Governance updates for the Wikimedia Endowment

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A year ago we announced that the Wikimedia Endowment reached its initial $100 million fundraising goal. Launched in 2016 to support the future of Wikimedia projects, the Endowment is a permanent fund that helps protect Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in times of uncertainty and enables long-term investments to support their growth. This early achievement was a testament to the generosity of Endowment donors and the value of Wikimedia projects in today’s world. 

Today, we’re sharing more updates on the progress of the Endowment since last year, including new governance and operational policies to set the Endowment up for success to serve Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects.  

Renewed Support from Amazon

The Endowment itself has performed well despite significant fluctuations in the global economy this past year, and our generous Endowment donors including individuals, corporations, and foundation donors have continued to support its growth.

As part of this continued support, Amazon  has renewed its annual $1 million gift to the Endowment again this year, bringing the company’s donations to the Wikimedia Endowment to a cumulative $5 million since 2018. Commensurate support from companies like Amazon helps sustain our projects and mission of delivering free knowledge to the world.

“Since 2016, Amazon has supported our mission to ensure that the free knowledge movement thrives. We are thankful for their continued commitment to Wikimedia, which helps to  build a more sustainable future for our projects,” said Lisa Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation.

To learn more about our benefactors and their contributions, please visit our Benefactors page.

Endowment Status Updates

Last year, we announced our plans to establish the Wikimedia Endowment as its own independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the United States. This year, our application was approved and we are in the process of setting up the Endowment’s strategic and operational policies and systems. This will help solidify and protect the independence of the Endowment, allowing its management and investments to be aligned directly to the needs of the Wikimedia projects. 

The Endowment Board has also formed several new committees to establish strategic and operational planning for the Endowment as a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This includes:

  •  The Grantmaking and Community Committee is tasked with tending to the relationship between the Endowment and the communities of the Wikimedia movement. This committee will be chaired by Phoebe Ayers, and Patricio Lorente is also a member of the committee. They are both Community Directors of the Wikimedia Endowment, former members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, and long-time Wikipedians.
  • The Finance Committee is responsible for overseeing the Endowment’s investment portfolio, budgetary planning, accounting and financial reporting processes, and financial audits. The Board intends to publish financial updates via an annual report. The Board meeting minutes from the July meeting (which include an updated Endowment total) will also be shared on Meta once they are approved in the coming weeks. 
  • The Governance Committee will help to ensure the Board’s compliance with its legal and fiduciary duties and to ensure the Board is governed efficiently and effectively.

In addition, we have added new policies to better direct the work of the Endowment. This includes a new Open Access policy pledging that any research supported by the Endowment will be published freely and openly for reuse, and the Endowment Gift policy to provide greater transparency into how gifts to the Endowment are received.

As we get closer to 2030, there is still much work to be done to advance our strategic direction and address the challenges that lie ahead for our movement. This foundational governance work will help to ensure the Endowment is set up for success to meet these challenges and support Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects and communities in the ways that will best serve them over the long term.  

More details about the new policies and committees are available on the Endowment Governance Wiki. We invite you to ask questions and join the conversation via the Endowment’s talk page on Meta where Fundraising staff will be reviewing and responding to comments and questions. 

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