AAC/Mountain Hardwear McNeill-Nott Award
Best for amateur climbers
Looking to brave a remote mountain peak or find a route that’s never been climbed? Susan Nott and Karen McNeill spent their lives doing just that, until their untimely death on Mt. Foraker in 2006. The AAC/Mountain Hardwear McNeill-Nott Award grant seeks to preserve their spirit of adventure and courage. Each year, the grant provides two or three small teams of amateur climbers with a total of $5,000. Organizers evaluate applications based on the exploratory nature of the climb, the climb’s plan, and the experience of the climbers.
Deadline: Applications are due on January 1.
Mazamas Alpine Adventure Grant
Best for experienced climbers
If you’re a seasoned climber, Mazamas Alpine Adventure wants to fund your next big first ascent or remote climb. You do not have to be a Mazama member to receive this grant, which generally awards a total of $20,000, divvied up between six to eight climbs each year. Applications will be evaluated on your expedition’s uniqueness and its contribution to the world of alpinism. Mazama will also take into consideration any philanthropic or scientific intentions of your trip. They ask that you provide them a written account of your adventure upon your return.
Deadline: Applications are rolling, but the review process could take several months, so be sure to start early.
BBC Journey of a Lifetime
Best for storytellers
Do you think your next adventure is worth sharing? BBC Radio 4 and the Royal Geographical Society want to put your next expedition on the air, to the tune of £5,000 (about $5,660 at press time). This unique opportunity funds an individual or team going on expeditions that will take BBC radio listeners to places they have never been before. In addition to funding your trip, BBC will train you and your team in the art of radio broadcast and help you put together a radio show fit to air. No prior broadcasting experience is required. You must be planning on traveling between February and July following the year you apply.
Deadline: Applications are due on October 28 of each year.
National Geographic Young Explorer Grants
Best for young explorers
This grant is specifically for applicants between the ages of 18-25 who might not have the years of field experience necessary to obtain other grants. The Young Explorer Grant is a subset of National Geographic’s three major grant programs; Committee for Research and Exploration, the Conservation Trust, and the Expeditions Council, meaning all proposals can fall anywhere within the categories of research, conservation, and exploration. The amount awarded varies with the needs of the project, but often comes between $2,000 and $5,000.
Deadline: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but must be submitted eight months before your field date. To apply, determine which of the three grant categories your project falls into, and fill out the pre-application form.
The KEEN Effect
Best for non-profits
What better way is there to care for the outdoors than by inspiring others to do the same? Keen wants to support non-profit organizations that promote responsible outdoor activity and education worldwide. They are looking for creative projects with clear goals that will introduce new audiences to exploration and the outdoors. The grant supports about five groups each application cycle with $10,000 each. Your project must be completed within nine months of receiving funding.
Deadline: Applications open on Earth Day (April 22) this year and close on June 10.
Explorers Club Grants
Best for students
Explorers Club Grants are perfect for students who are eager to make contributions to the scientific world by diving into serious research projects. In order to be considered, you must submit a research proposal in any number of subjects within the earth sciences and conservation. There are two categories of grants; one for high school and undergraduate university students, and another for students pursuing higher degrees of education, such as a masters or doctorate. Awards range from $500 to $5,000 dollars depending on the nature of the project, but average about $2,000.
Deadline: Applications are due in October.
Timmissartok Foundation Grants
Best for international explorers
Timmissartok is a Greenlandic word that means “to fly like a bird”-- which is exactly what the foundation wants you to do with their money. This grant is for travelers with unique projects or research proposals that will take them to foreign countries. The application is lighthearted and brief—be prepared to explain your favorite quote before even being asked about your travel plans. Awards are generally small (about $100 each) but can be a great way to jump-start funding on your next project.
Deadline: Applications are accepted and chosen year-round.
The North Face Explore Fund
Best for philanthropists
This grant is all about getting others outside. Instead of funding a personal trip, The North Face Explore Fund grant awards money to non-profit organizations that run youth programs, adaptive sports camps, and urban mentoring programs that get people up and moving in the outdoors. Specially for this year, North Face has set aside half of their $500,000 in annual grant money to specifically fund programs that focused on activity in United States national parks, in honor of the National Parks Systems Centennial. Awards are highly competitive and usually amount to between $5,000 and $25,000 dollars, depending on need.
Deadline: Applications are due in April.