Press releases/Wikimedia Ford Foundation Grant July 2009

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Wikimedia Foundation receives Ford Foundation grant to grow Wikimedia Commons, a free educational media repository

$300,000 will empower individuals around the world to share educational photos, illustrations, videos, and sound

San Francisco, July 1, 2009 -- The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization which operates Wikipedia, has received a $300,000 Ford Foundation grant to make it easier for people around the world to participate in Wikimedia Commons, the Internet's largest repository of high quality, freely reusable educational illustrations, photographs, maps, sound, and video files.

Available in 85 languages, Wikimedia Commons is a global community dedicated to sharing media. The Wikimedia Commons also acts as the central multimedia library for Wikipedia. The Ford Foundation grant will support interface and work-flow improvements to make it much easier to contribute freely reusable content.

“The global community that is building Wikimedia Commons is setting the standard for the way that video and images are uploaded and shared through the Web,” said Jenny Toomey, a program officer for the Ford Foundation. “The whole process is simplified, promotes collaboration, and is driven by consensus among the community. Ultimately, this approach and others like it can help ensure that the Internet remains a rich and open space for learning, expression, and participation.”

Since Wikimedia Commons was founded in 2004, a strong community of international volunteers has formed to support its growth and development. Wikimedia Commons currently hosts more than 4.5 million freely reusable educational media files. Its files are used in thousands of educational and informational initiatives around the world, including in mass media and books.

“We are thrilled that the Ford Foundation is supporting this project,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "We want to make uploading files to Commons as easy as possible, so that people everywhere can join us in helping Commons grow. The bigger Commons is, the more people it will serve."

The grant will fund a project team to study challenges faced by new participants in Wikimedia Commons, as well as to identify best practices from other media sharing websites. Following a research phase, the team will design and implement a simple upload work-flow, enabling users to easily upload files, select licenses, and provide descriptions.

Further Information
Please refer to the original grant proposal as submitted to the Ford Foundation (PDF).
About The Ford Foundation

http://www.fordfound.org/

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
About The Wikimedia Foundation

http://wikimediafoundation.org
http://blog.wikimedia.org

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 4th most popular web property world-wide. 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.

Press contact

Jay Walsh
Wikimedia Foundation
+1 415-839-6885, ext 609
jwalsh(at)wikimedia.org