Wikimedia Foundation Gift Policy
This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by Wikimedia Foundation officers or staff nor local policies of any Wikimedia project.
This policy was initially approved by the board in 2007–2008 with Resolution:Gift Policy. It was most recently revised in February 2021 with Resolution:Gift Policy Amendments, 2021
Gifts and grants serve to support Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to encourage the growth, development, and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. 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 Foundation defines the basic guidelines governing acceptance and acknowledgment of gifts and grants to further its mission.
Gifts Not Requiring Board Notice
The Wikimedia Foundation will accept differing types of grants and gifts without requiring board notice, including:
- Cash and cash-equivalent gifts, offered without condition, of up to $250,000.
- Publicly traded securities, which will be liquidated upon receipt, up to $250,000 in value.
The Wikimedia Foundation 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 $1 million.
- 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 $1 million.
Gifts may be reviewed for purpose and fit prior to acceptance.
Gifts Requiring Board Notice
The Wikimedia Foundation takes its commitments to our donors very seriously. To help ensure that we honor those commitments, the foundation shall provide the Board of Trustee with notice and the opportunity to review gifts or private grants to the Foundation which:
- are valued in excess of $250,000;
- include any restriction on how the gift may be used;
- do not conform with approved Foundation policies; or
- obligate the Foundation 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 Foundation cannot meet the commitment to the donor or if the grant obligates the foundation to unfavorable terms.
The Foundation shall also provide the Board of Trustees 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 $100,000 USD or equivalent value.
The Foundation may accept any pledges and gifts/private grants that do not require Board notice according to this policy. The Foundation reserves the right to refuse any gift. The Foundation reviews gift offers to ensure that the terms are in conformity with Foundation policy and do not unduly restrict the usefulness or desirability of the gift.
The Wikimedia Foundation encourages donors to make gifts for unrestricted use. The Foundation 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 Foundation. 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.
Donors may commit to future gifts ("pledges"), which the Foundation will generally treat as gifts of cash.
Required Accompanying Documentation
Electronic donations made on the Foundation 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 Foundation 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 Foundation to:
- combine the endowment with other funds for investment purposes;
- transfer the income to the principal;
- authorize the Executive Director to identify a new purpose if the original purpose is no longer valid, and to transfer funds to other Foundation priorities;
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.
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 or department that the employee or Board member administers). All such gifts should be assigned to an account over which the Executive Director has signature authorization that is not shared by the designated recipient.
Accepting Gifts of Securities
The Foundation is the official custodian of all securities (e.g., stocks and bonds). When securities are received by any department, that fact should be made known immediately to the Executive Director or to an officer delegated by the Executive Director.
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 Executive Director or to an officer delegated by the Executive Director. 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 Executive Director or an officer delegated by the Executive Director should be consulted in advance concerning prior acknowledgment of a testamentary gift.
Gifts-in-kind may only be accepted by the Executive Director or by an officer delegated in writing by the Executive Director with the authority to accept such a gift.
Donor Benefits and Constraints
The Wikimedia Foundation 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 Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization operating under United States law as a Florida corporation.
The Wikimedia Foundation does not normally offer naming opportunities.
The Wikimedia Foundation does not typically cover donors' donation-related expenses such as travel, shipping, and appraisals.
Anti-Harassment Policy Statement
The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to maintaining an environment that is courteous, respectful and free from harassing behaviors for its employees, contractors, and interns.
The Wikimedia Foundation 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 Wikimedia’s internal Office Wiki. The Wikimedia Foundation 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 February 24, 2021. The policy will be reviewed annually by the Audit committee of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, to consider any necessary recommendations for improvements.