National Geographic Education
National Geographic - Education

Education Foundation

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Photograph by Mark Thiessen
The National Geographic Education Foundation was founded in 1988 on the occasion of National Geographic’s centennial. Its mission is to promote and advance geographic education. Housed in the Education Program’s Division of National Geographic, the Foundation oversees endowments that totaled more than $150 million in 2011. The income from these endowments is used to support professional development for teachers, the creation and dissemination of educational resources, activities to boost public awareness of the importance of geography education, and advocacy for public policies that will lead to improvements in geography education. Since its founding in 1988, the Foundation has awarded more than $80 million in grants.

Funded Activities
Currently, Foundation funds support the following activities:

  • Educational Materials and Professional Development. Foundation funds enable National Geographic Education to create and distribute high-quality educational materials for educators and learners. They also enable us to offer professional development programs for classroom teachers and other educators.

  • The Geography Alliance Network. The Foundation supports the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. Alliances are partnerships between university faculty and K-12 teachers that offer professional development opportunities for educators, offer professional communities for geography educators, and promote educational innovation at state and local levels. The Foundation supports Alliances in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

  • Policy Reform. National Geographic is working with educators and policymakers at state and national levels to establish policies that will improve geographic education. These include efforts to strengthen standards and assessments, and to increase funding for efforts to improve geographic education. An important focus of this Policy Initiative in 2010-11 is pending federal legislation to establish dedicated federal funding for geography education.

  • Public Awareness. The focus of the Foundation’s awareness efforts is Geography Awareness Week. Launched in 1987 by a joint resolution of congress, Geography Awareness Week is an annual opportunity for families and schools to engage in exciting educational experiences that draw attention to geography and the importance of geographic understanding for all citizens.

The Alliance Network is the Education Foundation’s only external grantmaking program at this time. Alliance grants are by invitation only. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, however we welcome ideas for future funding programs. Interested organizations are invited to submit suggestions to the Education Foundation by email at or mail.

The Foundation is overseen by a Board of Governors that is appointed by the Trustees of the National Geographic Society. The Board of Governors also serves as the advisory board for the Education Programs Division.

Contact Us
National Geographic Society
Education Foundation
1145 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688

Phone (202) 857-7310
Fax (202) 429-5701
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