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Sixth Annual Campaign to Protect Wikipedia Kicks Off

Wikimedia Foundation Invites Readers, Editors and Contributors to show support and help raise over $7.5 million

SAN FRANCISCO, November 10, 2009 — "Wikipedia Forever" is the bold proclamation and call to action that can be found currently among banners on the free encyclopedia. Today the Wikimedia Foundation launched its 2009 campaign to raise the funds needed to protect Wikipedia as a space for the free and open sharing of human knowledge. This year's online annual giving campaign aims to raise over $7.5 million to support the Foundation's overall annual spending of $9.4 million.

“Wikipedia has become more than just a website,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of the free online encyclopedia, which is now one of the five most popular websites in the world according to comScore. “For millions of people, it’s become an indispensable part of their daily lives.”

Funds raised by the campaign will be used to defray normal operating costs such as the cost of bandwidth and servers, as well as to support projects aimed at making Wikipedia easier to use, encouraging more people to contribute, and increasing the availability of free knowledge for more people, in more languages, in more parts of the world. Wikipedia currently offers 13 million articles in over 250 languages, and is used by 330 million people around the world.

"People of every culture and every language use Wikipedia every day. What they share is a commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual discovery," said Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia and eight other free knowledge projects. “This is our opportunity to celebrate Wikipedia and everything it stands for — freedom, sharing, openness, collaboration, the power of knowledge — and to help keep Wikipedia free for everyone to use, now and into the future. People should support Wikipedia because it's always there when they need it, because they use it, and because they love it."

The campaign will run through January 2010, with notices at the top of Wikipedia pages asking readers for their support. Other sites supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, such as Wiktionary and Wikimedia Commons, will also run the campaign. Donors can follow the campaign notices on Wikimedia sites to donate or go directly to http://donate.wikimedia.org

This year, for the first time, the Wikimedia Foundation will also offer the opportunity to give by mobile phone. Anyone with a U.S.-based cellphone can make a donation by texting "WIKI" to 25383. The $10 donation is charged to their phone bill.

Throughout the campaign, fans can follow updates, live donor comments, and other information about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation projects via Twitter and Identi.ca using @wikipedia and @wikimedia. Microbloggers are encouraged to tag their own comments about the campaign with #wikipedia. The Foundation will also update its blog (http://blog.wikimedia.org) throughout the campaign with fundraiser progress, guest bloggers, and insights about the projects and its users.

“Knowledge is not just power, it’s connection. It’s what makes us human,” Wales added. “Together we’ve built the greatest collection of shared human knowledge in history. That’s worth protecting.”

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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 320 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property world-wide (Sept, 2009). Available in more than 250 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 13 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.


Jay Walsh
+1 (415) 839-6885 x 609
Liam O’Donoghue
Fenton Communications for Wikimedia
+1 (415) 901-0111