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Wikimedia Foundation kicks off 2007 fund-raiser

Jimmy Wales-founded organization is appealing to its readers for donations to help expand its language reach (among other things).

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit parent company of Wikipedia and its anyone-can-edit brethren, announced on Monday that it has begun its annual fund-raiser. The organization has said that proceeds from the fund-raiser, which runs through December 22, will be used to pay for technological and corporate improvements as well as program development--specifically expanding its operations to global regions and languages that are currently underrepresented.

"We believe that everyone in the world should have access to education, regardless of race, nationality, gender, age or economic background," Wikimedia Foundation founder Jimmy Wales, who also started a for-profit spin-off, Wikia, said in a statement. "We also believe that everyone has knowledge to contribute. Through the public's support and the Foundation's continued efforts, we expect to have a similar impact on communities in the most remote areas of the world as we have in more developed parts of the globe."

For example, the Wikimedia Foundation--which recently relocated from St. Petersburg, Fla., to San Francisco--will hold an event in South Africa in November with the aim to expand Wikipedia's reach among African languages.

Exact data from last year's Wikimedia Foundation fund-raiser is not yet available because the organization does not expect its audit for the 2006-2007 fiscal year to be finished until late November. The Wikimedia Foundation is not announcing a target for this year's fund-raiser but has stated that its 2007-2008 operating budget is $4.6 million.