Since the Wikimedia Foundation (home of Wikipedia) is a not-for-profit, it survives by annual fundraisers. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki (23andMe co-founder) used their Brin Wojcicki Foundation to grant $500,000 to the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its 8th annual fundraiser on November 16, 2011 and raised $1.2 million the first day.

Most people don’t realize that unlike most other Social Media sites, the Wikimedia Foundation is not generating profits rather it relies on contributions.  The Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) for tax purposes. That means the Wikimedia Foundation does not operate to make a profit and does not pay taxes, and contributions to the Wikimedia Foundation are tax deductible.

According to a Wikimedia Foundation press release from Sue Gardner (the Executive Director) announcing the Brin Wojcicki Foundation grant:

The Wikimedia projects currently reach more than 477 million unique visitors around the world every month (comScore, October 2011), making Wikipedia the fifth most-popular web site in the world.

This is how Wikipedia works: people use it, they like it, and so they help pay for it, to keep it freely available for themselves and for everyone around the world. I am very grateful to Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki for supporting what we do.

Interesting blog on the New York Times included this comment:

Google and Wikipedia haven’t always been friends. In 2007 Google introduced a service called Knol, which was seen by many as a Wikipedia competitor. There were concerns at the time that Google would highlight Knol rankings in its search results, pushing Wikipedia aside. But Knol didn’t fare well online and has grown slowly.

The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia expanded credibility with by its alignment with the Smithsonian Institution, and other contributions from mainstream business.

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