About the National Geographic Society

National Geographic Society headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Thiessen)

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Working to inspire, illuminate and teach, National Geographic reaches more than 700 million people a month through its media platforms, products, events and experiences.

Each year, the Society funds more than 300 research, conservation and exploration projects around the globe. Our efforts are focused on:

• Our Human Story: Exploring where we came from, how we live today and where we may find ourselves tomorrow;
• Critical Species: Revealing, celebrating and helping protect the diverse creatures that share our world;
• Our Living Planet: Understanding the intricate and interconnected systems of our changing world;
• New Frontiers: Searching for the “new” and the “next” — using the latest technology and science to visit places no one has ever been and find answers no one has ever found.

Past and current grantees include polar explorer Robert Peary; Hiram Bingham, excavator of the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu; anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey; mountain gorilla expert Dian Fossey; author and historian Stephen Ambrose; underwater explorer and discoverer of the sunken Titanic Robert Ballard; primatologist Jane Goodall; anthropologist Wade Davis; marine biologist Sylvia Earle; wildlife conservationist Paula Kahumbu; and herpetologist-toxinologist Zoltan Takacs.

The Society’s commitment to integrity, accuracy and excellence has positioned “National Geographic” as a benchmark brand and a leader in publishing, photography, cartography, television, research and education.


A view of Machu Picchu soon after discovery. National Geographic funds supported exploration and excavation of the legendary city, a place whose original purpose is still disputed. Photo by Hiram Bingham

Click here for a look back at milestones in National Geographic’s history.

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