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Archive:Press releases/Hewlett Foundation grant August 2009

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Wikimedia Foundation receives $500,000 in operational support from Hewlett Foundation

August 20, 2009

San Francisco - The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has received a $500,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to expand its work bringing free educational content to everyone on the planet.

With this grant, the Hewlett Foundation acknowledges the important role Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia Foundation projects play in making educational information freely accessible.

“The enormous popularity of Wikipedia and its collaborative premise make the Wikimedia Foundation an ideal vehicle for spreading the open educational resources movement,” said Barbara Chow, director of the education program at Hewlett. “We look forward to a fruitful relationship.”

The grant to the Wikimedia Foundation is part of more than $100 million in grants since 2001 that the Hewlett Foundation has made to promote Open Educational Resources around the world. The movement promotes the availability of high quality educational materials that anyone can use and edit for free.

Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said her organization is committed to being an integral part of the Open Educational Resources community.

"The Hewlett Foundation's support comes at a critical time,” Gardner said. “We’ve just begun the planning that will help us identify how to maximize our impact around the world. This support will help us to execute our priorities for the current year, and enable us to plan for the future."

As part of its current strategic planning process, the Wikimedia Foundation recently launched a first Call for Proposals from the Wikimedia community, through a public wiki at <http://strategy.wikimedia.org>. The planning process will bring together volunteers and stakeholders to examine strategies to improve the reach, participation, and quality of Wikimedia's projects. Growth in these three areas will significantly enhance the role of Wikimedia's projects as Open Educational Resources.

In addition to its strategic planning process, Wikimedia's priorities for the current fiscal year include two major initiatives to improve the user-friendliness of Wikimedia's software, the development of a set of training materials to engage new potential volunteer editors, the establishment of key metrics tracking Wikimedia's impact, and improved access to Wikimedia project data for researchers.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization which operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 300 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property world-wide (June, 2009). Available in more than 265 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 12 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About Open Educational Resources

The World Wide Web presents an extraordinary opportunity for people and institutions everywhere to create, share, and use valuable educational materials. Open Educational Resources, as these free tools and content are called, can include full courses, textbooks, streaming videos, exams, software, and any other materials or techniques supporting learning.

With The Hewlett Foundation's help, the field of Open Educational Resources has become a worldwide movement. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers materials from 1,800 courses online. European SchoolNet, an international partnership of more than thirty European ministries of education, brings together K-12 materials from many of its organizations. OER Commons allows teachers and professors from around the world to collaborate.

For more information, contact:

Jay Walsh
Wikimedia Foundation
+1 415-839-6885, ext 609