NASA Blue Marble of Eastern Hemisphere. Photo by NASA, public domain.
Today, Giving Tuesday, the Wikimedia Foundation kicks off its annual contribution campaign on the English Wikipedia to support Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedia is supported predominantly by small individual donations averaging $15. Ahead of Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, we are asking readers who value Wikipedia to help keep it growing for years to come.
Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: to create a world in which every person could freely access the sum of all knowledge. Written entirely by volunteers, Wikipedia has since grown to be one of the most popular websites in the world. It offers more than 35 million articles across nearly 300 languages, and its articles are viewed each month more than 15 billion times. Together with its sister projects like Wikimedia Commons, which includes more than 29 million free images, videos, and audio files, Wikipedia helps people everywhere discover and understand the world around them.
For nearly 15 years, people have experienced the joy of knowledge through Wikipedia and its sister projects. Here are just a few recent examples:
- Volunteer contributor and naturalist Jeevan Jose from Kerala, India helped identify a new species of crane fly with his freely licensed images on Wikimedia Commons.
- Inventor Jack Andraka used Wikipedia’s science articles to develop a prototype for a potential breakthrough method of cancer screening before his 17th birthday.
- Emily Temple-Wood has been editing Wikipedia since she was 12. A budding scientist herself, she started WikiProject Women Scientists—estimated to have doubled coverage of women scientists on English Wikipedia.
- Computer science graduate student Owen Cornec created WikiGalaxy, a 3D visualization that turns Wikipedia into a galactic network of knowledge.
- Volunteer editor Lourdes Cardenal, at the age of 75, is the longest-running active editor on Spanish Wikipedia and a mentor to Wikipedians around the world.
- The Goodall family from Tierra del Fuego sailed the Pacific Ocean for a year, using Wikipedia to discover the world—from classification systems to civilizations.
Small donations allow the Wikimedia Foundation to keep Wikipedia and the other websites fast, secure, and available, putting this knowledge in the hands of people around the world for free. These contributions not only help maintain critical systems, but enable improvements in technology to keep Wikipedia relevant and easy to use.
The Foundation also uses donations to support the work of volunteer editors who write and maintain Wikipedia. We offer resources to people and organizations with great ideas that support the Wikimedia mission. We defend editors when they are threatened. We stand against censorship, and support open source, open licenses, and open access. We have programs that make Wikipedia freely available for people with limited access to expensive mobile data plans, believing they should have the same, unrestricted access to Wikipedia that others have enjoyed over the last 15 years. Donor contributions support these efforts.
As with previous campaigns, this year the Wikimedia Foundation will use a variety of banner formats to reach the movement’s diverse global audience. This year, the Wikimedia Foundation aims to raise $25 million in December through the annual campaign on English Wikipedia. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.
To make a donation, click the fundraising appeal on Wikipedia, or go directly to donate.wikimedia.org.