January 3, 2009

Wikipedia Reaches $6m Goal

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, posted a thank you letter on Friday in response to the over 125,000 donors who helped the online user-submitted encyclopedia reach its fundraising goal for fiscal year 2008.

Since July 1, over 125,000 Wikipedia users donated $4 million in addition to gifts and support totaling $2 million to the Wikimedia foundation.

The foundation said about 50,000 contributors chipped in a total of $2 million within just eight days following a request letter posted by Wales in December 2008.

"This combined revenue will cover our operating expenses for the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2009," Wales wrote in his letter addressed to Wikipedia readers.

The foundation reached its fundraising goal about six months ahead of time.

Donations will be spent to continue the development of the open source software, to respond to requests from the volunteer community, to expand Wikimedia's international volunteer community, as well as to pay for financial, administrative, legal, and fundraising expenses, according to the foundation's Web site.

The foundation received $1.3 million in contributions two years ago and $2.2 million last year.

Last month the Stanton Foundation gave $890,000 to make Wikipedia's editing process more user-friendly.

Also, in March 2008, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced its donation of $3 million, which will be paid in $1 million annual installments.

Wales said any other contributions beyond the $6 million mark will be placed in a reserve fund, "which will help us to offset operating costs beyond the current fiscal year."

Headquartered in San Francisco, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation was formally approved as an educational foundation in the category "Adult, Continuing Education" by the Internal Revenue Service in April 2005.


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