[Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

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[Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Lisa Gruwell
Hi all-

For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to begin
building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt to
rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.  We also plan to have this
conversation as a part of the larger strategic planning process because
building an endowment means prioritizing some future needs over some
current needs.

Before we can begin to support an endowment, there is strategic groundwork
that should be completed to ensure that the effort is both thoughtful and
successful. To help get the conversation moving, I seeded the discussion
page with a few questions that we are hoping you will help us answer.
Please add the questions I didn't think to ask, too. We'd appreciate
hearing your thoughts on this and your help in thinking through some of the
strategic questions.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment_Essay
Best regards,

Lisa Gruwell
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Lila Tretikov
Lisa,

Thank you for sharing these exciting news and all the work the team has
completed so far.  I know I have spoken with many of our community members
in the past about this important milestone in protecting our community's
work long-term. I am looking forward to hearing more from everyone as we
make this real.

Lila

On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi all-
>
> For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> begin
> building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt to
> rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
> endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.  We also plan to have this
> conversation as a part of the larger strategic planning process because
> building an endowment means prioritizing some future needs over some
> current needs.
>
> Before we can begin to support an endowment, there is strategic groundwork
> that should be completed to ensure that the effort is both thoughtful and
> successful. To help get the conversation moving, I seeded the discussion
> page with a few questions that we are hoping you will help us answer.
> Please add the questions I didn't think to ask, too. We'd appreciate
> hearing your thoughts on this and your help in thinking through some of the
> strategic questions.
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment_Essay
> Best regards,
>
> Lisa Gruwell
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Brion Vibber-4
In reply to this post by Lisa Gruwell
Thanks!

I added a section to the talk page asking about how we would actually go
about investing... the purpose of an endowment is to let it grow and just
spend some of the interest, but that growth doesn't happen in a vacuum.
Investment happens by putting money into other peoples' businesses and
letting them pay you back with interest.

So we'd be asking donors for tens of millions of dollars to invest in
third-party businesses -- a fundamental change in our fundraising
proposition. Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
probably worthwhile.

-- brion

On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi all-
>
> For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> begin
> building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt to
> rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
> endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.  We also plan to have this
> conversation as a part of the larger strategic planning process because
> building an endowment means prioritizing some future needs over some
> current needs.
>
> Before we can begin to support an endowment, there is strategic groundwork
> that should be completed to ensure that the effort is both thoughtful and
> successful. To help get the conversation moving, I seeded the discussion
> page with a few questions that we are hoping you will help us answer.
> Please add the questions I didn't think to ask, too. We'd appreciate
> hearing your thoughts on this and your help in thinking through some of the
> strategic questions.
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment_Essay
> Best regards,
>
> Lisa Gruwell
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Pine W
That's a good question.

Alternatives to private sector equity investments include public-sector
bonds, as well as commodities and currencies. While I wouldn't recommend
that WMF do either of the latter two, there might be some reasonable
choices for WMF in the public sector bond market.

In the private sector, I hope that WMF would be very careful about the
ethics of the companies and industries in which it chooses to invest.

Pine
On Nov 30, 2015 10:01 AM, "Brion Vibber" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thanks!
>
> I added a section to the talk page asking about how we would actually go
> about investing... the purpose of an endowment is to let it grow and just
> spend some of the interest, but that growth doesn't happen in a vacuum.
> Investment happens by putting money into other peoples' businesses and
> letting them pay you back with interest.
>
> So we'd be asking donors for tens of millions of dollars to invest in
> third-party businesses -- a fundamental change in our fundraising
> proposition. Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> probably worthwhile.
>
> -- brion
>
> On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 9:09 AM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi all-
> >
> > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> > begin
> > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt
> to
> > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
> > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.  We also plan to have this
> > conversation as a part of the larger strategic planning process because
> > building an endowment means prioritizing some future needs over some
> > current needs.
> >
> > Before we can begin to support an endowment, there is strategic
> groundwork
> > that should be completed to ensure that the effort is both thoughtful and
> > successful. To help get the conversation moving, I seeded the discussion
> > page with a few questions that we are hoping you will help us answer.
> > Please add the questions I didn't think to ask, too. We'd appreciate
> > hearing your thoughts on this and your help in thinking through some of
> the
> > strategic questions.
> >
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment_Essay
> > Best regards,
> >
> > Lisa Gruwell
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Lisa Gruwell
On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all-
>
> For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to begin
> building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt to
> rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
> endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.

Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.

On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> probably worthwhile.

I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.

The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
large socially-minded organizations for ideas.

best,
Phoebe

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Mardetanha-2
do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and keep
running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?

Mardetanha

On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > Hi all-
> >
> > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> begin
> > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt
> to
> > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching an
> > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
>
> Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
>
> On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > probably worthwhile.
>
> I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
>
> The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
>
> best,
> Phoebe
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Risker
Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent) on
an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including grants
that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years of
bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean no
software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support for
free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were major
changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to keep
up-to-date with this.

This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
proceed.

Risker/Anne

On 1 December 2015 at 18:09, Mardetanha <[hidden email]> wrote:

> do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and keep
> running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
>
> Mardetanha
>
> On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > Hi all-
> > >
> > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> > begin
> > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt
> > to
> > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching
> an
> > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> >
> > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > probably worthwhile.
> >
> > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> >
> > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> >
> > best,
> > Phoebe
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/GuidelinesWikimedia-l@...>
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Pine W
As good as having an endowment might be, I would like to see substantial
improvements to WMF's budget transparency and annual plan process before
the fundraising for an endowment starts.

Pine
On Dec 1, 2015 15:25, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent) on
> an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including grants
> that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years of
> bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean no
> software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
> desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
> chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support for
> free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were major
> changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to keep
> up-to-date with this.
>
> This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
> functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
> proceed.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 1 December 2015 at 18:09, Mardetanha <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> > fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> > position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and
> keep
> > running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
> >
> > Mardetanha
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]
> >
> > > wrote:
> > > > Hi all-
> > > >
> > > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when
> to
> > > begin
> > > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an
> attempt
> > > to
> > > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching
> > an
> > > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> > >
> > > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > > probably worthwhile.
> > >
> > > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> > >
> > > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> > > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> > > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> > >
> > > best,
> > > Phoebe
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/GuidelinesWikimedia-l@...
> >
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Risker
Hoi,
A much more fundamental question is do we actually want to do less or do we
want to do more. I am not of the opinion that the WMF is bloated and
ineffective. Yes it could do better in places but there is so much that we
could do and fail to do because of lack of funding.

No we should not go bare bones. Arguably the whole notion of an endowment
fund is a bad idea because it gets people to think in terms of spending
less not more.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On 2 December 2015 at 00:25, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent) on
> an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including grants
> that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years of
> bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean no
> software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
> desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
> chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support for
> free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were major
> changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to keep
> up-to-date with this.
>
> This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
> functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
> proceed.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 1 December 2015 at 18:09, Mardetanha <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> > fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> > position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and
> keep
> > running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
> >
> > Mardetanha
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]
> >
> > > wrote:
> > > > Hi all-
> > > >
> > > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when
> to
> > > begin
> > > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an
> attempt
> > > to
> > > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching
> > an
> > > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> > >
> > > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > > probably worthwhile.
> > >
> > > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> > >
> > > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> > > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> > > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> > >
> > > best,
> > > Phoebe
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/GuidelinesWikimedia-l@...
> >
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Peter Southwood
In reply to this post by Pine W
I will second that recommendation.
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Pine W
Sent: Wednesday, 02 December 2015 8:14 AM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

As good as having an endowment might be, I would like to see substantial improvements to WMF's budget transparency and annual plan process before the fundraising for an endowment starts.

Pine
On Dec 1, 2015 15:25, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and
> spent) on an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF,
> including grants that are separate from direct fundraising.  It
> *might* last 5-7 years of bare-bones "keeping the lights on only"
> functions, but that would mean no software upgrades (except what
> volunteers do in accord with their own desire as opposed to actual
> need), no community support, no funds to chapters, no Wikimania or
> hackathons or other conferences, no support for free-as-in-libre work,
> and very little assurance that if there were major changes in the most
> commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to keep up-to-date with this.
>
> This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal
> operating functions of the project, and how long it would need to be
> able to proceed.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 1 December 2015 at 18:09, Mardetanha <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> > fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in
> > the position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand
> > up and
> keep
> > running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
> >
> > Mardetanha
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell
> > > <[hidden email]
> >
> > > wrote:
> > > > Hi all-
> > > >
> > > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having
> > > > discussions <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about
> > > > whether and when
> to
> > > begin
> > > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an
> attempt
> > > to
> > > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included
> > > > launching
> > an
> > > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> > >
> > > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this
> > > moving forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber
> > > <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > > probably worthwhile.
> > >
> > > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> > >
> > > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will
> > > have an investment manager and perhaps even an investment
> > > committee. I think directing that group to look at investment
> > > vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be
> > > might not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies
> > > of other large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> > >
> > > best,
> > > Phoebe
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe:
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscrib
> > > e>
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/GuidelinesWikimedia-l@li
> sts.wikimedia.org
> >
> > Unsubscribe:
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by Mardetanha-2
On 1 December 2015 at 23:09, Mardetanha <[hidden email]> wrote:
> do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and keep
> running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?

That $100m number sounds oddly familiar, so a quick historical footnote:

The endowment idea was first suggested seriously in 2006 (at least, I
can't see it being discussed before) and a figure of $100m was being
generally quoted as what would be needed by 2008. There had been some
discussions about a hypothetical "$100m donation" before that, in
2006-7, and it might be that this helped shape the discussion of how
big an endowment might need to be.

In 2008, the number was examined a bit and it was seen as plausibly
solid - our annual operating costs were a little under $5m at that
point and getting a 5% return on endowment was a reasonable
expectation.

As Anne points out, though, we do a lot more now than we did then!

Andrew.

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Fæ
In reply to this post by Lisa Gruwell
Hi Lila,

There are some governance red flags that need your attention before
signing up to a N * $100,000,000 endowment plan than will last for a
thousand years...

1. The board is not fully elected. It is unlikely in the current
environment for a board for an endowment trust to have a majority of
elected trustees. This means that choices of when and how the
endowment is invested in years to come might be on projects or
organizations that would never be approved of by the volunteer
community of Wikimedians, and volunteer trustees could be outvoted on
every key decision.

2. The WMF struggles to become convincingly transparent or
accountable. As a simple to fix example, long term Wikimedians are
denied access to reports that the WMF (i.e. you) holds about them;
circumstances that would be unlawful in Europe.

3. There is huge potential for a financial scandal. The WMF does not
have policies or procedures in place to ensure that investment on this
scale can be handled well, year after year. These types of fiscal
controls are entirely different from handing and reporting on a $100m
cash flow.

4. With an endowment scheme in place, the WMF would be naturally
*less* accountable to Wikimedians for its actions each year. There
would be less incentive to answer questions, less incentive to
established a community consensus for the annual strategy and less
incentive to put volunteers at the center of decision making.
Similarly there would be less incentive for the WMF to attempt to
repair declining numbers of contributors to its on-line projects, or
ensure that issues such as gender disparity or on-line harassment are
targeted for investment. At the current time I cannot imagine how any
system would ensure this was not an inevitable consequence in a
volunteer based organization. I have no prior examples of
volunteer-centric organizations where this has worked well.

As the CEO, it would be helpful for you to spell out in a public
recommendation to your board the good governance practices and core
competences that would have to be established and tested before
proceeding to put money into a massive long term endowment scheme.

Thanks,
Fae

On 30 November 2015 at 17:27, Lila Tretikov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Lisa,
>
> Thank you for sharing these exciting news and all the work the team has
> completed so far.  I know I have spoken with many of our community members
> in the past about this important milestone in protecting our community's
> work long-term. I am looking forward to hearing more from everyone as we
> make this real.
>
> Lila
--
[hidden email] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

WereSpielChequers-2
In reply to this post by Lisa Gruwell
A big advantage of having an endowment would be in conversations with our
GLAM partners.

- An organisation funded by an endowment can more credibly make longer-term
commitments than one that is not. This would be particularly attractive to
some of our current and potential GLAM partners; "Entrust us with a copy of
your images and metadata and we have the funding to keep it on the Internet
for the foreseeable future" would be a very attractive commitment for us to
be able to make. <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment#Advantages>

We don't need an endowment large enough to keep the organisation going as
is, or even the pedias being still open to edit, before we can commit that
"the media library on Wikimedia Commons has an endowment that should
suffice to keep it on the web or on whatever replaces the internet for the
foreseeable future" . In a world of budget cuts and short term thinking
this would be a very positive thing for us to be able to say to museum
curators and similar custodians of cultural heritage. That doesn't mean we
commit to keeping everything in a particular image release, we might well
delete some images because our policy on copyright risk will be different
to theirs. But if you want to keep things in existence longterm then the
strategy used by the writers of the domesday book still works. Make several
copies and place them with organisations that intend to be around
for millennia to come. An endowment could mean that we become such an
organisation. I would hope that the WMF board aims for an endowment that
allows us to make such a commitment.

An endowment so large that we no longer need an annual fundraiser would be
a very much larger sum and harder in my view to justify. Why should this
generation pay so that people can edit Wikipedia in 2050 without there
being a fundraising banner?

~~~~


> Message: 3
> Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2015 02:39:59 +0330
> From: Mardetanha <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> Message-ID:
>         <CAN6NyNrimRB0zv8X2qDXt==4v-gn88bt09CE7o=
> [hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and keep
> running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
>
> Mardetanha
>
> On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > Hi all-
> > >
> > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when to
> > begin
> > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an attempt
> > to
> > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching
> an
> > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> >
> > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > probably worthwhile.
> >
> > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> >
> > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> >
> > best,
> > Phoebe
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 4
> Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2015 18:25:20 -0500
> From: Risker <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> Message-ID:
>         <CAPXs8yTkw4scDz6D_rDZJ=
> [hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent) on
> an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including grants
> that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years of
> bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean no
> software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
> desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
> chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support for
> free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were major
> changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to keep
> up-to-date with this.
>
> This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
> functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
> proceed.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Andrea Zanni-2
I'm not an expert, but I like the idea of an endowment:
there are many ways to put your money to good use out there, and if we will
manage to do it ethically and in a transparent way, many good things can
happen.
Of course, "ethically" and "transparent" are crucial factors here, and a
lot of work.

Aubrey

On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 4:08 PM, WereSpielChequers <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> A big advantage of having an endowment would be in conversations with our
> GLAM partners.
>
> - An organisation funded by an endowment can more credibly make longer-term
> commitments than one that is not. This would be particularly attractive to
> some of our current and potential GLAM partners; "Entrust us with a copy of
> your images and metadata and we have the funding to keep it on the Internet
> for the foreseeable future" would be a very attractive commitment for us to
> be able to make. <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment#Advantages>
>
> We don't need an endowment large enough to keep the organisation going as
> is, or even the pedias being still open to edit, before we can commit that
> "the media library on Wikimedia Commons has an endowment that should
> suffice to keep it on the web or on whatever replaces the internet for the
> foreseeable future" . In a world of budget cuts and short term thinking
> this would be a very positive thing for us to be able to say to museum
> curators and similar custodians of cultural heritage. That doesn't mean we
> commit to keeping everything in a particular image release, we might well
> delete some images because our policy on copyright risk will be different
> to theirs. But if you want to keep things in existence longterm then the
> strategy used by the writers of the domesday book still works. Make several
> copies and place them with organisations that intend to be around
> for millennia to come. An endowment could mean that we become such an
> organisation. I would hope that the WMF board aims for an endowment that
> allows us to make such a commitment.
>
> An endowment so large that we no longer need an annual fundraiser would be
> a very much larger sum and harder in my view to justify. Why should this
> generation pay so that people can edit Wikipedia in 2050 without there
> being a fundraising banner?
>
> ~~~~
>
>
> > Message: 3
> > Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2015 02:39:59 +0330
> > From: Mardetanha <[hidden email]>
> > To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> > Message-ID:
> >         <CAN6NyNrimRB0zv8X2qDXt==4v-gn88bt09CE7o=
> > [hidden email]>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> > do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> > fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in the
> > position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and
> keep
> > running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
> >
> > Mardetanha
> >
> > On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]
> >
> > > wrote:
> > > > Hi all-
> > > >
> > > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having discussions
> > > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when
> to
> > > begin
> > > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an
> attempt
> > > to
> > > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included launching
> > an
> > > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> > >
> > > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> > >
> > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > > probably worthwhile.
> > >
> > > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> > >
> > > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have an
> > > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be might
> > > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> > >
> > > best,
> > > Phoebe
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 4
> > Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2015 18:25:20 -0500
> > From: Risker <[hidden email]>
> > To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> > Message-ID:
> >         <CAPXs8yTkw4scDz6D_rDZJ=
> > [hidden email]>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> > Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent)
> on
> > an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including
> grants
> > that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years of
> > bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean no
> > software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
> > desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
> > chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support for
> > free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were major
> > changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to
> keep
> > up-to-date with this.
> >
> > This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> > include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
> > functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
> > proceed.
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
When you check out the Greenpeace website (at least here in the
Netherlands) they have a powerful message that the likes of Google,
Microsoft, Facebook use green energy to run the Internet. When we want to
responsible, we could invest in green energy and offset the use of energy
on a global scale AND make money at the same time.
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 2 December 2015 at 16:37, Andrea Zanni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm not an expert, but I like the idea of an endowment:
> there are many ways to put your money to good use out there, and if we will
> manage to do it ethically and in a transparent way, many good things can
> happen.
> Of course, "ethically" and "transparent" are crucial factors here, and a
> lot of work.
>
> Aubrey
>
> On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 4:08 PM, WereSpielChequers <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > A big advantage of having an endowment would be in conversations with our
> > GLAM partners.
> >
> > - An organisation funded by an endowment can more credibly make
> longer-term
> > commitments than one that is not. This would be particularly attractive
> to
> > some of our current and potential GLAM partners; "Entrust us with a copy
> of
> > your images and metadata and we have the funding to keep it on the
> Internet
> > for the foreseeable future" would be a very attractive commitment for us
> to
> > be able to make. <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment#Advantages>
> >
> > We don't need an endowment large enough to keep the organisation going as
> > is, or even the pedias being still open to edit, before we can commit
> that
> > "the media library on Wikimedia Commons has an endowment that should
> > suffice to keep it on the web or on whatever replaces the internet for
> the
> > foreseeable future" . In a world of budget cuts and short term thinking
> > this would be a very positive thing for us to be able to say to museum
> > curators and similar custodians of cultural heritage. That doesn't mean
> we
> > commit to keeping everything in a particular image release, we might well
> > delete some images because our policy on copyright risk will be different
> > to theirs. But if you want to keep things in existence longterm then the
> > strategy used by the writers of the domesday book still works. Make
> several
> > copies and place them with organisations that intend to be around
> > for millennia to come. An endowment could mean that we become such an
> > organisation. I would hope that the WMF board aims for an endowment that
> > allows us to make such a commitment.
> >
> > An endowment so large that we no longer need an annual fundraiser would
> be
> > a very much larger sum and harder in my view to justify. Why should this
> > generation pay so that people can edit Wikipedia in 2050 without there
> > being a fundraising banner?
> >
> > ~~~~
> >
> >
> > > Message: 3
> > > Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2015 02:39:59 +0330
> > > From: Mardetanha <[hidden email]>
> > > To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> > > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> > > Message-ID:
> > >         <CAN6NyNrimRB0zv8X2qDXt==4v-gn88bt09CE7o=
> > > [hidden email]>
> > > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> > >
> > > do we have any definite number that if reach then we would not any
> > > fundraiser again in the future (I really would like to to see WMF in
> the
> > > position in which, it would not need yearly fundraiser to stand up and
> > keep
> > > running ) , like 100 M mentioned in the meta page ?
> > >
> > > Mardetanha
> > >
> > > On Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Lisa Gruwell <
> [hidden email]
> > >
> > > > wrote:
> > > > > Hi all-
> > > > >
> > > > > For several years, the Wikimedia movement has been having
> discussions
> > > > > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment> about whether and when
> > to
> > > > begin
> > > > > building an endowment. I put an essay up on meta recently in an
> > attempt
> > > > to
> > > > > rekindle this conversation with the community.  We included
> launching
> > > an
> > > > > endowment in the FY 2015-16 annual plan.
> > > >
> > > > Fantastic, this is exciting news. I am very happy to see this moving
> > > > forward, and will comment on the talk page of the endowment essay.
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 1:01 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]
> >
> > > > wrote:
> > > > > Thinking about our social responsibility as an investor is
> > > > > probably worthwhile.
> > > >
> > > > I agree, and this is a good point to bring up.
> > > >
> > > > The endowment, if it's of a scale that will be effective, will have
> an
> > > > investment manager and perhaps even an investment committee. I think
> > > > directing that group to look at investment vehicles (i.e. mutual
> > > > funds) with certain value guidelines in mind would be appropriate,
> > > > much as we would direct them to have certain financial goals and
> > > > levels of risk in mind. Figuring out what those values should be
> might
> > > > not be so easy, but we could look at the investment policies of other
> > > > large socially-minded organizations for ideas.
> > > >
> > > > best,
> > > > Phoebe
> > > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------
> > >
> > > Message: 4
> > > Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2015 18:25:20 -0500
> > > From: Risker <[hidden email]>
> > > To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> > > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Endowment Discussion
> > > Message-ID:
> > >         <CAPXs8yTkw4scDz6D_rDZJ=
> > > [hidden email]>
> > > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> > >
> > > Heh.  $100 million USD is just a little more than is raised (and spent)
> > on
> > > an annual basis throughout all the Wiki-chapters and WMF, including
> > grants
> > > that are separate from direct fundraising.  It *might* last 5-7 years
> of
> > > bare-bones "keeping the lights on only" functions, but that would mean
> no
> > > software upgrades (except what volunteers do in accord with their own
> > > desire as opposed to actual need), no community support, no funds to
> > > chapters, no Wikimania or hackathons or other conferences, no support
> for
> > > free-as-in-libre work, and very little assurance that if there were
> major
> > > changes in the most commonly used platforms, the WMF would be able to
> > keep
> > > up-to-date with this.
> > >
> > > This is going to take a fair amount of thinking through, and needs to
> > > include our thinking about what we would consider the minimal operating
> > > functions of the project, and how long it would need to be able to
> > > proceed.
> > >
> > > Risker/Anne
> > >
> > >
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> >
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