January 02, 2009, 2:57 PM — The Wikimedia Foundation has raised the necessary funds to operate Wikipedia until the end of June, the nonprofit organization announced Friday.
Wikimedia has received about US$6.2 million since launching its fundraising campaign in early November. More than 125,000 donors have chipped in.
The organization will use the money to maintain and grow its technical infrastructure, a big part of which is devoted to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is one of the Web's most popular sites.
Wikipedia is free and doesn't run advertising, so it depends on donations, grants and gifts to operate.
"This campaign has proven that Wikipedia matters to its users, and that our users strongly support our mission: to bring free knowledge to the planet," Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in a statement.
A personal appeal from Wales -- Wikimedia's chairman emeritus -- posted on the organization's Web site on Dec. 23 triggered a boost in donations: More than 50,000 contributions totaling $2 million were made in the next eight days.
Wikimedia's goal was to raise $6 million to fund its operations through the end of its fiscal year on June 30 of this year.
About 250 million people worldwide visit Wikipedia every month. In the U.S., Wikimedia sites, including Wikipedia, ranked collectively as the ninth most popular online destination in November, with 60.7 million unique visitors, according to comScore. Other sites run by Wikimedia include online dictionary Wiktionary and quotations collection Wikiquote.
People can continue donating to Wikimedia, as the organization will place donations beyond the $6 million mark in a reserve fund for covering expenses incurred next fiscal year.