Photograph by George F. Mobley
National Geographic actively pursues funding from foundations and U.S. federal agencies to support projects in education, exploration, conservation, and research. Our partners have supported National Geographic exhibitions, films, television, and Web-based productions, educational resources for educators, students, and families, and the development of tools and materials that advance the Geographic’s mission.
See all of our institutional and government supporters on page 41 of the 2010 Mission Programs Annual Report.
The Brinson Foundation supports educational, public health, and scientific research programs that engage, inform, and inspire citizens to confront the challenges that face humanity. The Foundation became involved with National Geographic in 2005 through support of the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration grants in the physical sciences. In 2006 support from the Brinson Foundation helped the Society establish the Young Explorers Grants (YEG) Program, which makes grants to scientists ages 18-25 for their first field research experiences. Since then the Foundation has remained a supporter of YEG and the university workshops that promote YEG to aspiring scientists. Like National Geographic, the Brinson Foundation is committed to funding research in fields that are underfunded or not yet eligible for government funding. The Foundation is also a leader in supporting educational reform and public health awareness, particularly in the Chicago area where the Foundation is located.
In 2011, National Geographic magazine explored the nature of our expanding human family as it reached seven billion people through the yearlong series “Seven Billion: Confronting the Future.” Made possible in part by support from the Wallace Global Fund and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the articles examined the planetary challenges that come with rising human numbers and aspirations: climate change and adaptation, food scarcity and hunger, ocean acidification, species extinction, human conflict, and more. Philanthropic support for this coverage has helped National Geographic foster a broad conversation about the drivers of population growth or decline and the limits of the planet we share.
The Walton Family Foundation is committed to addressing K-12 education reform, conserving sensitive marine and freshwater environments, and furthering economic development in the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. In 2009 the Foundation supported two NG projects: first, the development of a map of the Colorado River Basin—a useful tool for educating resource managers, conservationists, policymakers, and others, and second, an expedition to Cocos Island National Park and the Las Gemelas seamounts (Costa Rica) led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala. The scientific data gathered and the film produced about the protected waters around Cocos were integral to efforts to expand the marine protected area around the island and create no-take buffer zones.
National Geographic’s current federal funders include:
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- Office of Naval Research (ONR)
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
- United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Over the past decade, National Geographic has also received funding from:
- Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA)
- U.S. Department of Education (DOE)
In 2007, NEH funds supported the National Geographic Society’s partnership with the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to present "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul," an extraordinary traveling exhibition exploring the art and cultural themes of ancient Afghanistan. With stops at the National Gallery in D.C., the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Met in New York, "Hidden Treasures" highlighted significant and remarkably beautiful objects from the National Museum of Afghanistan, long considered lost or stolen, until their recent rediscovery in 2003. Reaching an audience of 800,000 visitors in the United States, the show allowed the world to see these treasures exhibited for the first time in 25 years and engaged the American public in a dialogue on the perils and potential of preserving heritage and cultural identity in modern Afghanistan.
In 2010, the National Science Foundation awarded funds to NGHT, LLC to produce television and Web-based coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the worst environmental disasters ever to occur in the United States. With this NSF support, National Geographic documented the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and the scientific community’s response to the disaster. Using multiplatform media including television programming, online video, blogs, news segments, and interviews with experts, National Geographic communicated the scientific stories unfolding in the Gulf region and enhanced public understanding of the urgent situation at hand.
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