The tomb of Bibi Jawindi in Uch Sharif, Punjab, Pakistan, captured for Wiki Loves Monuments 2016. Photo by Usamashahid433, CC BY-SA 4.0.

We are excited to announce the successful grantees from the third round of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Project Grants program.

Project Grants support individuals, groups and organizations to implement new experiments and proven ideas, whether focused on building a new tool or gadget, organizing a better process on your wiki, researching an important issue, coordinating an editathon series or providing other support for community-building.

We launched the Project Grants program in 2016 to pilot new program designs created in response to community feedback. In early 2017, after two rounds of funding, we conducted a community survey to understand how the changes have impacted our grantees. Our report on the results of that survey are now available on Meta.

Project Grants are reviewed by a volunteer committee currently made up of 17 Wikimedians who come from over 13 different wikis and collectively speak over 15 languages. Outside of our Project Grant committee work, members edit, review, and translate content; help govern local chapters; write software; organize off-wiki events; facilitate workshops; work as sysops and bureaucrats; verify copyright and licensing permissions; draft and discuss project policies; and recruit and welcome new users to Wikimedia projects. Many members also serve as advisors to new grantees, helping to answer questions, connect them to relevant resources, and comment on monthly and midpoint reports.

In this latest round, 32 eligible proposals were submitted for the committee’s review. The committee has recommended that ten projects be funded to receive $224,900, divided into three themes: online organizing, offline outreach, and software. Here is what we are funding:

Online organizing: two projects funded

The ceiling in the Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi, seen from Wiki Loves Monuments 2016. Photo by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0.

  • Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 coordination: This year, the Wiki Loves Monuments International Team will continue to encourage content on diverse cultural heritage sites in this annually-run contest. By addressing the need for partnerships and development of tools to support participants, this project hopes to bolster local communities to contribute and collaborate on the Wikimedia projects, with a focus on Commons and Wikidata.
  • Contest toolkits and prize funds: Led by a prolific English Wikipedian, Dr.Blofeld, this project aims to equip prospective contester organizers with toolkits and design ideas, enabling them to customize their own campaigns. In addition, the project will include a large contest to boost the geographic diversity of representation of women on English Wikipedia.

Offline outreach: seven projects funded

  • Wiki Loves Monuments in Perú: Recently-recognized affiliate Wikimedians of Peru User Group will organize a Wiki Loves Monuments contest through outreach efforts with the Ministry of Culture in Peru as well as with newer participants outside of Lima to contribute national and cultural heritage to the movement.
  • Multimedia Documentation of Traditional Trades and Crafts of Eastern, Northern and Up-Country Sri Lanka: Through extensive outreach in underrepresented regions in Sri Lanka, this project plans to expand knowledge of the traditional industries, agricultural trades, and crafts of Sri Lanka. With integrated support from the Noolaham Foundation, engagement with local communities through their livelihoods will be a significant step toward documenting cultural heritage in Tamil Wikipedia, Commons, Wiktionary, and Wikibooks.
  • Wikimedian in Residence at UNESCO 2017–18: As a follow-up to a previous Foundation grant with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), John_Cummings and Navino Evans will facilitate long-term infrastructure to support ongoing content donations, including media and text for Wikipedia and Commons, and structured data for Wikidata.  Using the UNESCO partnership as a model, they will educate and encourage other scientific and cultural institutions to contribute open license material.
  • Engaging with Academic Librarians and Sororities to Address the Gender Gap: A returning grantee from the Inspire Campaign, West Virginia University Libraries’ Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equality will foster partnerships with three other academic institutions. The project will develop a scalable model for cross training student life and university library staff to promote Wikipedia editing as an option for sororities to meet their community service requirements.
  • UG GLAM Macedonia/Wikipedian in Residence: Through education and training, two Wikipedians in Residence will enable GLAM institutions in Skopje to produce public domain material to Macedonian Wikimedia projects. This will be an opportunity for the Macedonian community to collaborate with the State Archives in the Republic of Macedonia and City Library “Braka Miladinovci,” and to target areas for volunteers to explore and release new content to the movement.

Software: one project funded

EveryPolitician will populate Wikidata with structured data reflecting interrelationships of heads of government. Such information has many applications, including empowering citizen activists who fight corruption in leadership around the world. Screenshot, public domain/CC0.

  • EveryPolitician: UK-based organization mySociety aims to populate Wikidata with well-structured, consistent data on elected officials from around the world. EveryPolitician combines data from multiple primary and secondary sources from over 3.6 million data points on almost 73,000 politicians in 233 countries and territories. Through technical infrastructure and volunteer workflows, the project will establish ongoing updates to Wikidata about political leadership around the world, providing access to crucial information for citizens seeking to engage and advocate with their elected representatives.

Analysis of trends

Wikimedians in Residence

Wikimedians in Residence (WiRs) play an important role in our movement.   They serve as critical liaisons between mission-aligned partner organizations and our extensive community of volunteer contributors.  Through these partnerships, high quality content curated and maintained by the hosting organization becomes accessible online through the Wikimedia projects.  Ideally, the hosting organization funds the WiR’s work, though the Wikimedia Foundation occasionally offers supplemental funding support when the hosting organization is not able to fully cover costs and the specific opportunity is strategically valuable for the Wikimedia movement.  Foundation-funded WiRs do not directly create content; instead, they organize and empower volunteers with the resources available through the hosting organization in order to generate meaningful new content on our projects.  The goal is to leverage the partnership to build a platform that assures sustainable outcomes long after the WiR has completed their service.  WiRs might do this in many ways, including training organizational staff to upload content, implementing infrastructure to enable ongoing content donations, and creating online and offline opportunities for volunteers to engage in content creation and curation using those donations.

This year, we received six requests for Wikipedians in Residence and we have funded five of them.  Two veteran WiRs will continuing their existing work: John Cummings (now working with Navino Evans, will solidify workflows that will make Wikimedia projects ongoing recipients of UNESCO’s extensive data and collections; Kelly Doyle, based in the West Virginia University Libraries, will extend her reach to three more campuses, establishing a model to make editing Wikipedia a standardized component of sorority life across the United States.  In addition, several new WiRs will serve at El Colegio de México, Goge Africa, the State Archives in the Republic of Macedonia and City Library “Braka Miladinovci”.

Wiki Loves Monuments

The oldest and perhaps best-known international photo contest in the Wikimedia movement, Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) has been inspiring and galvanizing volunteers since its origin in 2010.  Every year, it drives widespread photo-documentation of the world’s built cultural heritage.  In addition to attracting jaw-droppingly beautiful photo contributions to our projects, the contest serves an important role in supporting Wikimedian communities.  Because it provides a clear, accessible procedure that volunteer groups with widely varying levels of experience can follow, WLM supports national-scale contests in more countries each year.  This offers both new and veteran groups a relatively simple opportunity to participate in an international activity with richly diverse cultural results.  Cumulatively, these results are significant:  according to the international organizing team, WLM has now brought together the largest collection of monument data in the world.

This year, we funded two requests for WLM activities:  The international coordinating team will support the umbrella infrastructure that makes the contest as a whole possible.  In addition, we will welcome a national contest in Perú.

We received many compelling proposals this year that the committee decided not to fund. We encourage applicants who were not successful in this round of funding to refine and resubmit their proposals in upcoming rounds or to pilot a smaller project in Rapid Grants. Return proposals that have been revised in response to community and committee feedback are warmly welcomed. The open call for Project Grants 2017 Round Two will launch on August 28, 2017, with applications due September 26, 2017.

We look forward to reviewing your suggestions and future submissions, but for now we say congratulations to the successful grantees and encourage you to follow their progress as they begin work in the coming weeks.

Marti Johnson, Program Officer, Individual Grants
Morgan Jue, Community Resources Contractor
Wikimedia Foundation