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Wikimedia Foundation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Arts & Culture, Education, Media & Communications

Mission: The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower people around the world to collect and develop knowledge under a free license, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. In collaboration with a network of chapters, the Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of projects and endeavors which serve this mission.

Programs: Our core functions include support for wikipedia. Org and the other wikimedia websites, which together are one of the world's most popular web properties, and the world's largest collaborative free knowledge project. The wikimedia foundation provides the servers and electricity needed to keep the websites running, along with dedicated technical resources to build, improve, and maintain the technical infrastructure of wikimedia projects. These ongoing engineering efforts and product improvements require research and design work, as well as legal support. All of this allows for the best experience for our readers and volunteer community, ensuring users continue to access, contribute to and grow the world's largest online free knowledge resource.

the wikimedia foundation grantmaking and program development department focuses on growing wikimedia in various regions around the world and expanding diversity within the contributor base. These programs and efforts directly support contributors through grants for projects, programs, and campaigns by individuals and organizations. Grantmaking and program development team also strives to further the missions of wikimedia, such as open access and education, through programs like our global education program, as well through worldwide program evaluation, research, and global communications. Because openness and inclusivity are key to the success of the wikimedia projects, grantmaking and program development aim to broaden the diversity of voices and expand the reach of our projects to diverse individuals and groups around the world.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Wikipedia has changed my life. Rather, my life would be very different without convenient access at my fingertips. I use Wikipedia every day, to look up things from assignments in Astronomy courses to symphonic metal bands to the population of Stockholm to horse gaits. (I have great confidence in the accuracy of the information but it doesn't need to be 100% correct to be helpful.) And best of yet, it's free, it's available to everyone, thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation. I like donating to the Wikimedia Foundation because not only do I believe in what they're doing, but they work well with me: They don't send me junk mail. They send 1 or 2 emails (A YEAR) asking for donations and that's it. No fuss. Go Wikimedia!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have had the luck to be born in a family which praise culture and studying, and in a society where I have always had the freedom to pursue them. I am not speaking about my Country of origin (Italy), but the whole Western Civilization, Plus I had the ultimate luck to live when the Information Technology flourished, and it supposed a big change in my life.
Contrarily to most people getting old (I am 41), I am not a nostalgic; I remember perfectly how difficult it was in the past to look for information, how much time you had to spend to get bits of what you wanted, before the Internet, Wikipedia, or the presence On-Line of huge Libraries in all languages, and all over the world. So every day I wake up, and I am thankful to be born nowadays.
I spent all my life studying, there is nothing I love more.
I remember one day, I was asked if I had trade the beautiful memories of Dante's Divine Comedy for one million dollars. I convincingly denied the possibility. My wealth is what I know, and that is what I bought in my life, not with money, but not becoming obsessed with it.
But if I had a choice to study is not because of talent or skills, it is because of circumstances, and there is no one day I am not thankful to all the people who made and still make this dream possible: the carpenters who built the doors, which permit me to isolate myself from the rest of the world, the producers of coffee, who help my concentration, the one who invented the font I am reading and it is so understandable, and so forth. Everyone who did something I am using and enjoying in my day by day!
But among all of them, I have to keep in a special place all that is related to technology of information.
During my life I had to move to two different countries, ultimately US, and it would be impossible for me to dedicate myself to what I love, without technology. I use it every day, as I use Wikipedia every day; so, even if I am not rich, I try to donate every year to the Wikimedia Foundation, in order to keep this wonderful global knowledge project going.
Universal access to information could increase human creativity and productivity of more knowledge, beauty and art. We can finally achieve a marvelous, colorful, rich and prosperous world, we have to insist and realize this ancient dream.

Review from #MyGivingStory

Donor

Rating: 5

The Abe Farag Family Foundation choose to donate to Wikimedia Foundation Inc when we realized that we use Wikipedia every day. No other non profits supports the world in the way this one does and we are proud to support it.
-abe farag

Andrew85

Volunteer

Rating: 5

being part of the story of wiki foundation is the key to finding a great human resource

Donor

Rating: 1

I learned that many people who work for nonprofit org become greedy. When they get bigger and successful, it is common to see numerous financial issues arise. It is very sad that Wikimedia is one of them. I hate to see them writing on this Review page giving themselves 5stars. I no longer plan to donate. There are many organization run by people do not take any money. I do not like them soliciting me by email. Because I donated before does not give them right to use my email asking for money.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This organization is broken. The volunteers that monitor posting activity are poorly trained and do now have the skills required to know the difference between legitimate postings and spam. The ONLY way that volunteer monitoring works is with rigorous training and screening of volunteers, with ongoing quality testing to prevent an obstructive enclave from forming.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

This allows open transfer of information in a usable form without Commercialization of the process.

Review from JustGive

3 craig newmark

Board Member

Rating: 5

Maybe it's not necessary to talk up the folks behind Wikipedia, people already know their importance and influence.

You might not know how hard they work to get it done right, including always trying to make it more accurate and how to prevent attacks and other problems.

In a sense, they're asking "what is truth" in conditions which can get real unfriendly at times.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wikipedia really is the "first draft of history" and more than that, maybe a vital part of how our species is working together for the common good. The good folks at Wikimedia Foundation own and operate Wikipedia. They are dedicated to bringing free content to the world.

3 Nick234

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is vitally important to note when talking about the Wikimedia Foundation the relative size of their projects and the relatively low cost of those projects compared to sites of similar size. With the numbers provided by Charity Navigator (which appear to be slightly lower than the published numbers on the latest Wikimedia report) the total cost of running the entire organization is only a small percentage of any other website with such traffic levels.

Alexa ranks Wikipedia as having more traffic than Twitter. Yet the administrative and hosting bills of Twitter probably dwarf the entire Wikimedia Foundation budget.

It is also important to note that most of their work is done by volunteers and the paid staff and outside contractors are there mostly to serve as administrators and facilitators to the volunteers. And those volunteers are more than willing to check the work of the foundation to ensure compliance.

One thing I would really like to see is that this organization be rated twice. Once for their work maintaining the operations of major Wikimedia projects and the other for their goals of expanding projects in overseas markets and working with organizations to expand those programs. I already know that they do a great job considering their size on keeping the websites up but I have no real chance to rate their more ambitious goals (although this is all publicly available.)

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wikipedia has changed the lives of students I have worked with in 8 countries around the world. They have all learned about the world in their own language through Wikipedia, and many of them have learned to write cited essays, or to take good photographs, in order to share something about their town with the world.

I don't know of any other project that so simply and directly allows people to share what is important in their lives in a way that will be read and remembered by others for generations. The Foundation's communications about their work and investments are as clear and approachable as any I have seen.

Review from CharityNavigator

2 Ryan K.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Wikimedia Foundation is one of the leaders of the Free Culture movement and a great example of what you can accomplish if you inspire people to contribute to the common good. With a very small staff and modest budget, the Wikimedia Foundation has manged to run the 5th most popular website in the world, ad-free. No other tech company in the world has done as much to improve the educational resources available to people all over the world.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

A great idea but with questionable leadership and financial dealings. I have limited resources so I will have to pass on this one and focus on organizations without the controversy. http://www.mywikibiz.com/Top_10_Reasons_Not_to_Donate_to_Wikipedia

1

Donor

Rating: 2

While few argue the value of the nonprofit, their financials are concerning. Their annual reports contain the minimum numbers. Concerns after viewing the audit: Largest increases by proportion are in administrative costs. The porportion of costs going towards paying people is increasing dramatically. Good cause, but it looks to me that it's not very frugal.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Wikimedia Foundation is an amazing organization that has really been a pioneer in the free information movement. Through their online encyclopedia in hundreds of languages, their network of chapters around the world, and their partnerships with like-minded organizations, they have been and continue to be the source for information online.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Wikimedia Foundation is the steward of some of the most important work taking place online, and in the world. Wikipedia in dozens of languages, a massive repository of images and other multimedia available for free use, and much more. Because of the organization's unique model, the Foundation's budget of under $10 million is sufficient to host a top-5 web site, and many other sites as well, without advertising. This is one of the most important charitable efforts on the planet.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I created the first wiki in 1995. The community of volunteers that assembled on my wiki, the work product they produced, and the software I wrote that supports them, have served as the inspiration for Wikipedia. I have watched Wikipedia grow from its inception. I have keynoted at the Wikimanina conference and serve on Wikimedia Foundation's advisory board. My own company, AboutUs.org, uses Mediawiki, the Foundation's open source wiki software. I have always been and continue to be impressed with the value that this organization produces. They understand every aspect and subtlety of my achievement and have gone on to amplify each one ten times over. The result is a singular contribution to humankind. I recognized early that my site's success depended on a complex trust relationship with my volunteer community. Wikipedia is similarly constrained. I recommend generous ongoing support through all philanthropic mechanisms so that Wikipedia can be preserved as a work and its volunteer community protected.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Wikimedia Foundation is doing outstanding work providing infrastructure and programs for Wikipedia and its sister projects. Its mission to bring the sum of all human knowledge to everyone is more than commendable. In just a few years, the Foundation has transformed from a small group of dedicated volunteers to a professionally-run organization supported by thousands worldwide.

2 MyWikiBiz

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I have grave concerns about this organization. Year after year, its Form 990 indicates that it is spending in the area of only 33%-50% of its total incoming revenues back out onto program services. More reputable charities see to it that at least 80% of their incomes gets to program services. Then, in January 2009, we found out that the Foundation needed additional office space. They performed a supposedly competitive search, and guess whom they chose to be their landlord? The privately-held for-profit company owned by the longest-serving Board member! Have they no sense of good governance and non-profit ethics? It is shameful.