The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States, and organized under the laws of the state of Florida, where it was initially based. It operates several online collaborative wiki projects including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks (including Wikijunior), Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikimedia Incubator and . Its flagship project, the English-language Wikipedia, ranks among the top ten most-visited websites worldwide.
In addition to the multilingual general encyclopedia Wikipedia, the foundation manages a multi-language dictionary and thesaurus named Wiktionary, an encyclopedia of quotations named Wikiquote, a repository of source texts in any language named Wikisource, and a collection of e-book texts for students (such as textbooks and annotated public domain books) named Wikibooks. Wikijunior is a subproject of Wikibooks that specializes in books for children.
With the foundation's announcement, Wales also transferred ownership of all Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Nupedia domain names to Wikimedia along with the copyrights for all materials related to these projects that were created by Bomis employees or Wales himself. The computer equipment used to run all the Wikimedia projects was also donated by Wales to the foundation, which also acquired the domain names "wikimedia.org" and "wikimediafoundation.org".
In April 2005, the US Internal Revenue Service approved (by letter) the foundation as an educational foundation in the category "Adult, Continuing Education", meaning all contributions to the Wikimedia Foundation are tax deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
On December 11, 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation board noted that the corporation could not become the membership organization initially planned but never implemented due to an inability to meet the registration requirements of Florida Statute. Accordingly, the bylaws were amended to remove all reference to membership rights and activities. The decision to change the bylaws was passed by the board unanimously.
On September 25, 2007, the Wikimedia Foundation board gave notice that the operations would be moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. Major considerations cited for choosing San Francisco were proximity to like-minded organizations and potential partners as well as cheaper and more convenient international travel than is available from St. Petersburg.
On July 1, 2006, Beesley resigned from the board effective upon election of her successor, expressing concern about "certain events and tendencies that have arisen within the organization since the start of this year," but stating her intent to continue to participate in the Wikimedia projects, and in the formation of an Australian chapter. A special election was held in September to finish Beesley's term, ending with the mid-2007 election. The election was won by Erik Möller.
In October 2006, Nibart-Devouard replaced Wales as chair of the Foundation. On December 8, 2006, the board expanded to seven people with the appointments of Kat Walsh and Oscar van Dillen. Effective December 15, 2006, Jan-Bart de Vreede was appointed to replace Shell.
In the June 2007 election, Möller and Walsh were reelected; van Dillen, who ran for re-election, was narrowly edged by Frieda Brioschi.
Davis left the board in November 2007. Nibart-Devouard's elected term expires in June 2008. The appointed terms for Wales and de Vreede expire in December 2008. Brioschi's and Walsh's elected terms expire in June 2009.
In December 2007, Möller resigned from the Board of Trustees, and was hired as the foundation's deputy director by the executive director.
In February 2008, Florence Devouard announced the addition of two new board members: Michael Snow, an American lawyer and chair of the Communication Committee; and Domas Mituzas, a Lithuanian computer software engineer, MySQL employee, and longtime member of the core tech team.
In April 2008, the board announced a restructuring of its membership, increasing the number of board positions to 10 overall, as follows:
In the June 2008 board election, Ting Chen was elected for a one-year term.
In May 2005, the foundation announced the appointment of seven people to official positions:
Möller resigned in August 2005, due to differences with the board, and was replaced by James Forrester. In February 2007, Forrester resigned, and the board appointed Gregory Maxwell to the position, renamed "chief research coordinator".
In January 2006, the foundation created several committees, including the Communication Committee, in an attempt to further organize activities essentially handled by volunteers at that time. Starling resigned that month to spend more time on his PhD program.
The functions of the Wikimedia Foundation were, for the first few years, executed almost entirely by volunteers. In 2005, the foundation had only two employees, Danny Wool, a coordinator, and Brion Vibber, a software manager. Though the number of employees has grown, the foundation's staff is still very small, and the bulk of foundation work continues to be done by volunteers.
As of October 4, 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation had five paid employees: two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director, Brad Patrick, previously the foundation's general counsel. Patrick ceased his activity as interim director in January 2007, and then resigned from his position as legal counsel, effective April 1, 2007. He was replaced by Mike Godwin as general counsel and legal coordinator in July 2007. Three further technical contractors were also appointed in December 2006: part-time hardware manager Kyle Anderson in Tampa, full-time MediaWiki software developer Tim Starling, and part-time networking coordinator Mark Bergsma.
In January 2007, Carolyn Doran was named chief operating officer and Sandy Ordonez came on board as head of communications Doran had begun working as a part-time bookkeeper in 2006 after being sent by a temporary agency. Doran later left the foundation in July 2007, and Sue Gardner was hired as consultant and special advisor (later CEO). Some months after Doran's departure, it was identified that she was a convicted felon, with a DUI arrest during her tenure at the foundation and a substantial criminal history, including shooting her boyfriend and complicity in credit card forgery. Her departure from the organization was cited as one of the reasons the foundation took about seven months to release its fiscal 2007 financial audit. She was incarcerated at the Middle River Regional Jail near Staunton, Virginia.
Danny Wool, officially the grant coordinator but also largely involved in fundraising and business development, resigned in March 2007. In April 2007, the foundation added a new position, chapter coordinator, and appointed Delphine Ménard, then in the position of volunteer coordinator, to fill it, with Cary Bass appointed to replace Ménard in coordinating volunteer services. In May 2007, Vishal Patel was hired to assist in business development. In Press releases/Jan2008 Staff Release, the foundation appointed three new staff: Veronique Kessler as the new chief financial and operating officer, User:Kwadhwa to replace Vishal Patel as head of business development, and User:JayWalsh as Head of Communications.
In June 2008, the foundation announced two staff additions in fundraising: Rebecca Handler as major gifts officer and Rand Montoya as head of community giving. Soon afterward, Sara Crouse was hired as head of partnerships and foundation relations. In August 2008, Tomasz Finc was hired as a full-time software developer.
The launch dates shown below are when official domains were established for the projects and/or beta versions were launched; preliminary test versions at other domains are not considered.
|Wikipedia||www.wikipedia.org||2001-01-15||Encyclopedia containing more than 10 million articles in 264 languages.|
|Meta||meta.wikimedia.org||2001-11-09||Wiki devoted to the coordination of the Wikimedia projects.|
|Wiktionary||www.wiktionary.org||2002-12-12||Dictionary cataloging meanings, synonyms, etymologies and translations.|
|Wikibooks||www.wikibooks.org||2003-07-10||Collection of free educational textbooks and learning materials.|
|Wikiquote||www.wikiquote.org||2003-07-10||Collection of quotations structured in numerous ways.|
|Wikisource||www.wikisource.org||2003-11-24||Project to provide and translate free source documents, such as public domain texts.|
|Wikimedia Commons||commons.wikimedia.org||2004-09-07||Repository of images, sounds, videos and general media, containing over 3,300,000 files.|
|Wikimedia Incubator||incubator.wikimedia.org||2006-06-02||Used to test possible new languages for existing projects.|
|Wikispecies||species.wikimedia.org||2004-09-13||Directory of species data on animalia, plantae, fungi, bacteria, archaea, protista and all other forms of life.|
|Wikinews||www.wikinews.org||2004-12-03||News source containing original reporting by citizen journalists from many countries.|
|Wikiversity||www.wikiversity.org||2006-08-15||Educational and research materials and activities.|
At the beginning of 2006, the foundation's net assets were $270,000. During the year, the organization received support and revenue totaling $1,510,000, with concurrent expenses of $790,000. Net assets increased by $720,000 to a total of over one million dollars. In 2007, the foundation continued to expand, ending the year with net assets of $1,700,000. Both income and expenses nearly doubled in 2007.
Wikimedia_chapters are self-dependent organizations that share the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation and support them within a specified geographical region. They support the foundation, the Wikimedia community and Wikimedia projects in different ways — by collecting donations, organizing local events and projects and spreading the word of Wikimedia, free content and Wiki culture. They also provide the community and potential partners with a point of contact capable of fulfilling specific local needs.
Local chapters are self-dependent associations with no legal control of nor responsibility for the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation and vice versa.
|Wikimedia Czech Republic||meta.wikimedia.org|
|Wikimedia Hong Kong||meta.wikimedia.org|
|Wikimedia Russia||wikimedia.ru (not yet working)|
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