Thank you Lisa, Janeen, Tony and the Equity Fund Committee for working on
this pilot project.
Some of the major barriers preventing more people from joining our movement
are barriers of power and privilege. In many parts of the world, that
correlates with histories of racial discrimination and inequality. The
Board of the Wikimedia Foundation supported this idea as a way for us as a
Movement, not only an organisation, to directly address these obstacles and
hopefully bring new partners and newcomers into our movement.
As a Wikipedian I know that having good reliable sources is crucial. As a
Ukrainian Wikipedia volunteer I know that sometimes these good reliable
sources are just manuscripts collecting dust in some drawers, as people who
do research do not always get the support they need, so they do not
publish. And thus we editors cannot use those sources. And I am positive my
experience is not unique. I imagine that in some countries and communities
this can be even harder because of the obstacles mentioned above.
I hope that through this pilot program, Wikimedia can support work to
improve access to knowledge where the need is great. And I am sure we
(collectively) will learn a lot while trying something new, and that would
influence how we pursue these issues in the future. I would like to think
that our efforts would not be futile and that we could change things and
(at some point) all people would be able to share in the sum of all
knowledge, not just privileged ones.
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
Acting Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
*NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working
hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in
On Wed, Jun 9, 2021 at 8:15 PM Lisa Gruwell <lgruwell(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
I’m excited to share more information about the Wikimedia Foundation’s
Knowledge Equity Fund.
The Equity Fund is a pilot initiative that came out of the commitment the
Foundation’s leadership team made in June 2020  in the wake of global
protests against racial injustice. Our goal was to create a grant-making
fund with an explicit focus on addressing barriers to free knowledge
experienced by Black, indigenous and communities of color around the world.
This is a $4.5 million USD fund to address racial inequities that impact
the work of free knowledge. It was created to provide focused grants to
organizations that are advancing knowledge equity, one of two key pillars
of our 2030 strategic direction of becoming the essential infrastructure of
free knowledge. Specifically, the fund is meant to support organizations
working to address the racial injustices and barriers that prevent
participation in free knowledge.
We allocated funds for the Equity Fund at the end of the Foundation’s
fiscal year last June.  It took more time than we expected to share our
plans for this pilot program, as we’ve been navigating the operational
and logistical issues of creating a new type of fund. Over the past
several months since the Equity Fund was first announced, Foundation staff
and volunteers have been meeting to discuss the goals and the details of
the Equity Fund, and we finally have more to share.
The Equity Fund will be used to support local and international
organizations that don’t currently qualify for grants funding from the
Foundation, such as external organizations that can help advance our
mission and are not working directly on wikiprojects. We recognize that the
work of knowledge equity is work that we as a movement cannot do alone. Our
projects can only do so much when, for example, academic and mass media
representation of marginalized communities remains insufficient, which in
turn limits citations and primary sources for us to build from. Through
Equity Fund investments, we wish to create an ecosystem of partners,
collaborators, and grantees working on knowledge equity that will benefit
the movement. This could include journalism projects to increase content
about underrepresented regions of the world, or scholarship and research
initiatives that are focused on expanding academic understanding of
structural barriers to knowledge and potential solutions.
The Equity Fund is separate from the grants that are available for
community groups and the ongoing Grants Relaunch . It is a new pool of
funds that we can use to directly impact knowledge equity, and specifically
barriers due to race that prevent access and participation in free
We are currently working to identify the first grant recipients for the
Equity Fund. The Meta page for the Equity Fund  includes more
information (the members of the Equity Fund Committee, the five specific
focus areas we will be investing in) and next steps. We are also currently
looking for recommendations on organizations for grants - you can visit
Meta or fill out this survey  if you have organizations that are already
doing this work and would be a good fit.
Lastly, we do want to emphasize that this is a pilot. There are a lot of
open questions that have been raised by community members that we are still
figuring out, on topics such as ensuring investment in global organizations
and inclusive definitions of racial equity. We welcome additional questions
as the project evolves from this early stage. We’re answering questions on
Meta, so please join us there. We will also be hosting Office Hours in the
Monday, June 13 at 0100-0200 UTC meet.google.com/myf-zcaw-ubg
Monday, June 13 at 1500-1600 UTC meet.google.com/dzu-edej-wva
This is an active step towards addressing the barriers that perpetuate
knowledge gaps on our projects and prevent participation in free knowledge.
We’re excited to try this new pilot and share our progress.
Lisa Gruwell, Janeen Uzzell, Tony Sebro and the Equity Fund Committee
Lisa Seitz Gruwell
Chief Advancement Officer
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
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