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Wikimedia receives $500,000 from Hewlett Foundation

Nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia plans to use the grant to improve the user-friendliness of Wikimedia's software, among other things.

The nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia has received a $500,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to expand its effort to make educational information freely accessible.

"The enormous popularity of Wikipedia and its collaborative premise make the Wikimedia Foundation an ideal vehicle for spreading the open educational resources movement," Barbara Chow, director of the education program at Hewlett, said in a statement.

A Wikimedia representative said the grant is coming at a "critical time" for the foundation that operates the online encyclopedia.

"We've just begun the planning that will help us identify how to maximize our impact around the world," Sue Gardner, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in the statement. "This support will help us to execute our priorities for the current year, and enable us to plan for the future."

The San Francisco-based Wikimedia said it plans to use the grant to improve the user-friendliness of Wikimedia's software, develop training materials to engage new potential volunteer editors, and establish metrics to track the foundation's impact.

The Hewlett Foundation has bestowed more than $100 million in grants since 2001 to make educational materials available to all people for free.