About the Wikimedia Endowment
The Wikimedia Endowment was launched in 2016 in order to support Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. It represents a collective belief in what the Wikimedia projects have accomplished and what they have yet to achieve. As a fund that is invested for growth, it creates a solid financial foundation for the future and ensures long-term security.
In 2021, the Wikimedia Endowment reached its initial $100 million fundraising goal and was incorporated as an independent legal entity. The Wikimedia Endowment’s application for 501(c)3 non-profit status is currently before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The Wikimedia Endowment is led by Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, President, and a Board of Directors. As the Endowment reaches this next phase in its maturation, the President and Board seek to add new board members who can contribute to the ongoing growth of the fund and the distribution of future grants.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides the essential infrastructure for free knowledge globally. It operates the world's most collaborative projects (including Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons & various other projects that are part of the multilingual, free-content Wikimedia family).
Today more than 500,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects every month. They have written, edited, and patrolled 55 million Wikipedia articles in over 300 languages. The Wikimedia Foundation works in tandem with a vast affiliate network of 140+ chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups. In a given month more than 1.5 billion unique devices access free educational resources from across the globe.
Wikipedia, the worldʼs largest free online encyclopedia, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021. It has been called “the Last Best Place on the Internet”. 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. Over 50 million monthly edits in 188 languages in the open are keeping humanity informed with vital, verifiable information.
The Wikimedia Endowment Board
The Wikimedia Endowment Board consists of between 7-15 members, including:
- 1 Community Founder Director (Jimmy Wales)
- 2-3 Community Directors
- 4-11 At-Large Directors
The Board strives to represent a diversity of geographies, backgrounds, races/ethnicities, gender identities, points of view, and interests. At-Large Directors must have prior fundraising or financial expertise and a passion for free knowledge. Community Directors bring deep knowledge of the Wikimedia movement and must have previously served as a director of the Wikimedia Foundation Board.
At this time, the Board is actively seeking candidates for At-Large Director seats.
The Wikimedia Endowment board’s role
The Wikimedia Endowment Board of Directors serves as an essential source of guidance and support for the Wikimedia Endowment. Its primary responsibilities are to provide effective governance, help grow the Endowment fund through a combination of major gift fundraising efforts and prudent financial investments, and make grantmaking decisions that best fulfill the Endowment’s mission of protecting the long-term future of Wikimedia projects.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Ensure fiduciary and strategic oversight of the Wikimedia Endowment
- Provide and identify funding for the Wikimedia Endowment
- Work closely with the Wikimedia Endowment President, Director of Endowment, and key Wikimedia Foundation staff to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors for the Wikimedia Endowment
- Set and uphold the Wikimedia Endowment’s investment and spending policies
- Identify and approve annual endowment distributions to provide financial support to Wikimedia projects that are mission-aligned
- Identify and suggest possible nominees to the Board
The Wikimedia Endowment Board is separate from the Wikimedia Foundation Board and does not have a role in shaping or approving the strategies and work plans of the Wikimedia Foundation.
A Director’s commitment to serve
Directors serve for three-year terms that can be renewed twice, for a maximum tenure of nine years. The Board convenes twice per year, with the option for Directors to attend in-person (when possible) or virtually. Meetings are typically a half-day, with other optional activities planned around the required meetings. Whether in-person or online, meetings require coordination with Directors across the world and across time zones.
All Board members are expected to participate in some capacity with the Endowment’s fundraising efforts and to serve on one of three standing committees: Finance; Governance; or Grantmaking and Community. Committees meet at least twice per year; the Finance Committee may meet as often as monthly. Committee meetings are virtual.
Directors must be willing to devote sufficient time to completing the work of the Board.This includes participating in Board and Committee meetings, donor events, and other activities to support the Wikimedia Endowment. The overall time commitment is roughly 20-40 hours per year (not including travel).
Board positions are unpaid.