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manuscripts collecting dust in some drawers, as people who do research do not always get the support they need, so they do not publish.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.

Best regards,
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 advance!

On Wed, Jun 9, 2021 at 8:15 PM Lisa Gruwell <> wrote:

Hi everyone,

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 [1] 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. [2] 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 [3]. 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 knowledge. 

We are currently working to identify the first grant recipients for the Equity Fund.  The Meta page for the Equity Fund [4] 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 [5] 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 coming week:

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.

Thank you,

Lisa Gruwell, Janeen Uzzell, Tony Sebro and the Equity Fund Committee







Lisa Seitz Gruwell

Chief Advancement Officer

Wikimedia Foundation

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