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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer. Photo: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Katherine Maher, the Wikimedia Foundation's CEO, will step down as of April 15, she tells Axios, leaving the nonprofit in a vastly stronger position than she found it when she joined in 2014.

Why it matters: Wikipedia is growing to become the most global and trusted source of knowledge in the world. Its base of active editors is rising, its number of women editors has increased by 30% just in the past year, and it has upgraded not only its website but also its app, which is now available for feature phones as well as smart phones.

Financially, the Wikimedia Foundation now has an endowment of more than $90 million, and has doubled its annual budget to an estimated $140 million in 2021.

  • It's hard to think of any other tech nonprofit that has been remotely as successful. OpenAI effectively became a for-profit in 2019, while Signal is still reliant on a single donor, Brian Acton.

Between the lines: One area that Wikimedia has been particularly successful is in garnering trust. That's also an area the news media could use some pointers.

  • Driving the trust: Maher is proud of her new Universal Code of Conduct, but also credits the diversity of Wikipedia's editors as a key ingredient creating trust in its content.
  • "Disagreement is the essential friction that produces our best content," she says.
  • A prime example: The magisterial 14,000-word article (plus 492 footnotes and a very detailed discussion) detailing the storming of the U.S. Capitol last month.

What's next: The Wikimedia Foundation board has created a committee to search for Maher's successor. Maher tells Axios that she hopes the next leader will "come from the future of knowledge" — by which she means Africa, the Indian subcontinent, or Latin America.

  • Maher herself says she intends to move back to the East Coast. She's up for a challenge — and there are some big jobs available.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the Wikimedia Foundation has an endowment of more than $90 million.

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Schumer vows to confirm Breyer replacement "with all deliberate speed"

Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded Wednesday to reports that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, commending his time on the bench and promising to confirm President Biden's nominated replacement "with all deliberate speed."

Why it matters: The opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden's legacy and could energize Democrats ahead of the midterms.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israel's "top priority" mission to discredit UN probe

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the UN. Photo: John Minchillo/Pool via Getty

Israel is planning a campaign to discredit a UN commission formed to investigate the violence in Gaza last May and the root causes of the protracted conflict in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry cable seen by Axios.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say they are highly concerned that the commission’s report will refer to Israel as an "Apartheid state" and that its findings could damage Israel's reputation, particularly among progressives in the West. The report is expected in June.