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National Geographic Society and Mott Foundation join forces to provide millions of students in afterschool programs with new ways to explore the world

FLINT, MICHIGAN — More than 10 million students in afterschool programs across the United States will soon have increased access to the National Geographic Society’s vast library of learning activities, curricula and interactive student experiences, thanks to a new partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The partnership was announced yesterday in tandem with a livestream conversation between kids in afterschool programs and National Geographic Explorer and Education Fellow Joe Grabowski, who was aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus in the Pacific Ocean. Grabowski is one of dozens of Explorers from a wide range of scientific disciplines who regularly participate in National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom program, communicating with students via satellite from remote locations around the world.

“This partnership with the National Geographic Society takes Mott’s support for the afterschool field to the next level,” said Ridgway White, president of the Mott Foundation. “We believe that, no matter where a child lives or what his or her family’s income might be, that child deserves access to great scientists, explorers and thinkers all around the world. National Geographic can make that a reality. That’s equity of opportunity, which is really exciting to us.”

“This is a great match between our two organizations,” said Tracy R. Wolstencroft, president and chief executive officer for the National Geographic Society. “We share a passion for providing young people with the tools and knowledge they need to become the next generation of critical thinkers, informed decision-makers and responsible stewards of the planet.”

The partnership will link National Geographic resources to Mott’s 50-state afterschool network. The Foundation provided an initial grant of $450,000 to support the review of existing National Geographic materials to optimize them for afterschool learning. The grant also will support the rollout of afterschool editions of National Geographic’s GeoChallenge and Explorer Classroom, two interactive learning and problem-solving activities that are immediately adaptable for afterschool programs.

Both organizations anticipate this initial grant will lead to a multiyear, multimillion-dollar partnership. To that end, National Geographic will work with afterschool curriculum advisors and education experts to bring a suite of resources to afterschool and summer learning programs. The partnership will deliver resources geared primarily toward middle school students (grades 5-8) through a variety of platforms, including giant maps, student competitions, and print and digital content.

National Geographic also will work with Mott’s afterschool network to provide in-person and online educator training, certification and professional development. In addition, afterschool educators will have access to an online community platform to exchange ideas for engaging students in learning.

“Mott’s network can reach more than 10 million young people participating in afterschool programs nationwide,” said White. “That provides a tremendous opportunity to engage kids in the kind of cool, fun, interactive learning experiences they can’t always get in a formal classroom setting.”

“And it is essential that we reach those young people,” Wolstencroft said. “There has never been a more important time to support science and discovery and to empower the next generation of changemakers to create solutions for a healthier, more sustainable planet.”


The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. With year-end assets of approximately $3 billion in 2017, the Foundation made 375 grants totaling more than $122 million. For more information, visit

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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 or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.