Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Washington, DC   |  www.wikimediafoundation.org

Mission

Through Wikipedia and our sister projects, the Wikimedia Foundation is empowering people around the world to collect and develop knowledge under a free license, and to disseminate that knowledge effectively and globally. In collaboration with a network of Wikimedia affiliates the Foundation provides the essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support and development of projects and initiatives that serve this mission.

Ruling year info

2005

Chief Executive Officer

Maryana Iskander

Main address

PO BOX 98204

Washington, DC 20090 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-0049703

NTEE code info

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Access to knowledge is a fundamental right – a human and civil right that changes and improves the lives of individuals and entire communities. The Wikimedia Foundation has created the largest source of shared knowledge in human history: 58 million Wikipedia articles in 300 languages. Every month, volunteer editors expand Wikipedia by more than 200,000 new articles. Every month, people on our sites read more than 15 billion pages. Because we're a nonprofit that operates our projects in the public interest, every article and every pageview is free. Anyone with an Internet connection – no matter where they are – can utilize Wikipedia and get the information they want. Giving people unfettered access to the world's available knowledge is critical to having an informed, well-functioning society. Large segments of the world rely on Wikipedia's depth of knowledge. But we can do better. We can reach more people. We can impact more lives. That's the need we're continuing to address.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Support and operate free knowledge websites, including Wikipedia

The Wikimedia Foundation operates eleven free educational websites that together bring free knowledge to millions of people every month. Our supported sites include Wikimedia Commons (the free multimedia repository), Wikibooks (a free collection of books), and Wikisource (a free collection of primary source materials), along with Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia. These sites are edited by tens of thousands of people and collectively generate billions of pageviews each month. The Wikimedia Foundation provides critical support for the Wikimedia sites and the communities of people who read and contribute to the sites. In addition to running the servers, we make constant, often invisible improvements to the way Wikipedia and its sister sites work. This means making Wikipedia available wherever you are, on desktop and mobile. We improve the security of the sites, so we can protect the privacy and safety of our readers and editors as they explore Wikipedia’s vast knowledge.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Preteens
Adolescents

Where we work

Awards

Economist Innovation Awards 2008

The Economist, Business Process category

Quadriga 2008

Quadriga, a German award handed out every year to recognize four people or organizations that “try to create a better world through courage, dedication, and responsible action.”

Web of the year 2007

Yahoo! Japan Web of the Year 2007, in the "Web of the Year" and "Information Resource on the Web" categories

Public Choice in the Category Knowlege, News & Information 2009

OnlineStar

Erasmus Prize 2015

Praemium Erasmianum Foundation

Princess of Asturias Award 2015

Princess of Asturias Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of online pages our users view

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Support and operate free knowledge websites, including Wikipedia

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Wikimedia Foundation's projects collectively generate more than 20 billion pageviews a month, as of November 2020. See https://stats.wikimedia.org.

Number of unique devices engaged with our sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Support and operate free knowledge websites, including Wikipedia

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

#s here are monthly. See http://blog.wikimedia.org/2016/03/30/unique-devices-dataset/ and https://stats.wikimedia.org/#/all-wikipedia-projects/reading/unique-devices/normal|line|2-year|(access-site)~m

Number of new Wikimedia edits

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Support and operate free knowledge websites, including Wikipedia

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric tells is how many edits our contributors make to Wikipedia and our other sites monthly. See https://stats.wikimedia.org/#/all-projects/contributing/edits/normal|bar|2-year|~total|monthly

Number of Wikipedia editors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Support and operate free knowledge websites, including Wikipedia

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Editors who make at least one edit a month. This is a baseline number since the number is higher than 250,000. See https://stats.wikimedia.org/#/all-projects and search for "editors" and "Wikipedia."

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge." This was the statement that guided Wikipedia in its 2001 founding. More than 20 years later, this original vision continues to inspire the people who work at the Wikimedia Foundation. The Foundation was established in 2003, and Wikipedia has since grown from 200,000 articles in a handful of languages to more than 55 million articles across 300 languages. Every month, people around the world view Wikipedia more than 15 billion times.

Even with this success, there is much more to accomplish. Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation sets clearly defined project goals in our annual plan and evaluates our work over the year in an annual report. Our latest annual report can be found at https://wikimediafoundation.org/about/annualreport/2020-annual-report/. And our latest annual plan is at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Medium-term_plan_2019/Annual_Plan_2021-2022

Three key focus areas of our 2021-2022 annual plan are:

1) Ensuring a thriving movement. We need to ensure that the volunteer contributors whose work drives Wikipedia and our other projects have the systems they need to succeed and the tools and information to safely succeed within those systems. For the 2021-2022 fiscal year, we are addressing key movement governance issues, including a movement charter, leadership training, and creating enforcing mechanisms for our Universal Code of Conduct. Among other things, we are also addressing ways to be more welcoming to diverse contributors, with systems encouraging global growth.

2) Ensuring an evolved platform on which that movement can thrive. In order to ensure that our technical systems can support our aspirations for equitable, global growth we are focusing on ensuring that our platform and processes are ready and able to invite all of the world’s population to join us in creating and sharing free knowledge. This includes making our content more machine readable and scaling our ability to use relationships between content. We are working to ensure that people in emerging communities have the same level of performance for their contribution workflows as those in established communities.

3) Ensuring a resilient and inclusive Foundation to carry out this work. A resilient, inclusive organization is essential to meet the needs of our growing global movement, and to champion free knowledge throughout the world. To do this we maintain a massive and complex technical collaboration platform, steward Wikimedia’s public image, drive readership and use of Wikimedia content, fund a global network of volunteers and affiliates, and advocate for free knowledge around the world. In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, we will continue to invest in creating a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace.

The Wikimedia Foundation is guided by detailed strategies that we've formulated with each of our departments and with our volunteer communities -- the thousands of writers, editors, photographers, and other contributors around the world who comprise such a major part of our sites' success. We outline our strategies for making our priorities happen at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Medium-term_plan_2019/Annual_Plan_2021-2022 and at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Wikimedia_Foundation%27s_2021-2022_Annual_Plan_Overview.pdf. Here are ways we’re implementing our priorities for the 2021-2022 fiscal year:

* To ensure a thriving movement: We’re implementing a new grants strategy that’s aligned with our strategic direction and local decision making, which we believe will result in content and editor growth in underrepresented communities. In July 2021, we announced the grants strategy (see https://diff.wikimedia.org/2021/07/15/community-resources-announces-new-funding-strategy/), which decentralizes decision-making as we work with regional committees to reach underrepresented communities -- including through a new Community Fund that offers flexible support and funding for volunteer Wikimedia contributors. In October, we detailed our new Wikimedia Alliances Fund (see https://diff.wikimedia.org/2021/10/25/launch-of-the-wikimedia-alliances-fund/), which supports organizations that share our values to amplify free knowledge in underrepresented regions. The Alliances Fund is designed to increase the skills of contributors and editors, bring in more content to the Wikimedia projects, and increase awareness of the projects.

* To ensure an evolved platform on which that movement can thrive: During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, we’re continuing to expand on our ongoing desktop improvement project (see https://diff.wikimedia.org/2021/08/12/the-story-behind-wikipedias-upcoming-new-look/). The work, which introduces features that allow Wikipedia to be more intuitive for internet users, was developed in close consultation with our global community, piloting a range of changes on different language Wikipedias to develop compelling reading and editing features -- including improved searching. Another key direction: Bolstering the work that we’re doing with machine learning, which will make the knowledge on the Wikimedia projects more discoverable. See https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Machine_Learning.

* To ensure a resilient and inclusive Foundation to carry out this work: To help implement this, we’re making sure that all Foundation staff have access to engaging, accessible learning opportunities that drive the needed skills and capabilities for our mission; we’re making sure that Foundation leadership has access to organizational data, insights, and dashboards for impactful decision making; and we’re doing racial-equity trainings for all people managers and doing at least two Diversity Equity Inclusion workshops for staff.

As a nonprofit that has existed for almost 20 years, the Wikimedia Foundation has a strong track record of accomplishment, of steady growth, of being efficient at using financial support, and of having a measurable impact on the way people access and use knowledge. We are the largest nonprofit website in the world, and the world's greatest collaborative information source. We are led by an experienced staff and board of trustees who are among the most accomplished in their field, with decades of experience in engineering and product development, community development, media and editorial leadership, law, advocacy, and nonprofit administration.

From the Wikimedia Foundation's beginnings in 2003, we have continued to innovate, resulting in a wide range of initiatives that have benefited millions of readers around the world. In our second year, for example, we created Wikimedia Commons (​​https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page), which is the Wikimedia Foundation's online repository of media files -- photographs, video, and audio -- that are free to use, remix, and share just like Wikipedia's articles. Wikimedia Commons now has more than 80 million media files, and each year, people upload tens of thousands of photos to Commons through the Wiki Loves Monuments contest, which has set a record as the world's largest photo competition.

We also create new tools for editors as a way to make it easier and more efficient to contribute to Wikipedia. In January 2015, we introduced a Content Translation Tool that aids editors in translating existing Wikipedia articles into other languages (see https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Content_translation). The tool has led to more than 1 million new articles in more than 200 languages (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslationStats), and we're regularly introducing new features and improvements to the Content Translation Tool. Most of the world's web content is in English, but many of the millions of people coming online speak a language other than English.

Another example of our innovative ways: In July 2020, we announced Abstract Wikipedia, a project that gives us a new way to generate baseline encyclopedic content in a multilingual fashion. The multi-year project will allow more contributors and more readers to share more knowledge in more languages -- leading to millions and millions of new articles across Wikipedia. We continue to make noteworthy progress, as we document at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Abstract_Wikipedia.

In the past decade, the Wikimedia Foundation has accomplished an extraordinary feat: We've worked with volunteer contributors around the world to make Wikipedia the most extensive free knowledge resource in the world. In 2003, when the Wikimedia Foundation first began operations, Wikipedia had fewer than 200,000 articles, including 115,000 in English. Today, Wikipedia has 58 million articles across nearly 300 languages. Wikipedia also has 11 sister sites, including Wikimedia Commons, which has 80 million media files. Today, our websites are among the most visited in the world, read by people on every continent. The world comes to the Wikimedia sites to gain knowledge and to share knowledge, but there is still so much more knowledge to share on Wikipedia, and so many more people to reach around the world.

Billions of people are coming online in the next 10 years, and we need to make Wikipedia available in their language, on their device, across all regions of the world. This holds great promise - and huge implications - for how humans create and share knowledge, and the Wikimedia Foundation is focused on how to anticipate and adapt to these changes.

Every day, new knowledge is added to Wikipedia, and we must continue to support the community of contributors around the world that make Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites possible. As our community has grown, the Foundation has also created new ways to support them. We’ve introduced a grant-making capacity, so that community members and organizations can apply for funding and resources to help support outreach in their local countries and languages. We've introduced programs that help community members integrate their efforts with local cultural and education institutions, such as museums, libraries, and universities. We also have programs to grow and diversify the languages, communities, and cultures represented on Wikipedia. We know this will make us an even better resource for all people, in all parts of the world. We're looking to continue and expand the support of this community as we look to the future.

These are just a handful of areas where we're looking to improve and expand our work in the coming years. We look forward to improving Wikipedia and our other knowledge projects side by side with our community of contributors -- including the projects’ millions of donors.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    With Wikipedia and our other knowledge websites, the Wikimedia Foundation serves a global audience of hundreds of millions of people. As we detail in the “pageviews by country” section of our public statistics pages, our users live in every country of the world -- from Fiji to Argentina; from the United States and Canada to Madagascar and Malaysia. Our users are in nearly every age group, from young students to retirees -- all of whom use Wikipedia to learn about specific subjects. The volunteer contributors who edit and curate our knowledge sources are also from around the world. As we note on our foundation’s website (https://wikimediafoundation.org/our-work/), “We help everyone share in the sum of all knowledge.”

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The feedback that we get for the Wikimedia projects is from both readers and volunteer contributors. Both groups are crucial to the success and continued growth of Wikipedia and our other projects. Contributors add content to Wikipedia and our other projects, and each year, the Wikimedia Foundation does a "community wishlist survey" that asks contributors what new technical work we can do to improve their contributions (and, by extension, improve the Wikimedia projects). After each year, we publish the results of the top projects that our technology team works on. Our latest survey results are here: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Wishlist_Survey_2021/Results.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Wikipedia and our other knowledge websites operate on fundamental principles of collaboration, so feedback from contributors has been essential from Wikipedia’s first articles in 2001. And the ongoing feedback that we get -- whether it’s from our annual wishlist survey or from emails and messages that we get through our “Contact” page (https://wikimediafoundation.org/about/contact/) -- give users a viable way to comment on and influence what happens on our projects. We actively listen to users. We always have. So those who use the Wikimedia projects have always had an outlet to change the projects -- and to get involved, whether it’s contributing or even running for a community seat on our Board of Trustees (https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/Board_elections).

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Nataliia Tymkiv

No Affiliation

Term: 2016 - 2022

Jimmy Wales

Nataliia Tymkiv

Dariusz Jemielniak

Esra'a Al Shafei

Raju Narisetti

Shani Sigalov

Tanya Capuano

Luis Bitencourt-Emilio

Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight

Victoria Doronina

Lorenzo Losa

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/25/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.