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21 August 2009, 12:01

Wikimedia receives $500,000 from Hewlett Foundation

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The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation responsible for the operation of the Wikipedia free online encyclopaedia, has received $500,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a foundation established by the co-founder of HP and his wife. According to a press release, this grant acknowledges the important role that Wikimedia projects play in making educational information freely accessible.

The grant is part of more than $100 million in grants that the Hewlett Foundation has made since 2001 to help fund Open Educational Resources, a movement that promotes the free availability of high quality educational materials for everyone.

Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said her organisation is committed to being an integral part of the Open Educational Resources community. The support comes at a critical time. The Wikimedia Foundation has just begun examining strategies for maximising its impact around the world and recently launched a first Call for Proposals from the Wikimedia community. Wikimedia's current plans include improving the user-friendliness of its software, developing training materials for volunteer editors, establishing key metrics to track the reach of Wikimedia content, and improving access to project data for researchers.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a philanthropic organisation with declared assets totalling $6.3 billion. It makes grants to help solve social and environmental problems and last year made gifts and grants totalling $378 million. The previously biggest individual contribution to the Wikimedia Foundation of $3 million, was made by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 2008. Wikimedia also received $890,000 from the Stanton foundation at the end of last year. The money will be used to improve access to Wikipedia.


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