Khoslas back Wikipedia to tune of $500K

All criticisms aside, an online jewel as valuable as Wikipedia shouldn't struggle financially -- yet such has been the case.

Perhaps that's about to change, however, witness this afternoon's just-announced donation of $500,000 to the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia's parent organization, by heavyweight venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and his wife, Neeru. The news comes days after the revelation of a $3 million grant to from the Sloan Foundation.

From the press release:

"We are thrilled and very grateful," said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "Vinod and Neeru share the Wikimedia Foundation's vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Today, they have moved us closer to making that vision a reality."

"Vinod and I are proud to help Wikipedia, a valuable global educational resource," said Neeru Khosla, co-founder and chair of CK12, a non-profit organization supporting the worldwide creation of "flexbooks," collaborative, open-source textbooks. "Wikipedia proves that mass collaboration works, and that small investments can reap extraordinary returns. We are happy to be a part of it."

Reasonable people can argue over Wikimedia's fundraising philosophies, but there seems little room for disagreement that Wikipedia is worthy of the attention of deep-pocketed philanthropic organizations and individuals.

Here's hoping that others will emulate the example being set by Vinod and Neeru Khosla, so that future debates can be about how to make Wikipedia better, not about how to keep it viable.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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