[Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment

Rogol Domedonfors

I understand you to say that the WMF could have afforded to spend $5M on
direct support of volunteer contributors had it chosen to, without
prejudice to the decision  to place $5M into the Endowment.  I seem to
recall that you stated on Wikipedia that "I support expansion of the
scholarship program (and thus spending more money on Wikimania overall)"
 Given that you believe that the money was in fact available for such a
purpose, it seems that we are united in our regret that it was not spent
for that purpose -- a full fee scholarship for all attendees would have
consumed something like 5% of the sum which you say could have been made

Perhaps you could persuade the Board of Trustees to consider your proposal
in time for the Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town to use in their financial
planning.  It would also be splendid if the Board were to consider other
ways of supporting volunteer content contributors, such as purchasing
books, journal and library subscriptions and so forth.


On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]>

> On 8/21/17 6:48 PM, Rogol Domedonfors wrote:
> > I'm know that the WMF has determined that it should have some form of
> > endowment,  The question is -- as is usual in question of this sort --
> one
> > of balance: in this case, balance between current spending for the
> benefit
> > of the projects today, and accumulating capital for the benefit of the
> > projects tomorrow.  I am asking the Board to say why they decided to
> strike
> > that balance where they did -- given the obvious need for that support
> > right now -- and whether it is appropriate for large donors to apparently
> > influence that decision.
> I can't speak for anyone other than myself.
> Given the level of reserves that the WMF has today, your entire approach
> here (the assumption that $5 million going into the endowment therefore
> reduces spending) is invalid.  There is enough money to do both.
> The question is therefore not "Why did you save the money for the future
> rather than spend it today?"
> The question is: why don't we increase spending today?
> We have always followed, and should continue to follow, a thoughtful
> process of strategic planning and budgeting.  A windfall of cash from a
> successful fundraising should never give rise to immediate and poorly
> planned spending.
> If you believe, as I do, that we have a great opportunity to responsibly
> spend more money at the Foundation on suporting the projects in the next
> few years - then please support the strategic planning process - that's
> the right forum to have a voice in what happens next.
> Random demands for explanations on the mailing list - particulary when
> so fundamentally mistaken in basic assumptions - aren't really helpful.
> --Jimbo
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