Archive:Press releases/Funddrive 2007

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Wikimedia Foundation Launches Global Fundraiser To Expand Worldwide Learning

Wikipedia—the World’s Fastest-Growing and Largest Encyclopedia—Depends On Volunteers and Public Support

Wikipedia is Extending New Learning Opportunities to South Africa and in Developing Nations

St. Petersburg, FL – October 22, 2007 — The Wikimedia Foundation, the renowned nonprofit dedicated to the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, today announced its annual fundraiser to expand world learning. Perhaps best known for Wikipedia, the world’s fastest-growing, most current and largest encyclopedia, the Wikimedia Foundation creates online educational projects that allow people to share their knowledge with others.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s projects have become a de facto virtual library that spans all languages and continents, attracts millions of volunteers and collects information from all corners of the world. As Wikipedia has become one of the most trusted and ubiquitous information tools available today, the Foundation has accelerated its efforts to create programs and tools to extend learning in the developing world and disadvantaged communities.

Next month, the Foundation is co-hosting a Wikipedia Academy in South Africa to help create more Wikipedias in African languages. The Wikipedia project is helping to preserve many smaller languages such as Maori (an Eastern Polynesian language spoken in New Zealand), Upper Sorbian (a Slavic language spoken in eastern Germany), and Basque (spoken in north-central Spain and southwestern France).

“We believe that everyone in the world should have access to education, regardless of race, nationality, gender, age or economic background,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikimedia Foundation. “We also believe that everyone has knowledge to contribute. Through the public’s support and the Foundation’s continued efforts, we expect to have a similar impact on communities in the most remote areas of the world as we have in more developed parts of the globe. It’s an exciting, moving and very real opportunity.”

With more than seven billion page views monthly, Wikipedia is one of the Web’s ten most-trafficked sites. The Wikimedia Foundation relies entirely on volunteer contributors and editors.

Individuals can contribute by visiting

About Wikipedia

The goal of the Wikipedia project is to create free encyclopedias in all languages of the world. Anyone with Internet access is free to contribute by writing new articles and editing existing articles.

Wikipedia started in January 2001, and currently offers more than eight million articles in 250 languages. The largest Wikipedia is in English, with more than two million articles; it's followed by the German and French editions, each of which contain more than half a million articles. Nine other language editions contain 100,000+ articles, and more than 100 other languages contain 1,000+ articles. Every month, new language editions launch.

Wikipedia is entirely created and maintained by a community of active volunteers. In 2004, Wikipedia won the Webby Award for "Community" and the Prix Ars Electronica's Golden Nica for "Digital Communities." Since the start of the project, more than 100,000 registered users have made at least ten edits each, and more than 3.4 million people have created accounts on the English Wikipedia alone. About the Wikimedia Foundation The Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging 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. It operates some of the largest collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world's 10 most-visited websites. The Foundation was created in 2003 by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.

Did you know? Quick Facts

• The Wikimedia Foundation’s projects, including Wikipedia, are created entirely by volunteers—there are no paid editors.

• Wikipedia is the world’s fastest growing, most current, and largest encyclopedia. Currently it exists in 250 language versions, and according to Alexa, it is one of the world’s top 10 websites.

• Wikipedia’s freely licensed content has been used in numerous educational programs in developing countries, including One Laptop Per Child and Unesco SOS Children's Village.

• Wikipedia’s smaller language versions have become intrinsic tools for smaller languages, such as Esperanto, where they serve as the largest reference source in that language. Additionally, Wikipedia encourages the practical use of these languages.

• Wiksource, a repository of primary and secondary source texts, is completing translations never before seen, including the translation of letters by Michelangelo and Galileo.

• The Wikimedia Foundation has chapters worldwide, including in France, Germany, Italy, Israel, The Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, the UK and Taiwan.

• MediaWiki, a free software wiki package originally written for Wikipedia and developed entirely by a dedicated core of techie volunteers, has been deployed as a collaborative knowledge management tool by international organizations and universities.

Our Projects

All of our educational projects are created entirely by volunteers, and can be freely downloaded by anyone in the world. The projects facilitate the exchange of knowledge, while at the same time provide world citizens with free educational resources.

• Wikipedia—Started in January 2001, Wikipedia is the world’s fastest growing, most current, and largest encyclopedia. Currently, there are 6 million articles in over 250 language versions. The site receives 7 billion page views monthly.

• Wikisource is a repository of free primary and secondary source texts. Started in November 2003, the project currently offers over 20,000 texts in several language versions. Items range from manuscripts written by Michelangelo to Britannica encyclopedias from 1911.

• Wikimedia Commons is a media repository for freely licensed photographs, animations, music, spoken text, video clips, and other types of useful media resources. Launched on September 7, 2004, Wikimedia Commons currently has over 2.0 million files and over 55,835 collections.

• Wikinews is a collaboratively written news site. Currently, the project has 22 language versions.

• Wikiversity is a repository of free learning materials and activities. Started in 2005, the project has two primary goals: to create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources and curricula for all age groups in all languages; and to develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials.

• Wikispecies is a free directory of species, currently available in 131 different languages. The directory covers animalia, plantae, fungi, bacteria, protista, and all other forms.

• Wikibooks is a collection of educational, non-fiction books, which range from Organic Chemistry textbooks to Art History study guides. Currently, the project has 24,186 modules in diverse languages.

• Wikiquote is an online compendium of quotations from notable people and creative works. Currently, it is available in 87 language versions.

• Wiktionary is a free, multilingual dictionary and thesaurus, and the lexicon companion to Wikipedia. The project provides definitions, etymologies, pronunciations, sample quotations, synonyms, and translations. Currently, there are 340,245 entries in 389 languages.