On Monday, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation voted to award the Wikimedia Foundation a grant of US$1,000,000 yearly for the next three years, for a $3 million total grant. The grant is designed to help meet Wikimedia's institutional needs; Wikimedia Executive Director Sue Gardner said that the money would go toward "financial and operational sustainability, increasing quality, increasing and broadening participation, and distributing our material beyond the wiki environment. As you know, we’ve recently expanded the staff from 10 to 15, and we still have a few more positions to fill: this funding will offset those increased costs."
Deputy Executive Director Erik Moeller is said to be the catalyst for receiving the grant; Moeller was in contact with the Sloan Foundation through Wikimedia's involvement on the institutional council of the Encyclopedia of Life; the Sloan Foundation is also one of the funders of the Encyclopedia of Life. Through this contact, Moeller met formally with the Sloan Foundation, and they asked for a formal grant request, which was approved.
The announcement was first made on Tuesday by Gardner; a press release has also been issued. The grant is by far the largest ever given to the Wikimedia Foundation; prior to this donation, the largest donation was a $500,000 donation by an anonymous donor.