Press releases/Wikipedia’s Contributors and Authors at the Center of Wikimedia’s Eighth Annual Fundraiser

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Wikipedia’s Contributors and Authors at the Center of Wikimedia’s Eighth Annual Fundraiser

SAN FRANCISCO, November 16, 2011 - The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind Wikipedia, today announced the launch of its annual fundraising campaign. The annual fundraiser brings in critical revenue so that Wikipedia and its sister projects can remain freely available to people around the world. Funds raised in this campaign by Wikimedia and its regional chapters will be used to maintain Wikimedia’s server infrastructure and improve software, expand global reach, and provide direct support to a global volunteer community. The Foundation's total 2011-12 planned spending is $28.3 million USD.

This year’s campaign will focus on telling the story of the volunteers and editors who donate their time to further the Wikimedia mission: to spread free knowledge around the world. Through the duration of the campaign, the users of Wikipedia and its sister projects will learn about the unique personalities behind our projects, as well as the passions and motivations that fuel their contributions. As in previous years, Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, will also play a visible role in the fundraising campaign.

“Our community - both our donors and those who actually help write projects like Wikipedia - is made up of people who are curious, brilliant, and engaged,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “This year we want to share their stories. I think people will find it interesting to read about the folks who work behind the scenes in the projects -- and ideally, I am hoping that some readers will be inspired to start editing themselves, as well.”

Three Wikipedia contributors to look out for

Alan Sohn (user:Alansohn) has contributed so much tech-related information to more than 2,500 original articles on Wikipedia that his time commitment to the hobby would equate to hundreds of thousands of earned dollars if he focused only on his day job as a New Jersey-based systems consultant. “But money is not the incentive here,” Alan says. “You deal in a different currency on Wikipedia.” He believes the Foundation has harnessed an invaluable resource of cooperating individuals dedicated to sharing unbiased, accurate information.

Susan Hewitt (user:Invertzoo), a US citizen originally from England, knows her snails. She harbors such a fascination for gastropods and has cultivated such an extensive knowledge of their existence that she can’t help but want to share. “That’s what makes Wikipedia so magical,” she says, “there’s this unspoken light inside all of us that comes from the desire to help educate, to help share knowledge.” Susan donates because she believes she has a moral obligation to support any free service she uses so frequently.

West Virginia native, and San Francisco Bay area-based, Brandon Harris (User:Jorm) left a high-paying career in the tech industry to help make positive changes to society. He now works as a programmer for the Wikimedia Foundation because everything in his soul tells him it’s the right thing to do. Brandon is particularly motivated by the thought that WMF produces with “sticks and wires” what massive, big-budget companies only dream of pulling off.

During the 2010 annual fundraising campaign, the Wikimedia Foundation raised $15 million in fifty days, a 72% increase over 2009’s total of $8.7 million.

The 2011 campaign will run through January 2012, with appeals from Brandon, Susan, Alan, Jimmy Wales, and many more atop pages on Wikipedia and its sister sites, asking readers for their support.

You can also follow the conversation about the annual fundraising campaign via @wikipedia on Twitter (http://twitter.com/wikipedia) or Identi.ca (http://identi.ca/wikipedia). To donate to the campaign, visit: http://donate.wikimedia.org.

MORE VISUAL MATERIALS

For photos of the Wikipedia contributors, as well as samples of the fundraising banners, visit: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Category:Fundraising_2011_press_materials

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 454 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, September 2011). Available in more than 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 18 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.


Media Contact:
Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
Wikimedia Foundation
Tel. +1 415 839 6885 x 6609
jwalsh@wikimedia.org