Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation ?
The mission statement of the Wikimedia Foundation describes our current activities and purpose, the scope of our projects, and our core values. It stands in contrast to the vision statement. Our mission statement, an elaboration of the short version in the Articles of Incorporation and approved by a board resolution in April 2007, is:
Proposals to change the phrasing of the statement should be made at Mission/Unstable and proposals will be reviewed at least annually (every year).
Are you a charity?
Wikimedia is a non-profit charitable corporation organized under the laws of Florida, USA and physically located in San Francisco, California, USA. Fully audited, the Wikimedia Foundation is now listed as a charitable organization at Guidestar and its partner sites. The Wikimedia Foundation has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States.
Which projects do you support?
The Wikimedia Foundation supports Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia and one of the 10 most visited websites world-wide. From the founding of Wikipedia in January 2001, and the incorporation of the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2003, our growth has been staggering. The English-language Wikipedia, our first project, has expanded from 135,000 articles at the time of incorporation to more than 6,000,000 articles today. All Wikipedia languages combined contain more than 47,000,000 articles.
The Wikimedia Foundation also operates several projects beside Wikipedia, such as Wikimedia Commons, the repository of free images and other media, which contains more than 43,000,000 images, videos, and sound files. We also lead and support the development of MediaWiki, the open source wiki software behind almost all our public websites.
More information may be found on the page about our projects.
How is the Foundation run?
The Wikimedia Foundation has a staff of 302, led by the Executive Director, Sue Gardner. The staff supports the work of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who contribute content to the Wikimedia communities. It is also supported by countless volunteers participating through committees, as interns, or on an ad hoc basis.
The Board of Trustees articulates the mission and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, reviews and helps to develop long term plans, provides oversight, and supports the Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising efforts. It is the ultimate organizational authority of the Wikimedia Foundation as defined in its bylaws. See Meetings for published Board minutes and Resolutions for published Board resolutions. The Board is partially elected from the community of contributors to the Wikimedia projects.
We have one office, located in San Francisco, California (USA), where most of our employees are working. All other board members and staff work remotely.
Who are the members of Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees?
Biographies and terms of current board members can be found at Board.
The Board is supported by an Advisory Board, chaired by Angela Beesley.
Who are the members of the Wikimedia Foundation Staff?
Information about the current staff can be found at Staff.
How does the Foundation serve its mission?
There are several key ways:
- The Wikimedia Foundation owns the more than 300 servers used to run our projects, along with all the associated domain names and trademarks. It keeps the projects free of charge and free of advertising.
- We support strategic software development work on the MediaWiki software and associated tools which allow more people to participate, or allow the existing volunteer community to work more effectively. This includes tools specifically related to quality assurance.
- We develop learning resources, support workshops and strive to think intelligently about other ways to bring in new contributors, and to grow Wikimedia as an international movement for free knowledge.
- We try to bring the educational content from Wikimedia's projects to people in as many forms as possible. In particular, we want to help disadvantaged communities with limited connectivity to access free educational content, and to contribute to it.
In all this, we are supported by local chapters organized in many different countries.
How is the revenue spent?
A detailed overview of our planned spending can be found in our financial reports.
Where does the money come from?
The Wikimedia Foundation receives donations from more than 50 countries around the world. Most of the donations to WMF come from English-speaking countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia). Though individual donations are relatively small, their sheer numbers have ensured our success.
We are presently not considering advertising as a source of revenue.
The Wikimedia Foundation has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States. Donations made from other nations may also be tax deductible. See deductibility of donations for details. Please see our fundraising page for details of making donations via PayPal, MoneyBookers or by postal mail. For all other types of donation, please contact Sue Gardner at
Do you have audited financial statements?
Our financial statements have been audited for fiscal years 2004, 2005 and 2006 by Gregory Sharer & Stuart (www.gsscpa.com) and are compliant with generally accepted accounting principles.
Links to the financial statements: Financial statements 2006-2007
Latest financial information may be found at Finance report.
What is Wikia? Is it part of Wikipedia? Is it one of the Wikimedia Foundation projects?
Wikia, Inc. is a for-profit company which is completely separate from the Wikimedia Foundation. It was founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley. Wales is also the founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Beesley chairs its Advisory Board. Wikia uses the MediaWiki software developed for Wikipedia in order to allow individuals to create their own wiki communities. These wiki communities are supported by advertising. Wikia is also developing a search engine.
Wikimedia and Wikia have a healthy relationship, and people from one often contribute to the other. They are, however, completely separate. Wikimedia is a non-profit funded through donations, while Wikia is a for-profit funded through advertising. The two organizations are sometimes confused in media reports, since they share a founder.
What is Wikimania? Is it a Wikimedia project?
Wikimania is an annual conference organized by Wikimedia volunteers across the world. Its primary purpose is for the Wikimedia contributors to meet, and it is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the international movement for free knowledge. While not technically a Wikimedia project, the Foundation sponsors and assists the conference team in promotion, hosting, and financial issues. See Wikimania for more details about this conference.
How can I contact the Foundation?
See the Contact us page for details.