Wikipedia has revealed that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is awarding $3 million to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation which operates the site - the "world's largest and most popular encyclopedia".

The Foundation says the money will "support Wikimedia's organisational development and help to increase the quality of its content and the reach of its services".

"We are extremely grateful for this support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation", said Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

"Wikipedia and its sister projects have an enormous global impact, but the organization behind them has been operating on a shoestring: unable to pursue partnerships, execute projects, or even to effectively fundraise."

"This institutional support from Sloan will enable us to make progress on some key goals: increasing quality, broadening participation, and distributing free knowledge to people without Internet connectivity."

The funding will be received over 3 years, at 1 million dollars per year.