Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has been passing the hat via a banner on the Web site for months, asking for small donations to keep the free Web encyclopedia humming along. Answering the call, Google founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder of personal genetics company 23andMe, have awarded a $500,000 grant to the Wikimedia Foundation through their own Brin Wojcicki Foundation.

In a press release from the Wikimedia Foundation — the parent organization for the twelve Wiki sites including Wikipedia, Wikiquote and Wiktionary — executive director Sue Gardner said that the donation was “an important endorsement” for the group and its work.

The Brin Wojcicki Foundation also recently gave money to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for research on Parkinson’s Disease, promising to match up to $50 million through 2012.

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