Knowledge belongs to all of us.

We are growing the free
knowledge movement.
We are looking for volunteer board Trustees to join us.

About the Wikimedia Foundation 

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides the essential infrastructure for free knowledge globally. We operate the world’s most collaborative project (including Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons & various other projects that are part of our multilingual, free-content Wikimedia family). We welcome anyone who shares our vision to join us in collecting and sharing knowledge that fully represents human diversity.

280,000+ volunteer editors contribute monthly in over 300 languages. Many volunteers also participate through a vast affiliate network of (150+) chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups. There are over 75 million media files on Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. We are the world’s fifth most popular digital platform, providing free educational resources globally. 1.5 billion unique devices visit Wikimedia Foundation sites monthly.

The future of knowledge

The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia’s volunteer communities are actively evolving to face the challenges of our time, including by:

  • Investing in the overall health and diversity of volunteer communities to be more inclusive and globally representative
  • Curbing harassment by developing a universal code of conduct and building software to support community governance
  • Developing tools and programs to expand the quantity and diversity of Wikipedia content
  • Modernizing Wikipedia’s technology to meet the needs of the future
  • Advocating for policies that preserve user privacy, free expression, and the free exchange of knowledge online
  • Enhancing volunteers’ ability to combat disinformation with better resources and insights

Today, Wikipedia’s more than 55 million articles can be accessed in over 300 languages, for free, and without advertisements, all created by volunteers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wikipedia saw record-breaking increases in daily traffic, with a growing community of medical professionals contributing knowledge about COVID-19 to the platform. Studies have shown that Wikipedia is one of the most-viewed sources for health information, and its role in providing trusted access to information about COVID-19 in the pandemic led to a milestone collaboration with the World Health Organization in October 2020.

The opportunity

Wikipedia operates under an expectation of significant transparency and public scrutiny, and within an increasingly complex and high risk environment around tech and policy regulation.

Externally, there are frequent efforts that threaten volunteers and are hostile toward Wikipedia’s mission. In parallel, changes in tech, data and multimedia continue to accelerate in response to how users consume information differently. Wikipedia is the only nonprofit top-50 global website, and while currently well-resourced, has just a fraction of the investment capacity of other tech platforms.

Internally, as the Wikimedia Foundation scales, and regularly onboards new colleagues and pushes others to evolve rapidly, it is also becoming more geographically dispersed. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the move to a virtual workforce, placing a premium on culture-building and connection.

The board

The structure of the board. 

Right now, the Board is structured to hold a range of experiences and differing expertise: 

  • three community-nominated volunteer seats,  
  • two affiliate-nominated volunteer seats,  
  • four appointed expert volunteer seats,  
  • Jimmy Wales, the founder, retains a seat.  

Community and affiliate-nominated members bring deep knowledge of our  movement, but may not have previously participated in board governance with a global, enterprise-level platform and/or operating nonprofit.  Members appointed by the Board bring subject-matter expertise and experience leading organizations at scale yet may know little about the culture and complexities of our movement.  

Over the next year, the board of the Wikimedia Foundation will expand with the addition of three community-nominated volunteer seats and three appointed expert volunteer seats, as follows: 

  • one community-nominated volunteer in 2021 with two to follow in 2022; and
  • one appointed expert volunteer in 2021 with two to follow in 2022. 

The board’s role. 

The Wikimedia Foundation is a multi-stakeholder ecosystem on the move. Trustees are vital stewards and partners. They play a role in shaping and approving our strategy, ensuring the appropriate use of resources in pursuit of our mission, and championing our vision, mission, and values within our communities and in public.  

The Board’s role is to ensure fiduciary and strategic oversight of the Foundation, and advise, challenge, and support the Chief Executive Officer and leadership team without crossing into management.

Specific talent needs

To achieve Wikimedia 2030’s strategic objectives in an exponentially complex and  rapidly evolving technological and social space, the Wikimedia Foundation is  continuing to mature its operations, effectiveness and governance. 

As an appointed expert volunteer Trustee, you will likely possess a strong combination of the following: 

You are a mission- and values-driven leader with a deep commitment to sharing power and knowledge, as well as affecting global social change  for a more just and open world. You embrace and promote diversity and equity in all dimensions. In addition, you: 

  • Might belong or have belonged to a group that has faced historical discrimination and underrepresentation in structures of power
  • Might have lived for a significant period of time in emerging markets (specifically Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East) and communicated across teams, communities, networks and cultures to advance important goals
  • Will bring humility and openness about the Wikipedia ecosystem, and perhaps over time engage in volunteer editing

You bring experience: 

  • In a leadership role, as an executive and/or Board member/Trustee, in which you’ve overseen complexity, growth and scale. 

You bring subject-matter expertise in one of the following:

  • Enterprise-level platform technology and/or product development
  • Social data science, big data analysis, machine learning
  • Public policy and the law
  • Knowledge sectors
  • Open Internet/free and open-source software
  • Human rights and social justice 
  • Global movement building and community organization
  • Research and education 

As a leader, you are a curious, critical thinker who is able to engage others across lines of difference. You bring a collaborative, diplomatic, patient and transparent style, with an ability to effectively adapt to a strong culture.

Group Photo Wikimedia Conference 2018

A Trustee’s commitment to serve

Trustees serve for three-year, renewable terms. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board convened four times per year in person at different locations around the world and three to six times online as necessary. In-person connection will hopefully resume, when safe and equitable. Whether in-person or online, meetings require coordination with members across the world and across time zones.  

The overall time commitment for standard service is roughly 100-150 hours per year (not including travel). Trustees may additionally choose to dedicate time to one or more Board committees, supporting and providing counsel to the Chief Executive Officer and leadership team, or promoting the Wikimedia movement  through speaking engagements and connecting with the Wikimedia communities.  

Board positions are unpaid.

Applying to serve

For more information, please reach out to: wikimediafoundation@viewcrestadvisors.com or by phone at: +1 (617) 564-3779.

Viewcrest Advisors, our search partner, is committed to social justice and access to opportunity and actively cultivates relationships with leaders who have varied life experiences as well as the skills needed to lead strong, innovative organizations. Additionally, Viewcrest Advisors commits to protecting your personal data privacy; please visit the privacy policy on their website for more information.

Help us unlock the world’s knowledge.

As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.

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Photo credits

Wikimedia All Hands 2019 Group Photo

Myleen Hollero/Wikimedia Foundation

CC BY-SA 3.0

Wikipedia20_PressReleaseHeader_2

Wikimedia Foundation

CC0 1.0

Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees