National Geographic Society Newsroom Press Releases

National Geographic Society Marks Record-Setting Fundraising Year

Driven by new leadership and a bold vision for the future, the nonprofit raises more than $74 million

The National Geographic Society today announced its 2021 fundraising total, with a record-setting $74.7 million in new commitments. Through the collective support of individuals, corporations, and foundations, the Society raised more funds in 2021 than any other year in the organization’s 134-year history, significantly advancing its mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.

The Society allocates 100% of all funds raised to bolster its priorities and mission-driven efforts, including investing in a global community of National Geographic Explorers. Most notably, donors and partners fuel the five key areas of the Society’s mission-driven efforts: Ocean, Land, Wildlife, Human History and Cultures, and Human Ingenuity. The fundraising achievement follows the appointment of new leadership, including CEO Jill Tiefenthaler, who led the development of the Society’s five-year strategic plan NG Next.

“I am extremely grateful to the generous supporters who stepped forward in 2021 and made it possible for the Society to elevate our strategic priorities,” said Tiefenthaler, reflecting on this organizational milestone. “NG Next is a blueprint to drive change and support from our donors—both new and long-time champions of National Geographic—enables us to achieve our ambitious goals. We are inspired by such an impactful response, which will significantly accelerate our global impact.”

The fundraising milestone is particularly notable during a challenging period of working virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to furthering the Society’s mission and Explorer-led work, the funds generated support for pandemic funding relief efforts, including the COVID-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund for Educators and the COVID-19 Science Fund. These, along with the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists which launched the previous year, supported projects that tell the stories of living through a global pandemic, create innovative ways to reach students in remote or hybrid learning environments, and conduct research on how COVID-19 has affected human interaction with wildlife and cultural heritage sites.

“Every one of our investments—from a grant to an Explorer to empower a new discovery, to an educator resource for a virtual classroom—is critical to inspiring millions of people to learn about, care for, and protect our world,” notes Jean Case, chair of the Society’s Board of Trustees. “And we simply couldn’t do it without our loyal and generous supporters.”

2021 fiscal year fundraising highlights include:

  • $74.7 million in overall new commitments, a 208% increase from the previous fiscal year
  • 59 new commitments of $100,000 or above 
  • 11 new commitments at $1 million or above
  • 100% of giving participation by the Board of Trustees
  • 100% of giving participation by the Society’s senior leadership team
  • Record participation in Society membership, engaging thousands of members in the Grosvenor Council; Alexander Graham Bell Society; and leadership giving through the Hubbard Council and the Clark Council (launched in 2021) 

“We are so appreciative of the support and dedication from our growing community of donors, partners, and changemakers,” said chief advancement officer Kara Ramirez Mullins. “It has been an incredible year at the National Geographic Society—a year in which we have leveraged the visionary leadership of Jill Tiefenthaler and Jean Case, the launch of NG Next, and the unparalleled legacy of this organization.”

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.