This press release is also available online here:

And as a blog post here:

For more information, see our commemorative website:

Wikipedia celebrates 15 years of free knowledge

Community celebrates Wikipedia and sister projects with nearly 150 events
on six continents

Wikimedia Foundation announces endowment to sustain Wikipedia for the future

San Francisco, CA. January 14, 2016 -- This Friday marks the 15th
anniversary of Wikipedia <>, the world’s free
encyclopedia that anyone can edit. This week, we celebrate not just
Wikipedia, but the birth of an idea: that anyone can contribute to the
world’s knowledge. Globally, readers and editors are coming together to
celebrate, with nearly 150 events across six continents. From editing
marathons <>
in Bangladesh and lectures
in Switzerland, to picnics
<> in South
Africa and a conference
<> in
Mexico, the world is celebrating the joy of knowledge

As part of this milestone, the Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce
the Wikimedia Endowment <>, a
permanent source of funding to ensure Wikipedia thrives for generations to
come. The Wikimedia Endowment will empower people around the world to
create and contribute free knowledge, and share that knowledge with every
single human being. Our goal is to raise $100 million over the next 10
years. The Endowment has been established, with an initial contribution by
the Wikimedia Foundation, as a Collective Action Fund at the Tides
Foundation <>.

Wikipedia launched on January 15, 2001 with a bold vision: a world in which
every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. At
the time, the idea that people around the world would collaborate to build
an encyclopedia—for free—seemed unbelievable. Since then, Wikipedia has
grown to more than 36 million articles in hundreds of languages, used by
hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Wikipedia and its sister
projects are still built by volunteers around the world: each month,
roughly 80,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikimedia sites.

"Wikipedia challenged us to rethink how knowledge can be gathered and
shared." said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, "Knowledge is no longer handed
down from on high, instead it is freely shared by everyone online.
Wikipedia seemed like an impossible idea at the time—an online
encyclopaedia that everyone can edit. However, it has surpassed everyone's
expectations over the past 15 years, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of
volunteers around the world who have made Wikipedia possible."

We're celebrating Wikipedia's global community with a commemorative website
<> and week-long campaign, collecting and sharing
the stories of individuals and organizations that have helped develop
Wikipedia into the world's largest collection of collaboratively created
free knowledge. These stories show the truly global nature of the Wikimedia
community: from Ziyad Alsufyani
<>, a medical student
at Taif University in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia who has been editing the Arabic
Wikipedia <> since 2009, to Susanna Mkrtchyan
<>, a professor and
devoted grandmother working to give Armenian students better educational
opportunities. We will continue to collect stories throughout the month of

Today, we celebrate all of the projects, partnerships, events, and joy the
Wikimedia movement has inspired over the past 15 years, with many still to
come. Wikipedia is much more than a website. Wikipedia and its sister
Wikimedia projects represent a global, ever-expanding resource and
community for free knowledge. Here are just a few examples:


   Wikipedia started in January 2001 in English, but soon expanded to other
   languages—within the first year, it grew to 18 languages. Today, it is
   available in nearly 300.

   Volunteers constantly edit and improve Wikipedia. Every hour, roughly
   15,000 edits are made to Wikipedia. Every day, around 7,000 new articles
   are created.

   Wikipedia became one of the top 10 websites in the world in 2007, and
   the only non-profit website anywhere near the top.

   It’s not just Wikipedia. There are 11 other Wikimedia free knowledge
   projects, including Wikimedia Commons
   <>, with more than 30 million freely
   licensed images, as well as Wiktionary <>,
   Wikisource <>, Wikivoyage
   <>, and more.

   The Wikimedia community supports global projects that spread the joy of
   knowledge. Wiki Loves Monuments
   <>, a global photo
   competition, launched in 2010 to document images of cultural heritage. In
   2011, the contest was named the largest photo competition in the world.
   Companion projects like Wiki Loves Earth <>, Wiki
   Loves Africa <>, and even Wiki Loves Cheese
   document more knowledge from around the globe.

   Volunteers around the world have built hundreds of partnerships with
   galleries, libraries, museums to make institutional collections more
   broadly available. These partnerships have contributed to more than 1.5
   million images of cultural works on the Wikimedia projects.

If you’d like to help celebrate Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, you can share
on social media what Wikipedia means to you by tagging @Wikipedia
<> and using the hashtag #wikipedia15. To
learn more about Wikipedia and the joy it inspires, visit

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the world’s free knowledge resource. It is a collaborative
creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people from
around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any
time. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages containing a total of
more than 36 million articles, and visited by nearly half a billion people
every month. Wikimedia and its sister projects are the largest collection
of free knowledge in human history.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and
operates Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedia attracts more than 15
billion page views each month. Every month roughly 80,000 people edit
Wikipedia and its sister projects, collectively creating, improving, and
maintaining its more than 35 million articles across hundreds of languages
-- this all makes Wikipedia one of the most popular web properties in the
world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a
501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

About the Wikimedia Endowment

The purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment is to serve as a perpetual source of
support for the operation and activities of Wikipedia and its sister
projects. It will empower people around the world to create and contribute
free knowledge, and share that knowledge with every single human being. The
Endowment has been established, with an initial contribution by Wikimedia
Foundation, as a Collective Action Fund at Tides Foundation. Tides is a
public charity with a 40-year track record of holding and managing
charitable funds for nonprofit organizations. An Advisory Board, nominated
by the Wikimedia Foundation and appointed by Tides, will make
recommendations to Tides related to the Endowment. Tides or the Wikimedia
Foundation may choose to transfer the Endowment from Tides to the Wikimedia
Foundation, or other charities identified by the Wikimedia Foundation. At
that point, the Endowment would continue to be a permanent,
income-generating fund to support the Wikimedia projects.

Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

Katherine Maher

+1 415-839-6885 ext 6633

*Juliet Barbara*
Senior Communications Manager I Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street I San Francisco, CA 94105 I +1 (512) 750-5677
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