscopic world, in their local communities capturing the stories of a fishing village, or in the classroom sharing their discoveries with the next generation.

what we fund

Bold, innovative, transformative work

We fund individuals working on projects in science, conservation, storytelling, education, and technology that align with one or more of our focus areas.

And we don’t just support their incredible work. We actively seek to help them network, connect, and learn with National Geographic and each other, empower them with cutting-edge tools, technology, and training, and further their impact and recognition through our storytelling.

Our community

The Explorer Mindset

A grant from the National Geographic Society means more than just funding! Learn what it really means to be a National Geographic Explorer and get to know our community.

Become An Explorer

We offer grant opportunities at various entry points to provide a dynamic pathway to join our community and engage with us.

Whether you are an aspiring Explorer or already a luminary in the field, each opportunity has unique criteria and benefits to ensure that our Explorers receive support and funding aligned to their specific needs and goals. Each year, a small number of grants are awarded to individuals who are just beginning their National Geographic journey, as well as those who are working on more advanced projects.

Current Funding Opportunities

The National Geographic Society warmly welcomes and encourages applicants from historically and currently underrepresented and underserved populations to apply. National Geographic is committed to funding a diverse and globally representative cohort of Explorers. The National Geographic Society does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, or disability.

The Big Questions Request for Proposals

Supported by the John Templeton Foundation, the National Geographic Society is seeking innovative photography, short film, writing, data visualization and other storytelling proposals to help people consider some of the greatest questions of our time.

These projects should in some way work to explore one of the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What are the boundaries of Earth, or more precisely, what are the limits to what we can understand?
  • What is the relationship between the human and natural worlds?

The deadline for this opportunity is Wednesday, September 11 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

for grant-seekers

More information

We recommend reviewing the following information before applying for funding. 
If after reviewing information and materials you have additional questions, please email

  • You must be 18 or older to apply for a National Geographic Society grant.
  • Project start dates should be a minimum of six months after the submission deadline to ensure any awarded funds are received in time.
  • If you are working on a project outside your home country or community, you must include at least one local collaborator on your team who is significantly involved in the project.
  • You may submit a proposal as the project leader for only one project at a time.
  • You must submit a final report and media from any previous National Geographic Society grants for which you were the leader before applying to lead a new project.
  • The individual responsible for carrying out the project should write the application and be listed as the project leader.

The National Geographic Society has zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, and complies with all applicable laws prohibiting such conduct including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act. Grantees may not: offer or give anything of value to a government official or any other person as an incentive to, or in exchange or as a reward for, obtaining an improper advantage for National Geographic; or give, offer, solicit or accept anything of value that is intended to induce the recipient to violate his/her duty of loyalty to his/her employer. All licenses, permits and other government permissions or approvals required to carry out a grant must be obtained through the lawful, legitimate process of the country where the grant activity occurs.

The National Geographic Society complies with all embargoes and sanctions established by the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC). If any work under the proposed grant will be performed in countries including but not limited to Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Crimea, you must consult your legal counsel to ensure that an appropriate general license is available, or a specific license has been obtained, allowing the grant activity to take place. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce must be notified when certain items are exported (including encryption software standard on all computers). You must consult with your legal counsel and comply with all export requirements applicable to the grant work.

Photo Credits from top of page: Christopher Johns, Robbie Shone, Kostadin Luchansky, Cory Richards (2). 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.

The National Geographic Society is proud to invest in a global community of intrepid Explorers working to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Make a tax-deductible gift to support the Society today, and your support will help fund the next generation of changemakers.