Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

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Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

Chris Keating-2
The Foundation, and Wikimedia Deutschland, have set up a "participation grants" initiative to fund people going places to do things in the Wikimedia movement. We've already identified giving travel grants of this nature as something we should do in 2012. We've been invited to take part and commit a sum of money towards it, but aren't sure whether we should or not. 


Basically, the advantages we might gain are that it might be simpler (both for us and the applicants) if there was one global grants programme rather than us doing our own thing.

The disadvantage would be that we'd have less direct control over what that element of grant might be spent on, we might need to take on some of the work of deciding on a wider group of grant applications, and also the fact that the dividing line between what the Foundation does and what Chapters do is very unclear at the moment and this might further muddy it.

Does anyone here have a view?

Thanks,

Chris




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Re: Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

Fae-6
My understanding is that nobody has suggested that if WM-UK were to
give an unrestricted donation to this committee that it would
supersede our current practices for offering non-UK grants, such as
the grant for GLAMcamp in December.

As well as having little or no control over outcomes or (probably) how
they are reported, this represents a move away from allowing our
volunteers to assess the suitability of grants (with minimal staff
support) to paying chapter and WMF staff to spend their time every
week sitting on a funding committee. Though I have asked for an
estimate of end to end costs and associated increase or saving on
transaction costs the only answer received so far was "negligible"
which leads me to suspect there is no plan for WMF or WM-DE staff to
book or report on the time they spend every week dealing with the
analysis of proposals against the WMF mission (presumably not against
the WM-DE mission) or the associated reporting requirements needed for
tax and governance purposes.

Though I understand that 3 grants have been given, in addition to any
reports by grantees, it is unclear at this point how these grants are
openly reported by the PGC though presumably these reports will
clarify how the assessment of proposals against the mission was
achieved.

My understanding is that as a newly conceived committee, the PGC has
yet to publish a stable policy that we could access against, say,
Charities Commission guidelines or judge as an effective or efficient
use of our charitable funds. I remain unclear as to why the money
WM-UK provides to the WMF requires an additional supplement beyond the
amount that the WMF has earmarked for the PGC ($25,000) as it would
seem more effective to increase our grant to the WMF with the
exception that they would in turn increase their grant budget if we
feel the money is better placed there rather than the complexity of
going through this unproven process.

Until the processes are stable and there is a track record of
successful outcomes, donating money to a new committee of this type
seems to introduce risk rather than providing any efficiency savings
even though there are obvious benefits to chapter staff working in
this way with WMF staff.

I have raised some questions at
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:Participation> and I
encourage anyone interested to read through the most recent questions
and answers there and consider taking part in improving the proposed
process.

Cheers,
Fae
--
http://enwp.org/user_talk:fae
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags

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Re: Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Chris Keating-2
On 1 November 2011 12:48, Chris Keating <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The Foundation, and Wikimedia Deutschland, have set up a "participation
> grants" initiative to fund people going places to do things in the Wikimedia
> movement. We've already identified giving travel grants of this nature as
> something we should do in 2012. We've been invited to take part and commit a
> sum of money towards it, but aren't sure whether we should or not.

If we want to fund our own choices of global activities, or give
grants for UK activities (or UK residents doing things overseas), then
we should do so directly. If we want to fund global activities without
deciding for ourselves, then we should just include the money in our
donation to the WMF and let them get on with it.

As I've mentioned in the discussion on internal-l, this new scheme
seems very confused in terms of what the roles of chapters and the WMF
are.

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Re: Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

HJ Mitchell
Thinking as a member, I would prefer an organisation of which I'm a member to be able to decide on a case-by-case basis what it wants to give grants out for. Thinking as a potential applicant for a grant, I think WMUK's process, at least for microgrants, looks more efficient than deferring to a committe over which WMUK has limited influence.
 
If the WMDE/Foundation initiative is mainly focused on larger grants (ie bigger than thsoe covered by WMUK's microgrants scheme), then there could be benefits to WMUK's participation, and it could be interesting to see what kind of things people are applying for grants for as possible inspiration to Brits.
 
Harry

From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Tuesday, 1 November 2011, 13:12
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Should we join in the Foundation grants scheme?

On 1 November 2011 12:48, Chris Keating <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The Foundation, and Wikimedia Deutschland, have set up a "participation
> grants" initiative to fund people going places to do things in the Wikimedia
> movement. We've already identified giving travel grants of this nature as
> something we should do in 2012. We've been invited to take part and commit a
> sum of money towards it, but aren't sure whether we should or not.

If we want to fund our own choices of global activities, or give
grants for UK activities (or UK residents doing things overseas), then
we should do so directly. If we want to fund global activities without
deciding for ourselves, then we should just include the money in our
donation to the WMF and let them get on with it.

As I've mentioned in the discussion on internal-l, this new scheme
seems very confused in terms of what the roles of chapters and the WMF
are.

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[hidden email]
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WMUK: http://uk.wikimedia.org



_______________________________________________
Wikimedia UK mailing list
[hidden email]
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WMUK: http://uk.wikimedia.org