Wikimedia Endowment Gift Policy

From Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki


Gifts and grants serve to support Wikimedia Endowment as the permanent fund that can support in perpetuity the operations and activities of current and future Wikimedia projects. This work is made possible, in part, by donations made by individuals and organizations from around the globe. We are incredibly grateful for their support, and we are committed to honoring the wishes of our donors. Through this policy, Wikimedia Endowment defines the basic guidelines governing acceptance and acknowledgment of gifts and grants to further its mission.


#1 Gifts Not Requiring Board Notice

The Wikimedia Endowment may accept differing types of grants and gifts without requiring board notice, including:

  • Cash and cash-equivalent gifts, offered without condition, of up to US$1,000,000.
  • Publicly traded securities, which will be liquidated upon receipt, up to US$1,000,000 in value.

The Wikimedia Endowment may accept the following, subject to the other provisions of this policy:

  • Real estate, subject to title search and environmental audit. Real estate will be sold within two years of donation. Minimum value of a gift of real estate must be US$1,000,000.
  • Other assets, including but not limited to stock in closely held businesses, patents, stock options, collectibles such as artwork, manuscripts and copyrighted works, stamps, coins, and memorabilia, provided that the minimum value of such gifts, in themselves or as part of a larger gift, is US$1,000,000.

Gifts may be reviewed for purpose and fit prior to acceptance.

#2 Gifts Requiring Board Notice

The Wikimedia Endowment takes its commitments to our donors very seriously. To help ensure that we honor those commitments, the Endowment shall provide the Board of Trustee with notice and the opportunity to review gifts or private grants to the Endowment which:

  • are valued in excess of US$1,000,000;
  • include any restriction on how the gift may be used;
  • do not conform with approved Endowment policies; or
  • obligate the Endowment to expenditures or costs for which there is no established fund source.

In most cases, the Board will be given 7 business days to decline a proposed gift or private grant if they feel that the Endowment cannot meet the commitment to the donor or if the grant obligates the Endowment to unfavorable terms.

The Endowment shall also provide the Board of Directors with notice for information only, on a quarterly basis, for any donations (or cumulative donations from an individual donor or entities controlled by an individual donor-controlled) that exceed US$100,000 or equivalent value.

The Endowment may accept any pledges and gifts/private grants that do not require Board notice according to this policy. The Endowment reserves the right to refuse any gift. The Endowment reviews gift offers to ensure that the terms are in conformity with Endowment policy and do not unduly restrict the usefulness or desirability of the gift.

#3 Restricted Gifts

The Wikimedia Endowment encourages donors to make gifts for unrestricted use. The Endowment may accept gifts with appropriate restrictions for particular purposes or projects. These gifts may be subject to additional review. When a donor wishes to make a restricted gift, that donor may determine gift parameters in advance with the Wikimedia Endowment. Such parameters may include the following:

  • Donation amount and type
  • Restrictions and designation
  • Gift date
  • Distribution term
  • Reporting requirements
  • Provisions for disposition of gifts when the purpose or project terminates or becomes impossible to achieve.

#4 Pledges

Donors may commit to future gifts ("pledges"), which the Endowment will generally treat as gifts of cash.

#5 Required Accompanying Documentation

Electronic donations made on the Endowment website do not need further declaration of donor's intent. In-kind donations, such as computer or office equipment may be accompanied by a declaration of donor's intent, and delivery should be arranged with Endowment staff. Gifts must also be accompanied by other documentation as required by applicable state and federal law.

Endowments may be accompanied by a statement in writing from the donor, which may:

  • express the donor's intent to make a gift;
  • describe the gift;
  • declare the irrevocability of the transfer;
  • if the donor wishes, designate the purpose(s) for which the gift is to be used; * authorize the Endowment to:
  • combine the endowment with other funds for investment purposes;
  • transfer the income to the principal;
  • authorize the Endowment to identify a new purpose if the original purpose is no longer valid, and to transfer funds to other Endowment priorities;

#6 Determining Value of Gift

The dollar amount of a gift/private grant shall be the amount of cash actually received; or, if in the form of a pledge, the full amount pledged; or the equivalent to the fair market value of securities or other property. The valuation of stock depends upon the date of its receipt.

#7 Conflicts of Interest

There may be a conflict of interest if the acceptance of a gift is placed in a fund in which the recipient retains control of expenditures (e.g., if an employee or Board member makes a gift in support of a project that the employee or Board member administers). All such gifts should be assigned to an account over which the President has signature authorization that is not shared by the designated recipient.

#8 Accepting Gifts of Securities

The Endowment is the official custodian of all securities (e.g., stocks and bonds). When securities are received by the Endowment, that fact should be made known immediately to the President or to an officer delegated by the President.

#9 Accepting Bequests or Devises

All papers and documents relating to probate matters, including notices of hearings, wills, documentary evidence of assets, and forms of receipt for distribution as assets, should be forwarded promptly to the President or to an officer delegated by the President. Acknowledgment of a testamentary gift is generally made after distribution from the estate. In some cases, however, acknowledgment prior to receipt may be appropriate. The President or an officer delegated by the President should be consulted in advance concerning prior acknowledgment of a testamentary gift.

#10 Accepting Gifts-in-Kind

Gifts-in-kind may only be accepted by the President or by an officer delegated in writing by the President with the authority to accept such a gift.

Donor Benefits and Constraints

#1 Tax Consequences

The Wikimedia Endowment is unable to offer tax advice to would-be donors. Donors who are concerned about tax-deductibility of donations should consult with their own tax advisers. The Endowment is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization operating under United States law as a California California nonprofit public benefit corporation.

#2 Naming Opportunities

The Wikimedia Endowment does not normally offer naming opportunities.

#3 Donor Expenses

The Wikimedia Endowment does not typically cover donors' donation-related expenses such as travel, shipping, and appraisals.

Anti-Harassment Policy Statement

The Wikimedia Endowment is committed to maintaining an environment that is courteous, respectful and free from harassing behaviors for its employees, contractors, and interns.

The Wikimedia Endowment employees, contractors, and interns have the right to refuse to interact with any donor, potential donor, or supporter. Employees, contractors, and interns who observe or believe they are the subject of harassment are strongly encouraged to report such incidents to the appropriate channels, documented in the Wikimedia Endowment's internal policies. The Wikimedia Endowment prohibits any retaliation against an employee, contractor, or intern who reports a concern about workplace harassment, other inappropriate behavior or assists in any inquiry about such a report.

Review and Updates: This policy was last updated on 27 January 2022. The policy will be reviewed annually by the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors of the Wikimedia Endowment, to consider any necessary recommendations for improvements.