Wikipedia, the people's encylopedia, has trousered a $3m donation from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to be paid in equal chunks over three years. Which is nice. Even nicer, the money hails from a charity, and not from philanthropic venture capitalists, who may or may not have commercial designs upon Wikipedia's ads-unsullied pages.
Wikipedia is the world's eighth biggest website, but it has a measly 15 full-time employees, up from last year's even more measly 10. It will use the Sloan cash to fund quality improvements and to up staff levels to 25 people.
As Sue Gardner, executive director of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, notes, Wikipedia has been "operating on a shoestring: unable to pursue partnerships, execute projects, or even to effectively fundraise. This institutional support from Sloan will enable us to make progress on some key goals: increasing quality, broadening participation, and distributing free knowledge to people without Internet connectivity."
Now for Doron Weber of Sloan: "We are delighted to support the Wikimedia Foundation and to help develop its organizational capacity and improve the quality of its flagship, Wikipedia...Wikipedia represents a quantum leap in collecting human knowledge from diverse sources, organizing it without commercial or other bias, and making it freely available to people everywhere.”
Doron's notion of bias differs from ours, but Wikipedia has been short of good news lately - check out the related stories below. On such a day it would be churlish of us to quibble. Let us instead offer our congratulations.
This way for the press release. ®