WASHINGTON–A new endowed fund of $7 million to enhance K-12 geography education has been established by the National Geographic Society to honor and sustain the legacy of its Chairman of the Board, Gilbert M. Grosvenor. Grosvenor, the fifth generation of his family to lead the Society, became a passionate advocate for geography education in the late 1980s, spearheading the Society’s efforts to put the discipline back into the nation’s classrooms.
The fund was officially launched today at a gala to celebrate Grosvenor’s 75th birthday. The Society’s first ever fund-raising event, the Grosvenor Gala is believed to be the largest nonpolitical fund-raiser ever held in the D.C. area.
The endowment is being built through individual, corporate and foundation donations contributed in recognition of Grosvenor’s achievements. The Society will match the tax-deductible amount of each contribution dollar for dollar.
“The Gilbert M. Grosvenor Fund for Geography Education will significantly expand the Society’s capacity to inspire children to know and care about their world and will help give teachers the tools and resources they need to make geography come to life in the classroom. It’s a fitting tribute to the man who put geography on the map,” said John Fahey, National Geographic Society president and CEO.
Proceeds from the Grosvenor Fund will be used to promote effective and engaging K-12 geography education, with a special emphasis on supporting teachers and students in the classroom. Grants will fund innovative projects, including teacher training; help connect students to real-world issues through new technologies such as GIS (geographic information systems), Internet-based lesson plans and interactive distance learning; support outreach to underscore the everyday importance of geography; and foster model instructional programs that are innovative and replicable.
The fund will be administered by the Society’s Education Foundation, which was established by Grosvenor in 1988 at the Society’s centennial. To date, the Foundation has dispersed more than 1,700 grants totaling more than $62 million for innovative geography programs in and out of the classroom.
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, with a mission to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting conservation of Earth’s cultural and natural resources. It reaches more than 350 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and its four other magazines; the National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; videos and DVDs; maps; and interactive media. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects. It supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy and hosts an annual geography competition, the National Geographic Bee, which attracts nearly 5 million fourth- to eighth-grade participants. For more information on the Society, log on to nationalgeographic.com.