HOME
        TheInfoList






Coordinates: 37°47′21″N 122°24′12″W / 37.78918°N 122.40335°W / 37.78918; -122.40335

In 2008, the foundation received a US$40,000 grant by the Open Society Institute to create a printable version of Wikipedia.[103] It also received a US$262,000 grant by the Stanton Foundation to purchase hardware,[104] a US$500,000 unrestricted grant by Vinod and Neeru Khosla,[105] who later that year joined the foundation Advisory Board,[106] US$177,376 from the historians Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin foundation (Arcadia Fund), among others.[104] In March 2008, the foundation announced a large donation, at the time its largest donation yet: a three-year, US$3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.[107]

In 2009, the foundation received four grants – the first grant was a US$890,000 Stanton Foundation grant which was aimed to help study and simplify user interface for first-time authors of Wikipedia.[108] The second was a US$300,000 Ford Foundation grant, given in July 2009, for Wikimedia Commons that aimed to improve the interfaces and workflows for multimedia uploading on Wikimedia websites.[109] In August 2009, the foundation received a US$500,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[110] Lastly, in August 2009, the Omidyar Network committed up to US$2 million over two years to Wikimedia.[111]

In 2010, Google donated US$2 million to the foundation.[112] The Stanton Foundation granted $1.2 million to fund the Public Policy Initiative, a pilot program for what would later become the Wikipedia Education Program (and the spinoff Wiki Education Foundation).[113][114][115] Also in 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation pledged a US$800,000 grant and all was funded during 2011.[citation needed]

In March 2011, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation authorized another US$3 million grant to continue to develop and maintain the foundation's mission. The grant was to be funded over three years with the first US$1 million funded in July 2011 and the remaining US$2 million was scheduled to be funded in August 2012 and 2013. As a major donor, Doron

The Wikimedia Foundation expenses mainly concern salaries, wages and other professional operating and services.[102]

Grants

In 2008, the foundation received a US$40,000 grant by the Open Society Institute to create a printable version of Wikipedia.[103] It also received a US$262,000 grant by the Stanton Foundation to purchase hardware,[104] a US$500,000 unrestricted grant by Vinod and Neeru Khosla,[105] who later that year joined the foundation Advisory Board,[106] US$177,376 from the historians Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin foundation (Arcadia Fund), among others.[104] In March 2008, the foundation announced a large donation, at the time its largest donation yet: a three-year, US$3 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.[107]

In 2009, the foundation received four grants – the first grant was a US$890,000 Stanton Foundation grant which was aimed to help study and simplify user interface for first-time authors of Wikipedia.[108] The second was a US$300,000 Ford Foundation grant, given in July 2009, for Wikimedia Commons that aimed to improve the interfaces and workflows for multimedia uploading on Wikimedia websites.[109] In August 2009, the foundation received a US$500,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[110] Lastly, in August 2009, the Omidyar Network committed up to US$2 million over two years to Wikimedia.[111]

In 2010, Google donated US$2 million to the foundation.[112] The Stanton Foundation granted $1.2 million to fund the Public Policy Initiative, a pilot program for what would later become the Wikipedia Education Program (and the spinoff Wiki Education Foundation).[113][114][115] Also in 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation pledged a In 2009, the foundation received four grants – the first grant was a US$890,000 Stanton Foundation grant which was aimed to help study and simplify user interface for first-time authors of Wikipedia.[108] The second was a US$300,000 Ford Foundation grant, given in July 2009, for Wikimedia Commons that aimed to improve the interfaces and workflows for multimedia uploading on Wikimedia websites.[109] In August 2009, the foundation received a US$500,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.[110] Lastly, in August 2009, the Omidyar Network committed up to US$2 million over two years to Wikimedia.[111]

In 2010, Google donated US$2 million to the foundation.[112] The Stanton Foundation granted $1.2 million to fund the Public Policy Initiative, a pilot program for what would later become the Wikipedia Education Program (and the spinoff Wiki Education Foundation).[113][114][115] Also in 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation pledged a US$800,000 grant and all was funded during 2011.[citation needed]

In March 2011, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation authorized another US$3 million grant to continue to develop and maintain the foundation's mission. The grant was to be funded over three years with the first US$1 million funded in July 2011 and the remaining US$2 million was scheduled to be funded in August 2012 and 2013. As a major donor, Doron Weber from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation gained Board Visitor status at the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.[116] In August 2011, the Stanton Foundation pledged to fund a US$3.6 million grant of which US$1.8 million was funded and the remainder was due to be funded in September 2012. As of 2011, this was the largest grant received by the Wikimedia Foundation to-date.[117] In November 2011, the foundation received a US$500,000 donation from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation.[118][119]

In 2012, the foundation was awarded a grant of US$1.25 million from the historians Lisbet Rausing[118] and Peter Baldwin through Charities Aid Foundation, scheduled to be funded in five equal installments. The first installment of US$250,000 was received in April 2012 and the remaining were to be funded in December 2012 through 2015. In 2014, the foundation received the largest single gift in its history, a $5 million unrestricted donation from an anonymous donor supporting $1 million worth of expenses annually for the next five years.[120] In March 2012, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a foundation established by Intel co-founder and his wife, awarded a US$449,636 grant to develop Wikidata.[121]

Between 2014 and 2015, the foundation received US$500,000 from Monarch Fund, US$100,000 from Arcadia Fund and an undisclosed amount by Stavros Niarchos Foundation to support the Wikipedia Zero initiative.[122][123][124]

In 2015, a grant agreement was reached with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build a search engine called the "Knowledge Engine".[125][126]

In 2017, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded another US$3 million grant for a three-year period.[116]

The following have donated a total of US$500,000 or more, each (2008–2019):

In January 2016, the foundation announced the creation of an endowment to ensure the continuity of the project in the future. The Wikimedia Endowment was established as a collective action fund at the Tides Foundation and its goal is to raise US$100 million in the next 10 years.[127] Craig Newmark was one of the initial donors, giving US$1 million to the endowment.[128]

The Foundation provided irrevocable grants of $5 million on June 29, 2016, and $5 million on June 27, 2017, to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment.[129] Another $5 million was given in the fiscal year 2017–2018. The amounts were recorded as part of the expense for awards and grants of the foundation.[6]

In 2018, Amazon.com and Facebook gave US$1 million each and George Soros donated $2 million to the endowment.[130][131][132] In January 2019, Google donated $2 million to the endowment.[133] In 2019, Peter Baldwin and his wife, Lisbet Rausing, donated $3.5 million, bringing their total Endowment giving to $8.5 million; an initial $5 million was given in 2017.[7] In 2019, Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated an additional $2.5 million to the Endowment.[134] In October 2019 and in September 2020, Amazon donated $1 million to the Endowment.[135][136]The Foundation provided irrevocable grants of $5 million on June 29, 2016, and $5 million on June 27, 2017, to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment.[129] Another $5 million was given in the fiscal year 2017–2018. The amounts were recorded as part of the expense for awards and grants of the foundation.[6]

In 2018, Amazon.com and Facebook gave US$1 million each and George Soros donated $2 million to the endowment.[130][131][132] In January 2019, Google donated $2 million to the endowment.[133] In 2019, Peter Baldwin and his wife, Lisbet Rausing, donated $3.5 million, bringing their total Endowment giving to $8.5 million; an initial $5 million was given in 2017.[7] In 2019, Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated an additional $2.5 million to the Endowment.[134] In October 2019 and in September 2020, Amazon donated $1 million to the Endowment.[135][136]

The foundation's board of trustees has ultimate authority of all the businesses and affairs of the foundation. It is composed of ten members:

  • four who are appointed by the board itself;
  • three who are selected by the community encompassed by all the different Wikimedia projects;
  • two who are selected by Wikimedia affiliates (chapters, thematic organizations and user groups);
  • and one emeritus for the foundation's founder, Jimmy Wales.[147]

Three permanent entities support the board on its mission and responsibilities: an executive director, who leads and oversees the operational arm of the foundation; an advisory board composed of individuals selected by the board itself that advise the board on different matters; and standing committees to which the board delegates certain matters while retaining ultimate authority. The board has also at times created other orthodox entities[clarification needed] to support itself, such as executive secretaries and ad hoc committees established for specific tasks.

The current board comprises María Sefidari as chairman and Nataliia Tymkiv as vice-chairman, together with Tanya Capuano, Shani Evenstein Sigalov, Dariusz Jemielniak as members at-large, and Jimmy Wales in the "founder's seat" (installed as "Community Founder Trustee Position" to the WMF bylaws in August 2008).[148][149] James Heilman was appointed as a community selected trustee in August 2017.[150] Raju Narisetti, CEO of Gizmodo Media Group, was appointed trustee in October 2017,[151] and Bahraini human rights activist and blogger Esra'a Al Shafei idem in November 2017.[152]

In a high-profile decision of 2015, James Heilman was removed from the board,[153][154] with little explanation.[153] (He returned in the Board in August 2017).[155][clarification needed] In January 2016, Arnnon Geshuri briefly joined the board before stepping down from the board following a controversy about an agreement he executed when at Google, violating United States antitrust law. The participating companies paid US$415 million in a class action suit on behalf of affected employees.[156][157]

Advisory board

The advisory board, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, is an international network of experts who have agreed to give the foundation meaningful help on a regular basis in many different areas, including law, organizational development, technology, policy, and outreach.[158]

Appointed members for the period from June 16, 2017 to June 30, 2018 were:[159]

Staff

Group photo of Wikimedia Foundation staff in January 2019

First appointments

In 2004, the foundation appointed Tim Starling as developer liaison to help improve the MediaWiki software, Daniel Mayer as chief financial officer (finance, budgeting, and coordination of fund drives), and Erik Möller as content partnership coordinator. In May 2005, the foundation announced seven more official appointments.[160]

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.[161] Starling resigned that month to spend more time on his PhD program.

Employees

The foundation's functions were, for the first few years, executed almost entirely by volunteers. In 2005, it had only two employees, Danny Wool, a coordinator, and Brion Vibber, a software manager.

As of October 4, 2006, the foundation had five paid employees:[162] two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director,[163] 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, who served as general counsel and legal coordinator from July 2007[164] until 2010.

In January 2007, Carolyn Doran was named chief operating officer and Sandy Ordonez joined as head of communications.[165] Doran began working as a part-time bookkeeper in 2006 after being sent by a temporary agency. Doran, found to have had a long criminal record,[166] left the foundation in July 2007, and Sue Gardner was hired as consultant and special advisor (later CEO). Doran's departure from the organization was cited by Florence Devouard as one of the reasons the foundation took about seven months to release its fiscal 2007 financial audit.[167]

Exterior view of the previous Wikimedia Foundation's San Francisco headquarters at New Montgomery St in 2014.

Danny Wool, officially the grant coordinator but also largely involved in fundraising and business development, resigned in March 2007. He accused Wales of misusing the foundation's funds for recreational purposes, and said that Wales had his Wikimedia credit card taken away in part because of his spending habits, a claim Wales denied.[168] In February 2007, the foundation added a new position, chapters coordinator, and hired Delphine Ménard,[169] who had been occupying the position as a volunteer since August 2005. Cary Bass was hired in March 2007 in the position of volunteer coordinator. Oleta McHenry was brought in as accountant in May 2007, through a temporary placement agency and made the official full-time accountant in August 2007. In January 2008, the foundation appointed Veronique Kessler as the new chief financial and operating officer, Kul Wadhwa as head of business development, and Jay Walsh as head of communications.

As of December 19, 2019, the foundation had more than 350 employees and contractors.[8]

Disputes and lawsuits

Wikimedia Foundation post-SOPA party, 2012

Many disputes have resulted in litigation[170][171][172][173] while others have not.[174] Attorney Matt Zimmerman stated, "Without strong liability protection, it would be difficult for Wikipedia to continue to provide a platform for user-created encyclopedia content."[175]

In December 2011, the foundation hired Washington, D.C., lobbyist Dow Lohnes Government Strategies LLC to lobby the United States Congress with regard to "Civil Rights/Civil Liberties" and "Copyright/Patent/Trademark."[176] At the time of the hire the Foundation was concerned specifically about a bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[177]

In October 2013, a German Court ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation can be held liable for content added to Wikipedia – however, this applies only when there has been a specific complaint; otherwise, the Wikimedia Foundation does not check any of the content published on Wikipedia and has no duty to do so.[178]

In June 2014, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige against Wikimedia Sweden.[179]

On June 20, 2014, a defamation lawsuit (Law Division civil case No. L-1400-14) involving Wikipedia editors was filed with the Mercer County Superior Court in New Jersey seeking, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages.[180][181]

In a March 10, 2015, op-ed for The New York Times, Wales and Tretikov announced the foundation was filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency and five other government agencies and officials, including the DOJ, calling into question its practice of mass surveillance, which they argued infringed the constitutional rights of the foundation's readers, editors and staff. They were joined in the suit by eight additional plaintiffs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.[182][183][184] On October 23, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the suit Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA on grounds of standing. U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III ruled that the plaintiffs could not plausibly prove they were subject to upstream surveillance, and that their argument is "riddled with assumptions", "speculations" and "mathematical gymnastics".[185][186] The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on February 17, 2016.[187]

In February 2016, Lila Tretikov announced her resignation as executive director, as a result of the WMF's controversial Knowledge Engine project and disagreements with the staff.[188][189]

Controversies

Obtrusive fundraising

During the 2015 fundraising campaign, some members of the community voiced their concerns about the fundraising banners. They argued that they were obtrusive for users and that they could be deceiving potential donors by giving the perception that Wikipedia had immediate financial issues, which was not the case. The Wikimedia Foundation vowed to improve wording on further fundraising campaigns to avoid these issues.[190]

Removal of community-appointed trustee

In June 2015, James Heilman was elected by the community to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.[191] In December 2015, the Board removed Heilman from his position as a Trustee,[192][193] a decision that generated substantial controversy amongst members of the Wikipedia community.[153] A statement released by the board declared the lack of confidence of his fellow trustees in him as the reasons for his ouster. Heilman later stated that he "was given the option of resigning [by the Board] over the last few weeks. As a community elected member I see my mandate as coming from the community which elected me and thus declined to do so. I saw such a move as letting down those who elected me."[194] He subsequently pointed out that while on the Board, he had pushed for greater transparency regarding the Wikimedia Foundation's controversial Knowledge Engine project and its financing,[195] and indicated that his attempts to make public the Knight Foundation grant for the engine had been a factor in his dismissal.[196]

The volunteer community re-elected him to the Wikimedia Foundation board in 2017.[155]

Knowledge Engine

Knowledge Engine was a search engine project initiated in 2015 by the WMF to locate and display verifiable and trustworthy information on the Internet.[197] The goal of the KE was to be less reliant on traditional search engines and it was funded with a US$250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.[198] The project was perceived as a scandal, mainly because it was conceived in secrecy, which was perceived as a conflict with the Wikimedia community's transparency. In fact, most of the information available to the community was received through leaked documents published by The Signpost in 2016.[199][197]

Following this controversy, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov resigned.[200]

Excessive spending

Wikimedia Foundation's expenses evolution by rubrics in USD.

Wales was confronted with allegations that the WMF had "a miserable cost/benefit ratio and for years now has spent millions on software development without producing anything that actually works".[155] Wales acknowledged in 2014 that he had "been frustrated as well about the endless controversies about the rollout of inadequate software not developed with sufficient community consultation and without proper incremental rollout to catch show-stopping bugs".[155]

In February 2017, an op-ed published by The Signpost, English Wikipedia online newspaper, titled Wikipedia has Cancer[201] produced a heated debate both in the Wikipedian community and the wider public. The author criticized the Wikimedia Foundation for its ever-increasing annual spending which, he argued, could put the project at financial risk should an unexpected event happen. The author proposed to put a cap on spending, build up its existing endowment, and restructure the endowment so that the WMF cannot dip into the principal when times get bad. Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Katherine Maher responded by pointing out that such an endowment was already created in 2016, confusing creating an endowment with building up an existing endowment.[202]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Neate, Rupert (October 7, 2008). "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales goes bananas". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 10, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2009. The encyclopedia's huge fan base became such a drain on Bomis's resources that Mr Wales, and co-founder Larry Sanger, thought of a radical new funding model – charity.
  2. ^ a b c d Jimmy Wales (June 20, 2003). "Announcing Wikimedia Foundation". mail:wikipedia-l. Archived from the original on March 30, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  3. ^ "2014 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (form 990)" (PDF). WMF (Public Inspection Copy). May 11, 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Contact us - Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on June 25, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Wikimedia Foundation. "Wikimedia Foundation announces Tanya Capuano as new Trustee, alongside leadership appointments at 14th annual Wikimania". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, Financial Statements, June 30, 2018 and 2017" (PDF). Wikimedia Foundation. September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Wikimedia Endowment - Meta". July 15, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Wikimedia Foundation staff and contractors page".
  9. ^ Jarice Hanson (2016). The Social Media Revolution: An Economic Encyclopedia of Friending, Following, Texting, and Connecting. ABC-CLIO. p. 375. ISBN 978-1-61069-768-2.
  10. ^ a b c "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements June, 2017 and 2016" (PDF). Wikimedia Foundation. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  11. ^ Wikimedia Foundation. Patricio Lorente, Christophe Henner https://wikimediafoundation.org/news/2016/06/24/katherine-maher-executive-director/. Retrieved June 12, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Devouard, Florence. "Mission statement". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on January 17, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  13. ^ Jackson, Jasper (February 12, 2017). "'We always look for reliability': why Wikipedia's editors cut out the Daily Mail". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 13, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2017. Another core job for the foundation – and Maher – is political advocacy. While copyright and press freedom are important issues for Wikipedia, there is one area even more fundamental to its operation - the rules that protect web firms from full liability for what their users post.
  14. ^ Charity Navigator Charity Navigator IRS (Forms 990) Tab Archived December 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Page accessed January 31, 2016
  15. ^ "NTEE Classification System". Archived from the original on February 2, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  16. ^ "NCCS definition for Adult Education". Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  17. ^ Jd. "Wikimedia Foundation bylaws". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  18. ^ Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc Record Archived June 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine and Letters of Incorporation, Wikimedia Foundation Archived June 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, filed June 20, 2003
  19. ^ Nair, Vipin (December 5, 2005). "Growing on volunteer power". Business Line. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2008.
  20. ^ Rampton, Sheldon (March 16, 2003). "Wikipedia English mailing list message". Archived from the original on November 1, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2005.
  21. ^ Bylaws revision.
  22. ^ Moncada, Carlos (September 25, 2007). "Wikimedia Foundation Moving To Another Bay Area". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007.
  23. ^ Mullins, Richard (September 26, 2007). "Online Encyclopedia To Leave St. Petersburg For San Francisco". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007.
  24. ^ Kim, Ryan (October 10, 2007). "Wikipedia team plans move to San Francisco". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "Press releases/Relocation - Wikimedia Foundation". wikimediafoundation.org. October 9, 2007. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  26. ^ Elder, Jeff (May 1, 2014). "Wikipedia's New Chief: From Soviet Union to World's Sixth-Largest Site". WSJ. Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "Open-Source Software Specialist Selected as Executive Director of Wikipedia". Archived from the original on July 15, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  28. ^ Villagomez, Jaime (September 21, 2017). "Wikimedia Foundation Office Move". Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  29. ^ "Janeen Uzzell". Wikimedia Foundation. January 31, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  30. ^ "China blocks Wikimedia Foundation's application to become an observer at WIPO". Knowledge Ecology International. September 23, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020.standing committees to which the board delegates certain matters while retaining ultimate authority. The board has also at times created other orthodox entities[clarification needed] to support itself, such as executive secretaries and ad hoc committees established for specific tasks.

    The current board comprises María Sefidari as chairman and Nataliia Tymkiv as vice-chairman, together with Tanya Capuano, Shani Evenstein Sigalov, Dariusz Jemielniak as members at-large, and Jimmy Wales in the "founder's seat" (installed as "Community Founder Trustee Position" to the WMF bylaws in August 2008).María Sefidari as chairman and Nataliia Tymkiv as vice-chairman, together with Tanya Capuano, Shani Evenstein Sigalov, Dariusz Jemielniak as members at-large, and Jimmy Wales in the "founder's seat" (installed as "Community Founder Trustee Position" to the WMF bylaws in August 2008).[148][149] James Heilman was appointed as a community selected trustee in August 2017.[150] Raju Narisetti, CEO of Gizmodo Media Group, was appointed trustee in October 2017,[151] and Bahraini human rights activist and blogger Esra'a Al Shafei idem in November 2017.[152]

    In a high-profile decision of 2015, James Heilman was removed from the board,[153][154] with little explanation.[153] (He returned in the Board in August 2017).[155][clarification needed] In January 2016, Arnnon Geshuri briefly joined the board before stepping down from the board following a controversy about an agreement he executed when at Google, violating United States antitrust law. The participating companies paid US$415 million in a class action suit on behalf of affected employees.[156][157]

    The advisory board, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, is an international network of experts who have agreed to give the foundation meaningful help on a regular basis in many different areas, including law, organizational development, technology, policy, and outreach.[158]

    Appointed members for the period from June 16, 2017 to June 30, 2018 were:[159]

    • Ting Chen
    • Appointed members for the period from June 16, 2017 to June 30, 2018 were:[159]

      In 2004, the foundation appointed Tim Starling as developer liaison to help improve the MediaWiki software, Daniel Mayer as chief financial officer (finance, budgeting, and coordination of fund drives), and Erik Möller as content partnership coordinator. In May 2005, the foundation announced seven more official appointments.[160]

      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.[161] Starling resigned that month to spend more time on his PhD program.

      Employees

      The foundation's functions were, for the first few years, executed almost entirely by volunteers. In 2005, it had only two employees, Danny Wool, a coordinator, and Brion Vibber, a software manager.

      As of October 4, 2006, the foundation had five paid employees:[162] two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director,[163] 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, who served as general counsel and legal coordinator from July 2007[164] until 2010.

      In January 2007, Carolyn Doran was named chief operating officer and Sandy Ordonez joined as head of communications.[165] Doran began working as a part-time bookkeeper in 2006 after being sent by a temporary agency. Doran, found to have had a long criminal record,[166] left the foundation in July 2007, and Sue Gardner was hired as consultant and special advisor (later CEO). Doran's departure from the organization was cited by Florence Devouard as one of the reasons the foundation took about seven months to release its fiscal 2007 financial audit.[167]

      [161] Starling resigned that month to spend more time on his PhD program.

      The foundation's functions were, for the first few years, executed almost entirely by volunteers. In 2005, it had only two employees, Danny Wool, a coordinator, and Brion Vibber, a software manager.

      As of October 4, 2006, the foundation had five paid employees:As of October 4, 2006, the foundation had five paid employees:[162] two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director,[163] 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, who served as general counsel and legal coordinator from July 2007[164] until 2010.

      In January 2007, Carolyn Doran was named chief operating officer and Sandy Ordonez joined as head of communications.[165] Doran began working as a part-time bookkeeper in 2006 after being sent by a temporary agency. Doran, found to have had a long criminal record,[166] left the foundation in July 2007, and Sue Gardner was hired as consultant and special advisor (later CEO). Doran's departure from the organization was cited by Florence Devouard as one of the reasons the foundation took about seven months to release its fiscal 2007 financial audit.[167]

      Danny Wool, officially the grant coordinator but also largely involved in fundraising and business development, resigned in March 2007. He accused Wales of misusing the foundation's funds for recreational purposes, and said that Wales had his Wikimedia credit card taken away in part because of his spending habits, a claim Wales denied.[168] In February 2007, the foundation added a new position, chapters coordinator, and hired Delphine Ménard,[169] who had been occupying the position as a volunteer since August 2005. Cary Bass was hired in March 2007 in the position of volunteer coordinator. Oleta McHenry was brought in as accountant in May 2007, through a temporary placement agency and made the official full-time accountant in August 2007. In January 2008, the foundation appointed Veronique Kessler as the new chief financial and operating officer, Kul Wadhwa as head of business development, and Jay Walsh as head of communications.

      As of December 19, 2019, the foundation had more than 350 employees and contractors.[8]

      Disputes and lawsuits

      [update] the foundation had more than 350 employees and contractors.[8]

      Many disputes have resulted in litigation[170][171][172][173] while others have not.[174] Attorney Matt Zimmerman stated, "Without strong liability protection, it would be difficult for Wikipedia to continue to provide a platform for user-created encyclopedia content."[175]

      In December 2011, the foundation hired Washington, D.C., lobbyist Dow Lohnes Government Strategies LLC to lobby the United States Congress with regard to "Civil Rights/Civil Liberties" and "Copyright/Patent/Trademark."[176] At the time of the hire the Foundation was concerned specifically about a bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[177]

      In October 2013, a German Court ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation can be held liable for content added to Wikipedia – however, this applies only when there has been a specific complaint; otherwise, the Wikimedia Foundation does not check any of the content published on Wikipedia and has no duty to do so.[178]

      In June 2014, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige against Wikimedia Sweden.[179]

      On June 20, 2014, a defamation lawsuit (Law Division civil case No. L-1400-14) involving Wikipedia editors was filed with the Mercer County Superior Court in New Jersey seeking, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages.[180][181]

      In a March 10, 201

      In December 2011, the foundation hired Washington, D.C., lobbyist Dow Lohnes Government Strategies LLC to lobby the United States Congress with regard to "Civil Rights/Civil Liberties" and "Copyright/Patent/Trademark."[176] At the time of the hire the Foundation was concerned specifically about a bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act.[177]

      In October 2013, a German Court ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation can be held liable for content added to Wikipedia – however, this applies only when there has been a specific complaint; otherwise, the Wikimedia Foundation does not check any of the content published on Wikipedia and has no duty to do so.[178]

      In June 2014, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige against Wikimedia Sweden.[179]

      On June 20, 2014, a defamation lawsuit (Law Division civil case No. L-1400-14) involving Wikipedia editors was filed with the Mercer County Superior Court in New Jersey seeking, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages.[180][181]

      In a March 10, 2015, op-ed for The New York Times, Wales and Tretikov announced the foundation was filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency and five other government agencies and officials, including the DOJ, calling into question its practice of mass surveillance, which they argued infringed the constitutional rights of the foundation's readers, editors and staff. They were joined in the suit by eight additional plaintiffs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.[182][183][184] On October 23, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the suit Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA on grounds of standing. U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III ruled that the plaintiffs could not plausibly prove they were subject to upstream surveillance, and that their argument is "riddled with assumptions", "speculations" and "mathematical gymnastics".[185][186] The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on February 17, 2016.[187]

      In February 2016, Lila Tretikov announced her resignation as executive director, as a result of the WMF's controversial Knowledge Engine project and disagreements with the staff.[188][189]

      During the 2015 fundraising campaign, some members of the community voiced their concerns about the fundraising banners. They argued that they were obtrusive for users and that they could be deceiving potential donors by giving the perception that Wikipedia had immediate financial issues, which was not the case. The Wikimedia Foundation vowed to improve wording on further fundraising campaigns to avoid these issues.[190]

      Removal of community-appointed trustee

      In June 2015, James Heilman was elected by the community to the Wikimedia

      In June 2015, James Heilman was elected by the community to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.[191] In December 2015, the Board removed Heilman from his position as a Trustee,[192][193] a decision that generated substantial controversy amongst members of the Wikipedia community.[153] A statement released by the board declared the lack of confidence of his fellow trustees in him as the reasons for his ouster. Heilman later stated that he "was given the option of resigning [by the Board] over the last few weeks. As a community elected member I see my mandate as coming from the community which elected me and thus declined to do so. I saw such a move as letting down those who elected me."[194] He subsequently pointed out that while on the Board, he had pushed for greater transparency regarding the Wikimedia Foundation's controversial Knowledge Engine project and its financing,[195] and indicated that his attempts to make public the Knight Foundation grant for the engine had been a factor in his dismissal.[196]

      The volunteer community re-elected him to the Wikimedia Foundation board in 2017.[155]

      Knowledge Engine

      [155]

      Knowledge Engine was a search engine project initiated in 2015 by the WMF to locate and display verifiable and trustworthy information on the Internet.[197] The goal of the KE was to be less reliant on traditional search engines and it was funded with a US$250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.[198] The project was perceived as a scandal, mainly because it was conceived in secrecy, which was perceived as a conflict with the Wikimedia community's transparency. In fact, most of the information available to the community was received through leaked documents published by The Signpost in 2016.[199][197]

      Following this controversy, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov resigned.[200]

      Excessive spending

      1. English Wikipedia online newspaper, titled Wikipedia has Cancer[201] produced a heated debate both in the Wikipedian community and the wider public. The author criticized the Wikimedia Foundation for its ever-increasing annual spending which, he argued, could put the project at financial risk should an unexpected event happen. The author proposed to put a cap on spending, build up its existing endowment, and restructure the endowment so that the WMF cannot dip into the principal when times get bad. Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Katherine Maher responded by pointing out that such an endowment was already created in 2016, confusing creating an endowment with building up an existing endowment.[202]