This week the Wikimedia Foundation launched a new grantmaking program called Individual Engagement Grants. These grants support individual Wikimedians or small teams to complete projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement, lead to online impact, and serve our mission, community and strategic priorities.
In recent years, the Wikimedia Foundation has been expanding its grantmaking activities. We want to ensure that the donations made by people who rely on Wikipedia for information serve the Wikimedia movement wherever it is most needed. Most of the grants we’ve made to this point have gone to organizations – Wikimedia chapters around the world, or smaller groups hosting workshops or running editing contests and so forth – and we’ll be continuing to grow our capacity to support these organizations in the future.
But much of Wikipedia and its sister sites run off of the amazing work that volunteers do individually. Thousands of people sit at their computers each day, writing articles, fighting vandalism, teaching new editors how to get started, organizing features for the main page, resolving disputes, answering emails from readers and more. These individuals make Wikipedia work, and many of them have ideas for innovative new projects that can make Wikipedia work even better. Many of these ideas can be and are accomplished by volunteers alone – volunteerism is, after all, the wonderful core of Wikimedia’s sites. But sometimes funding for time and expenses is needed to get an initiative up and running, and this is where Individual Engagement Grants can help. These grants are intended for projects that go beyond content contribution to innovate something that benefits the community and when funding is needed to to turn good ideas into action.
We’re accepting a first round of proposals for Individual Engagement Grants from now until February 15th. We’re also seeking volunteers to serve on a committee to help select the first round of grantees. You can get involved by sharing a project idea, submitting a proposal, or joining the committee – we’re looking forward to having your participation and to announcing the first Individual Engagement grantees in March!
Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants, Wikimedia Foundation