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Report for 2019−2020 Grantmaking report of the Wikimedia Foundation for the 2020−2021 fiscal year Report for 2021−2022


During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, the Wikimedia Foundation awarded 389 grants to mission-aligned organizations and people around the world, totaling $7,859,230. A majority of these Grant programs are led by the Community Resources team. Other programs such as Wikicite, Wikimania and other small grants were supported by teams such as Communications, Community Programs and Partnerships, and support the Foundation's medium-term efforts towards a Thriving Movement.

Overall, the analysis shows a growing effort over the past few years to direct more grants to parts of the world that have been historically left out. However, only 37% of funds go to emerging communities. This is an increase from the trend in the last 10 years (averaging 25% between 2010 and 2020). However, there is still a need to increase the funds going to these communities and the Community Resources team is hopeful that the new strategy and regional committee structures will help achieve this movement-wide goal.

In terms of regional participation, there was an important increase in funding going to Sub-Saharan Africa (more than doubling the amount compared to 2020), as well as a slight increase in South Asia and the Middle East, and Northern Africa. However, it has been harder for smaller grantees to transition to larger annual funds; the Community Resources team hopes to address this challenge with the new grants strategy, offering more flexibility, support, and peer-to-peer learning. Europe and North America account for 40% and 18% of the funds respectively, and much of the focus of the new strategy will be on learning from communities with many years of grant experience, seeking sustainability and measurable impact, and working towards greater equity and diversity.

This past fiscal year, the proportion of new grantees grew from 43% (2020) to 52% (2021). However, new grantees usually receive smaller funding, accounting for only 18% of funds, as the vast majority begin with Rapid Grants. Efforts need to continue to work with communities to reduce barriers for newcomers, and develop diverse paths for emerging communities that fit contextual opportunities and needs for movement growth and diversity.

Looking forward, Foundation Funds are expected to be a primary driver towards Knowledge Equity, notably through the Community Resources' Grants Strategy Relaunch, which aims to align grantmaking with the Strategic Direction and Movement Strategy Recommendations, specifically the recommendation of Ensuring equity in decision-making.

Designing the new strategy involved consultations with the communities to explore the role of the Foundation and of the communities in grant programs and processes and to discuss equitable allocation of funds. New regional funds committees have engaged in a three-month learning program to reflect on equity, diversity, and inclusion and what it means in their region and opportunities for Wikimedia Foundation Funds. The new strategy also includes a new learning and evaluation framework to work with grantees to better understand, communicate and share the impact of their work and contribution towards Movement Strategy goals.

Note: This report is not an analysis of impact. Most work funded by a grant in 2020–2021 is still underway. This report focuses on where grant funds have gone, whom they have gone to, and what kind of work they are intended for.

Grant programs[edit]

Confidence: High confidence High
The source data is reliable and the analysis straightforward.

The 2020-2021 will be the final year of operation for these grant programs as the new Wikimedia Foundation Funds were launched in July 2021.

Grants aim to support communities and:

  • Build healthy communities and effective organizations that deliver on impactful programs;
  • Innovate new ideas for programs and technology in the service of Wikimedia’s content and communities;
  • Grow, sustain, and scale the most successful ideas.

During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, the Wikimedia Foundation offered five types of grants:

  • Rapid Grants (since 2015) provide quick support for projects with a budget between $500 and $2000.
  • Project Grants (since 2016) support projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement and have a minimum budget of $2,000.
  • Conference & Event Grants (since 2015) provide funding and planning support for conferences that bring Wikimedians together.
  • Simple Annual Plan Grants (SAPG, since 2015) fund a group or organization's programs and operating expenses for around 6–12 months for up to $120,000.
  • FDC Annual Plan Grants (APG, since 2012) fund formal organizations through general operating support. APG grants have no funding limit.

In the 2020–2021 fiscal year, most of the funds went to supporting programs and operating expenses of groups and organizations through the Annual Plan Grants (APG, 51% of funds) and Simple Annual Plan Grants (SAPG, 14% of funds). However, APG and SAPG combined represent less than 10% of all grants submitted; low-cost Rapid grants, which add up to 6% of all funds, account for 75% of all grants funded in the fiscal year.

Looking back between 2010 and 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation has redistributed $64,267,604 to the Wikimedia movement through over 3,000 grants. Last year's grantmaking report, which was the first of its kind, offered more details about Wikimedia grantmaking over the past decade.[1]

Geography and income level[edit]

Confidence: High confidence High
The source data is reliable and was matched with a reference list.

Using categories from the World Bank, we can categorize the country of record of the grants into geographical regions. In the 2020–2020 fiscal year, a large part of total grant funds went to Europe & Central Asia (41%) and North America (18%). However, those two regions combined represent only a quarter of the number of grants during this period. In contrast, grantees in Sub-Saharan Africa received 16% of funds during the year, but accounted for half the number of grants.

The distribution of funds and grants is consistent with the breakdown by grant type. Well-established grantees in Europe & Central Asia, and North America, are more likely to be funded through Annual plan grants (Simple APG and APG), which distribute large amounts through fewer grants. In contrast, emerging communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are more likely to apply for more Project or Rapid grants of smaller amounts. Rapid grants have been an important entry point for newcomers in Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for 38% of the funding and distributed in 16 countries. In Latin America, the main entry point for newcomers has been Project grants accounting for 25% of the funding distributed in 5 countries.

Comparing year over year shows visible efforts to direct resources more intentionally towards people who have been left out by structures of power and privilege. Sub-Saharan Africa only received 6% of funds last year, compared to 16% this year.

Looking at grants over the past ten years, the share of funds going to Europe & Central Asia has been declining for the past five years, from more than 75% to nearly over 40% in 2021.

The World Bank also classifies countries according to income level, which provides a sense of equity in grantmaking, independent of geographical region. During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, a large majority of funds still went to grantees in high-income countries (63%). Upper-middle-income countries received (15%) of funds and the Community Resources team expects to see higher growth for those countries in the coming year. Grantees in lower-middle-income and low-income countries accounted for 61% of the number of grants, but received 22% of the funds. However, there too intentional efforts are visible, since that share doubled since last year, when grantees in lower-middle-income and low-income countries received only 11% of the funds.

A look at trends over the past ten years indicates a slow decline in the share of funds going to grantees in high-income countries.

Foundation priorities[edit]

Confidence: Medium confidence Medium
The data is a mix of manual coding and matching with a reference list.[2]

Emerging Communities[edit]

In 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) defined emerging communities as "the set of projects, languages, and countries where: there is great potential for an increase in quantity and quality of Wikimedia work, and 2. there is, locally, insufficient capacity to realize that potential, and 3. there is an existing active core of self-motivated volunteers, which therefore WMF could effectively devote some proactive resources to support and nurture." (The term "emerging communities" in this context does not necessarily relate to the income level of the country; for example, Singapore, Ireland, and New Zealand are all classified as emerging communities.)

Since then, the Foundation has sought to increase grantmaking efforts towards Emerging communities.

In the 2020–2021 fiscal year, grantees from countries listed as Emerging received 37% of all funds, and represented 63% of all grants.[3] The share of funds allocated to grantees in countries listed as Emerging has been slowly increasing over the past few years.

Gender Gap[edit]

Another focus of the Wikimedia movement over the past decade has been addressing the Gender gap, both in terms of content (content gender gap) and communities (participation gender gap). In 2013, the Wikimedia Foundation started recording whether grants had a gender gap focus;[4] since then, the share of funds allocated to such grants has been increasing, as well as the number of grants with a gender gap focus. During the 2020–2021 fiscal year, 36% of grant funds had a gender gap focus, almost double the amount of funds with a gender gap focus last year.[5] Since 2013, more than $9.1 million have been allocated to grants with a gender gap focus.

With the new funds strategy emphasis  will be made in identifying how Wikimedia Foundation Funds address a number of existing content and contribution gaps in the dimensions highlighted in the Knowledge Gap Taxonomy.


Confidence: High confidence High
The source data is reliable and the analysis straightforward.

In the 2020–2021 fiscal year, over half of grantees had not received a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation before, a sharp increase from 43% last year.[6] Almost 20% of all grant funds went to new grantees, again a sharp increase from only 7% last year. The share of new grantees is largely due to the growth of rapid and project funds, as well as a concerted effort on behalf of the Community Resources team to work with emerging communities closer to their regional contexts and dynamics to better support the access to funding opportunities.


  1. Note that Wikimania scholarships are now labelled "Wikimania," instead of "WMS."
  2. See the note in last year's report for more information on the level of confidence for this section.
  3. See the note in last year's report for more information on how this was calculated.
  4. Note that, in the past year, program officers manually re-coded a significant number of grants, for example to correct their gender gap focus. This accounts for changes in the historical record and therefore differences in trend lines over the years.
  5. Because program officers manually re-coded past grants, there is a discrepancy between the proportion of funds reported last year as having a gender gap focus in 2019−2020 (16%) and the same proportion recalculated this year for 2019−2020 (19%).
  6. Note that the charts show a slightly different breakdown, due to the fact that some new grantees return for another grant in the same fiscal year. They are thus counted as both new and returning grantees in the same year. This double-counting causes a total number of grantees that exceeds 100%, which shifts the boundary in the normalized charts.