Knowledge & Exploration

National Geographic 'Evening of Exploration' Gala

National Geographic recently hosted an “Evening of Exploration” at the Natural History Museum in London, the biggest event the organization has ever held in Europe. The gala was an opportunity to celebrate National Geographic’s 130 years of groundbreaking storytelling with National Geographic Explorers, National Geographic leaders, and luminaries from across Europe and Africa.

“Understanding and informing our world has been at the heart of National Geographic since our founding in 1888 when 33 of Washington, D.C.’s, top scientific and intellectual leaders — many the millennials of their time — joined forces to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” said Gary Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, in his opening remarks. He recounted National Geographic’s history of focusing on exploring, educating and inspiring, in addition to funding many explorers and advocates.

“Today we continue to support scientists, explorers and storytellers all over the globe, and we work each and every day to shine a spotlight on the challenges facing our planet using the global presence of our media megaphone to tell the stories of the courageous men and women trying to protect our natural world,” Gary added. National Geographic has funded hundreds of explorers across Europe and Africa and continues to look for opportunities to invest in new explorers and grantees in the region.

Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence; Adjany Costa, National Geographic Emerging Explorer; and Charlie Hamilton James, one of National Geographic’s most prominent photographers, spoke about the importance of pushing toward a healthier and more sustainable future. Dr. Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. Messenger of Peace, was the keynote speaker for the evening.

The gala dinner was co-hosted by physicist and National Geographic Magazine Guest Editor Dr. Brian Cox, and actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley. Guests from National Geographic included Gary Knell, CEO of the National Geographic Society; Declan Moore, CEO of National Geographic Partners; Jan Koeppen, President of Fox Networks Group, Europe & Africa; and Jonathan Baillie, Chief Scientist and SVP of Global Grants, along with senior platform, brand and institutional partners from across Europe & Africa.

Other guests included actress, environmentalist and fellow National Geographic Magazine Guest Editor for 2018 Lily Cole; actress, producer and National Geographic Magazine Guest Editor for 2018 Archie Panjabi; director of the Tate and National Geographic Guest Editor for 2018 Dr. Maria Balshaw; Brett Morgen, director of “Jane”; and Bryan Burk, producer of “Jane”; Sarah Sands, Editor of “The Today Programme” on BBC Radio 4; Tina Daheley, journalist and presenter for the BBC; Jo Coburn, senior broadcast journalist and host of BBC News Channel’s “The Daily Politics” show; Siobhan Kennedy, Business Editor for Channel 4 News; Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent for CNN; John Ryley, Head of Sky News; Ian King, Business Correspondent for Sky News; and theater producer Sally Greene.

National Geographic Partners returns 27 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in science, exploration, conservation and education. The Society now has an endowment of $1.2 billion, and in 2017 it funded more than 600 grants to cover the fields of education, technology, journalism, photography and mapping.

“We have the people, the tenacity, and the organization to push forward, to advance the world’s science and research, to tell stories that build awareness and spur action, to educate and to inspire change,” Gary told the evening’s guests. If we work together we can and we will achieve our ultimate goal: a planet in balance.”


The National Geographic Society recently approved more than $4 million for 111 grants, further strengthening the 21CF partner’s commitment to investing in science, exploration, conservation, storytelling, education, and technology. These awards complete the annual grants cycle, with over 600 grants totaling nearly $12 million awarded in 2017 to help address the planet’s most critical issues in fighting for a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

“This week’s decision by the National Geographic Society leadership demonstrates a historic and continued commitment to understanding the world and all that’s in it. The significance of Society funding cannot be overstated. We’re making substantial investments to support all those striving to achieve a planet in balance,” said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO, National Geographic Society.

Applicants came from the widest range of disciplines and backgrounds yet, including technologists, educators, and storytellers, in addition to scientists, conservationists, and explorers. Over half of the grant awardees are from outside the United States and represent 34 countries, from Argentina to Italy to Rwanda to Indonesia. Grant recipients will employ citizen science to collect data about widespread mangrove die-off in the Caribbean; test innovations to combat illegal sea turtle egg trafficking, coastline degradation and poaching; and build and test long-range, private wireless networks to strengthen the capacity of rangers and managers in protected areas from Malaysia, Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin.

“Our grant recipients are — and have always been — the heart and soul of what we do. When we award a grant, we’re not just funding a project. We are also inviting bold individuals from a variety of fields to join a passionate community of like-minded global leaders,” said Jonathan Baillie, chief scientist and senior vice president, Science and Exploration, National Geographic Society.

For nearly 130 years, the National Geographic Society has been pushing boundaries to explore and document the world, supporting over 13,000 grant projects along the way. In September 2015, 21st Century Fox expanded its partnership with the Society to create National Geographic Partners, a new for-profit venture bringing together all of National Geographic's media assets, including the channels, the globally circulated magazine, and the popular social media presences. At the new company, 27% of all proceeds return to the non-profit National Geographic Society, supporting their commitment to science, research, conservation and exploration.


21CF Impact Week Volunteer Community Service

For six days and nights in October, nearly 3,000 colleagues from across 21st Century Fox businesses gave back to the communities around them as part of the second annual 21CF Impact Week. Building on the success of 21CF’s first ever company-wide week of service in 2016, which was piloted in New York and Los Angeles, colleagues in 25 U.S. cities took part in 99 service activities that benefited kids, veterans, the environment, victims of Hurricane Harvey, and many more. It is estimated that these efforts, which collectively totaled more than 9,000 hours of service, made a positive difference in the lives of more than 83,000 people. The company plans to further expand 21CF Impact Week to its global locations in 2018.

“I’m honored to work for a company that made Impact Week such an ambitious, visible initiative,” one volunteer said. “I would like 21CF to continue to send the message of encouragement to employees at Fox that we are ordinary people who can do extraordinary things for other people when make a diligent community effort.”

21CF worked with local leads at each of its U.S. based businesses to organize volunteer opportunities around its Social Impact focus areas: Creativity & the Arts, Sports & Well Being, Knowledge & Exploration, Sustainability & the Environment, and Diversity & Inclusion. Service projects included preparing meals for the homeless, cleaning up parks and gardens, building school libraries, packaging supplies for military servicemen and women, and mentoring local youth, among many others. 21CF Impact Week gave colleagues the chance to build thriving communities while strengthening their relationships with coworkers and forging new connections across the business.

In total, 21CF colleagues packed 45,800 pounds of food, made and served 82,884 meals, removed one ton of trash from lakes and rivers, collected 1,019 toys, and created 9,440 backpacks, kits, and care packages, culminating in nearly 9,050 hours of service.

Learn more about Impact Week by reading our in-depth feature and by browsing #21CFImpactWeek on Twitter and Instagram.

21CF Impact Week Volunteer Community Service


Shorty Social Good Awards Fox National Geographic

21st Century Fox and National Geographic took home top honors at the second annual Shorty Social Good Awards on November 15 for developing social media campaigns that engage audiences on important social issues and empower them to take action. The winning campaigns included 21CF’s contest to award free screenings of Hidden Figures to communities across America, as well as initiatives from Nat Geo to encourage women in STEM, expand access to clean water, and inspire the genius in each of us. The Shorty Social Good Awards launched in 2016 to celebrate the power of digital storytelling tools to raise awareness and make change.

The full list of awards for 21CF businesses is as follows:

The Hidden Figures national screening series aimed to make the film available to communities where it might have the strongest impact. The film tells the “untold” story of three African American female NASA mathematicians during the Space Race of the 1960's, and it has a particular resonance for young women and women of color looking to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 21CF invited schools, community groups, and nonprofits around the country to apply for free screenings, and distributed 3,500 free tickets throughout the spring season as a result.  

In May, National Geographic launched the Chasing Genius digital community, inspired by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Genius miniseries on the channel about Albert Einstein. Members of the community, which grew to more than 30,000 users over the summer, submitted videos detailing big ideas that could address sustainability, global health, and world hunger. The site received more than 3,000 videos, generated 230 million impressions, and sparked 3.2 million social conversations. Four winners were selected and each awarded $25,000 to develop their projects.

The Shorty Awards also recognized National Geographic for two of its partnership campaigns. Its #MakeWhatsNext campaign, a collaboration with Microsoft, won the Live Streaming Video category and aimed to recruit more young women to the STEM fields. Leading female National Geographic Explorers took part in the campaign, which celebrated International Women’s Day and included six live events in Microsoft stores across the U.S. National Geographic also partnered with Stella Artois for a water conservation campaign centered around World Water Day.

Learn more about the Shorty Social Good Awards, including the full list of winners and details on each campaign.


Team Rubicon Disaster Relief Fox

Photo courtesy Team Rubicon

As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in September, Fox Networks Group is set to unveil a new documentary series about the nonprofit Team Rubicon and its disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the continental United States, and beyond. The series will air in short segments across FNG’s full portfolio, including FOX Broadcasting, FX, National Geographic, and FOX Sports. Each installment will highlight the organization’s relief operations, which include the provision of clean water and medical care. The program will culminate in a feature length documentary set to air on FNG channels next spring.

“At Fox Networks Group, we love to tell stories that entertain but also stories that inspire,” said Joe Rockhill, VP of Integrated Sales & Marketing at FNG. “We have these incredible storytellers across our portfolio that always latch onto inspirational stories, and… ultimately we wanted to tell the story of the men and women who are part of Team Rubicon, the heroes that are helping rebuild these communities and bringing help where help is needed.”

Academy Award-nominated director Kief Davidson will helm the project, which will air across FNG channels throughout the rest of the fall season, including during the Daytona 500, the World Series, and Thanksgiving and Christmas NFL games on FOX Sports. FX featured the documentary shorts during its Veteran’s Day programming initiative. The months-long effort also represents an opportunity for brands to get involved and connect with their customers on the causes that matter to them.

“The idea is to showcase the different parts of Team Rubicon, what they’re doing across the U.S. and the world, and help bring those stories to life in an interesting way,” Rockhill said. “We can use the awareness that we have and the audiences we have to help tell those stories and make sure people aren’t forgotten.”

Team Rubicon pairs American military veterans with disaster relief projects both within the U.S. and internationally. The organization is currently leading efforts to provide aid to victims of the recent California wildfires and Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. In Puerto Rico, their activities include delivering medical care and supplies, clearing debris within communities and on transit roads, and distributing clean drinking water.

Learn more about Team Rubicon, including their relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world.