[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

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[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

MZMcBride-2
Hi.

I've started collecting notes about a possible Wikimedia or Wikimedia
Foundation endowment here: <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment>.

Any additional relevant links to past discussions or thoughts about this
idea are welcome on that page, its talk page, or this mailing list.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Manuel Schneider-3
Hi,

Am 14.03.2013 06:48, schrieb MZMcBride:
> I've started collecting notes about a possible Wikimedia or Wikimedia
> Foundation endowment here: <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment>.

thanks for collecting these links, they are interesting. Anyway, I
didn't fully understand the idea behind the page, especially as a
non-native speaker I have problems to come up with a proper translation
/ understanding of "Endowment". I understand it as "what WM(F) owns" and
it may refer to the "right" WM(F) expects to have on getting / using
their donated money or may refer to the reserves WMF is currently building.

Can you explain this a bit better for people like me, please? Maybe
right on that Meta page would be good, so others can read it as well.

Thank you,


Manuel

--
Wikimedia CH - Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Lausanne, +41 (21) 34066-22 - www.wikimedia.ch

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Andrew Gray-3
On 14 March 2013 08:09, Manuel Schneider <[hidden email]> wrote:

> thanks for collecting these links, they are interesting. Anyway, I
> didn't fully understand the idea behind the page, especially as a
> non-native speaker I have problems to come up with a proper translation
> / understanding of "Endowment". I understand it as "what WM(F) owns" and
> it may refer to the "right" WM(F) expects to have on getting / using
> their donated money or may refer to the reserves WMF is currently building.
>
> Can you explain this a bit better for people like me, please? Maybe
> right on that Meta page would be good, so others can read it as well.

Hi Manuel,

The basic idea of an endowment is that it's a large sum of money
collected to "set up" a charity - it then uses the income from
investing this money to cover some or all of its operating costs,
rather than just spending it over a long period of time. The Wellcome
Trust is a pretty good high-profile example; it has a capital
endowment of around fifteen billion pounds, and spends about six
hundred million (4%) a year.

(In the US context, they're very common for universities, but this is
less so in Europe; here it's more "traditional charities")

I've given a quick outline on the meta page. Building up an endowment
sufficient to run WMF would be tricky, of course :-)

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Philippe Beaudette-3
See also: http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment



___________________
Philippe Beaudette
Director, Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

415-839-6885, x 6643

[hidden email]


On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 4:12 AM, Andrew Gray <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On 14 March 2013 08:09, Manuel Schneider <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > thanks for collecting these links, they are interesting. Anyway, I
> > didn't fully understand the idea behind the page, especially as a
> > non-native speaker I have problems to come up with a proper translation
> > / understanding of "Endowment". I understand it as "what WM(F) owns" and
> > it may refer to the "right" WM(F) expects to have on getting / using
> > their donated money or may refer to the reserves WMF is currently
> building.
> >
> > Can you explain this a bit better for people like me, please? Maybe
> > right on that Meta page would be good, so others can read it as well.
>
> Hi Manuel,
>
> The basic idea of an endowment is that it's a large sum of money
> collected to "set up" a charity - it then uses the income from
> investing this money to cover some or all of its operating costs,
> rather than just spending it over a long period of time. The Wellcome
> Trust is a pretty good high-profile example; it has a capital
> endowment of around fifteen billion pounds, and spends about six
> hundred million (4%) a year.
>
> (In the US context, they're very common for universities, but this is
> less so in Europe; here it's more "traditional charities")
>
> I've given a quick outline on the meta page. Building up an endowment
> sufficient to run WMF would be tricky, of course :-)
>
> --
> - Andrew Gray
>   [hidden email]
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Manuel Schneider-3
Thanks Andrew and Philippe for your explanation and links.

So that is a plan to build a reserve of funds that is so big that the
operation can be funded by the capital's gain - interest, dividends...

Sounds interesting, even though the endowment must be huge to cover our
yearly budgets. Another problem is that it is currently very hard to
find an interesting investment with low risks. Interest rates have been
reduced by the major central banks in order to overcome the global
recession, many formerly safe and interesting investments became risky
and those who are still safe partly have even negative interest rates
(eg. german state bonds).


/Manuel
--
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Lausanne, +41 (21) 34066-22 - www.wikimedia.ch

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Thomas Dalton
On 14 March 2013 13:00, Manuel Schneider <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Thanks Andrew and Philippe for your explanation and links.
>
> So that is a plan to build a reserve of funds that is so big that the
> operation can be funded by the capital's gain - interest, dividends...

Yes, although "reserve" generally refers to money kept in case
something goes wrong. An endowment would be a separate fund
specifically raised for that purpose.

> Sounds interesting, even though the endowment must be huge to cover our
> yearly budgets. Another problem is that it is currently very hard to
> find an interesting investment with low risks. Interest rates have been
> reduced by the major central banks in order to overcome the global
> recession, many formerly safe and interesting investments became risky
> and those who are still safe partly have even negative interest rates
> (eg. german state bonds).

An endowment is a long-term thing. Current low interest rates probably
won't last more than a few years. Even so, it would need to be a very
large fund, yes. If you can get a return of, say, 2% over inflation
(you can get more than that if you're willing to take some risks) you
need 50 times your annual budget to fund it all from the endowment.
That would be something like $2 billion for the WMF. It doesn't need
to fund the entire budget to be useful, though, and can be built up
over time (eg. from legacies in people's wills).

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Craig Franklin-2
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
Hi Manuel,

In my professional experience with endowments (which isn't that extensive,
I must confess), the investments are typically extremely conservative and
designed to give a steady and reliable long term flow of dividends, rather
than shooting for quick capital gains through risky investments in shares
or property.  Things like debentures, government bonds, fixed interest
deposits, and so forth.  Even in these current times of financial
uncertainty, a competent investment adviser should be able to construct an
investment portfolio that provides a modest return with little risk.

Regards,
Craig Franklin

Message: 5

> Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 13:00:21 +0100
> From: Manuel Schneider <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment
> Message-ID: <[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
>
> Thanks Andrew and Philippe for your explanation and links.
>
> So that is a plan to build a reserve of funds that is so big that the
> operation can be funded by the capital's gain - interest, dividends...
>
> Sounds interesting, even though the endowment must be huge to cover our
> yearly budgets. Another problem is that it is currently very hard to
> find an interesting investment with low risks. Interest rates have been
> reduced by the major central banks in order to overcome the global
> recession, many formerly safe and interesting investments became risky
> and those who are still safe partly have even negative interest rates
> (eg. german state bonds).
>
>
> /Manuel
> --
> Wikimedia CH - Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
> Lausanne, +41 (21) 34066-22 - www.wikimedia.ch
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

mathieu lovato stumpf guntz
In reply to this post by Andrew Gray-3
Le 2013-03-14 12:12, Andrew Gray a écrit :

> On 14 March 2013 08:09, Manuel Schneider
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> thanks for collecting these links, they are interesting. Anyway, I
>> didn't fully understand the idea behind the page, especially as a
>> non-native speaker I have problems to come up with a proper
>> translation
>> / understanding of "Endowment". I understand it as "what WM(F) owns"
>> and
>> it may refer to the "right" WM(F) expects to have on getting / using
>> their donated money or may refer to the reserves WMF is currently
>> building.
>>
>> Can you explain this a bit better for people like me, please? Maybe
>> right on that Meta page would be good, so others can read it as
>> well.
>
> Hi Manuel,
>
> The basic idea of an endowment is that it's a large sum of money
> collected to "set up" a charity - it then uses the income from
> investing this money to cover some or all of its operating costs,
> rather than just spending it over a long period of time. The Wellcome
> Trust is a pretty good high-profile example; it has a capital
> endowment of around fifteen billion pounds, and spends about six
> hundred million (4%) a year.
>
> (In the US context, they're very common for universities, but this is
> less so in Europe; here it's more "traditional charities")
>
> I've given a quick outline on the meta page. Building up an endowment
> sufficient to run WMF would be tricky, of course :-)

Let's hope it won't turn up into a "charity business" like the Gates
Foundation whose investisements are benefits driven, with no
consideration to ethical problems.

--
Association Culture-Libre
http://www.culture-libre.org/

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:
>An endowment is a long-term thing. Current low interest rates probably
>won't last more than a few years. Even so, it would need to be a very
>large fund, yes. If you can get a return of, say, 2% over inflation
>(you can get more than that if you're willing to take some risks) you
>need 50 times your annual budget to fund it all from the endowment.
>That would be something like $2 billion for the WMF. It doesn't need
>to fund the entire budget to be useful, though, and can be built up
>over time (eg. from legacies in people's wills).

Exactly.

As I understand it, the yearly annual Wikimedia Foundation budget is about
$35 million. It costs about $2.5 million to keep the sites operational for
a year. So even if an endowment weren't large enough to cover well over
130 full-time staff members, it could still keep us up and running for a
while. Assuming $2.5 million, that's about $125 million, using your
multiply by 50 formula. That's still a shitload of money, but it's much
less than $2 billion. :-)

I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
to put their money, I think.

The question then becomes: how do we decide on this? A community
vote (similar to the licensing update vote) followed by a Board
resolution? A Wikimedia-wide requests for comment? Just a Board resolution
(assuming a majority of members support this, of course)?

Thoughts on how to figure out what the next step here is would be really
appreciated. (Particularly looking at you, Philippe, given your work on
both the strategic plan and the licensing vote. Gerard's Law and all. ;-)

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Philippe Beaudette-3
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> (Particularly looking at you, Philippe, given your work on
> both the strategic plan and the licensing vote. Gerard's Law and all. ;-)
>

For the record, I didn't do the licensing vote.  :)  Erik gets all the
<s>blame</s> credit for that.  :-)

My feeling would be that the obvious first place to start would be the
Board of Trustees.  I'd probably start by emailing them and asking them
what they think.  It seems to me, if I were in your shoes (and I'm
carefully taking no position here, not because I don't have an opinion but
because I don't have a considered opinion....), that the response to that
would drive the next set of actions.

pb

___________________
Philippe Beaudette
Director, Community Advocacy
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

415-839-6885, x 6643

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It costs about $2.5 million to keep the sites operational for a year.

How did you come up with that number?

Erik
--
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VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by Philippe Beaudette-3
On 14 March 2013 17:55, Philippe Beaudette <[hidden email]> wrote:


> My feeling would be that the obvious first place to start would be the
> Board of Trustees.  I'd probably start by emailing them and asking them
> what they think.  It seems to me, if I were in your shoes (and I'm
> carefully taking no position here, not because I don't have an opinion but
> because I don't have a considered opinion....), that the response to that
> would drive the next set of actions.

Looking at the 2011 candidate questions:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_elections/2011/Candidates/Questions/1

SJ: definite yes
Kat: defer decision, but worth considering
Ting: ambivalent

So there's a start ;-)

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Philippe Beaudette-3
Philippe Beaudette wrote:
>On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> (Particularly looking at you, Philippe, given your work on
>> both the strategic plan and the licensing vote. Gerard's Law and all.
>>;-)
>
>For the record, I didn't do the licensing vote.  :)  Erik gets all the
><s>blame</s> credit for that.  :-)

Hah, my bad. For some reason, I was associating it with you in my head. I
thought you did the strategic plan in 2008 and the licensing update in
2009. Meta-Wiki bears you out, though. Maybe I got the licensing update
vote confused with the image filter referendum? Anyway, sorry about that.

>My feeling would be that the obvious first place to start would be the
>Board of Trustees.  I'd probably start by emailing them and asking them
>what they think.  It seems to me, if I were in your shoes (and I'm
>carefully taking no position here, not because I don't have an opinion but
>because I don't have a considered opinion....), that the response to that
>would drive the next set of actions.

Well, I think a few of the Board of Trustees members read this mailing
list occasionally. Perhaps they'll chime in. I'd not seen
<https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment>. Thank you kindly for
that. (Now if only strategy.wikimedia.org were folded back into
meta.wikimedia.org so that I had a chance of finding these pages on my
own....)

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

theo10011
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 2:47 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> As I understand it, the yearly annual Wikimedia Foundation budget is about
> $35 million. It costs about $2.5 million to keep the sites operational for
> a year. So even if an endowment weren't large enough to cover well over
> 130 full-time staff members, it could still keep us up and running for a
> while. Assuming $2.5 million, that's about $125 million, using your
> multiply by 50 formula. That's still a shitload of money, but it's much
> less than $2 billion. :-)
>
> I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
> want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
> later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
> to put their money, I think.
>

This used to be my pet project for a while. My first edit to strategy wiki
was about an endowment fund[1], I don't think there was anything on the
subject before that one. Stu and Eugene's edit on the subject came later,
so I'll still take some credit for this one. ;)

I brought this up in person to a few board members, and to the foundation
staff on another mailing list an year or two ago. I believe they are all
aware of the idea and its implication. Eugene suggested at some point that
we should come back to this discussion later. The answers were always
ambiguous from what I recall.

There seems to be absence of a long term sustainable financial vision for
the foundation, or if there is, it doesn't seem to be public. The majority
of it seems to revolve around retaining x months of operational reserves
and putting all the chips on the annual fundraiser. I always thought that's
not a very mature financial strategy for an organization.

I started discussing this on strategy wiki, etc. and the first thought was
separating the core and non-core activities, and then separating the
funding models. The core activities are relatively stable, the non-core
differentiate a lot more year on year - moving the non-core to a variable
model where the revenue would define spending, and core activities to its
self-contained sustainable model would be an ideal strategy. The
bare-minimum operational cost of hosting, and being online, could be
covered with such a fund easily, leaving the annual fundraiser target to be
a variable each year without any target, which in turn can define the
spending. The correct calculation,as thomas started alluding to would be -
operating expenses + projected growth (year on year) + annual inflation
rate + reserve/contingency. I had a lot more worked out somewhere according
to tax laws and specific interest rates. Either way, the first implication
would be that this would nullify to some extent, the majority of the
urgency the fundraiser raises, the success of the fundraiser would be
irrelevant to the long term existence of the projects.

Regards
Theo

[1]http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposal:Wikipedia_Fund
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Anders Wennersten-2
I was marginally involved on this issue two years ago. And by then the
focus/priority was to ramp up the Fundraising activities.

As this now has been successfully done, I believe this discussion is now
much better in timing, and worthwhile to work through

I like the idea that the basic running costs for servers etc should have
guaranteed income by Endowments, but that the programmatic activities
should still be dependent on the yearly fundraising

Anders

Theo10011 skrev 2013-03-14 19:23:

> On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 2:47 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> As I understand it, the yearly annual Wikimedia Foundation budget is about
>> $35 million. It costs about $2.5 million to keep the sites operational for
>> a year. So even if an endowment weren't large enough to cover well over
>> 130 full-time staff members, it could still keep us up and running for a
>> while. Assuming $2.5 million, that's about $125 million, using your
>> multiply by 50 formula. That's still a shitload of money, but it's much
>> less than $2 billion. :-)
>>
>> I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
>> want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
>> later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
>> to put their money, I think.
>>
> This used to be my pet project for a while. My first edit to strategy wiki
> was about an endowment fund[1], I don't think there was anything on the
> subject before that one. Stu and Eugene's edit on the subject came later,
> so I'll still take some credit for this one. ;)
>
> I brought this up in person to a few board members, and to the foundation
> staff on another mailing list an year or two ago. I believe they are all
> aware of the idea and its implication. Eugene suggested at some point that
> we should come back to this discussion later. The answers were always
> ambiguous from what I recall.
>
> There seems to be absence of a long term sustainable financial vision for
> the foundation, or if there is, it doesn't seem to be public. The majority
> of it seems to revolve around retaining x months of operational reserves
> and putting all the chips on the annual fundraiser. I always thought that's
> not a very mature financial strategy for an organization.
>
> I started discussing this on strategy wiki, etc. and the first thought was
> separating the core and non-core activities, and then separating the
> funding models. The core activities are relatively stable, the non-core
> differentiate a lot more year on year - moving the non-core to a variable
> model where the revenue would define spending, and core activities to its
> self-contained sustainable model would be an ideal strategy. The
> bare-minimum operational cost of hosting, and being online, could be
> covered with such a fund easily, leaving the annual fundraiser target to be
> a variable each year without any target, which in turn can define the
> spending. The correct calculation,as thomas started alluding to would be -
> operating expenses + projected growth (year on year) + annual inflation
> rate + reserve/contingency. I had a lot more worked out somewhere according
> to tax laws and specific interest rates. Either way, the first implication
> would be that this would nullify to some extent, the majority of the
> urgency the fundraiser raises, the success of the fundraiser would be
> irrelevant to the long term existence of the projects.
>
> Regards
> Theo
>
> [1]http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Proposal:Wikipedia_Fund
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

metasj
Aha, a welcome topic :)

MZMcBride writes:
> I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
> want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
> later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
> to put their money, I think.

Yes, let us build an endowment.
It makes practical sense: As a community institution that aims to
serve our society for the next 100 years, it matches our scope and
vision.  And as a respected and visible global project, we can raise
the funds we need.

It also makes financial sense: Some donors prefer to donate to one.
And there are economies of scale: the flexibility of long-term
investments let them generate better average returns, and large funds
can invest significantly more effectively than small ones.


Anders Wennersten <[hidden email]> writes:
> I was marginally involved on this issue two years ago. And by then the
> focus/priority was to ramp up the Fundraising activities.
>
> As this now has been successfully done, I believe this discussion is
> now much better in timing, and worthwhile to work through

Right.  When we first considered an endowment, the WMF didn't have the
financial expertise to set one up; later, in 2010, fundraising was
growing quite quickly and took priority.  Now we are in a good
position to plan longer-term investments.

This is good timing for another reason as well.  These issues were
raised at the WMF Audit Committee meeting last week, and the WMF is
considering what an endowment might look like.  Strong community
support would speed that consideration.

SJ
--
Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 5:16 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On 14 March 2013 13:00, Manuel Schneider <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > Thanks Andrew and Philippe for your explanation and links.
> >
> > So that is a plan to build a reserve of funds that is so big that the
> > operation can be funded by the capital's gain - interest, dividends...
>
> Yes, although "reserve" generally refers to money kept in case
> something goes wrong. An endowment would be a separate fund
> specifically raised for that purpose.
> ....
>
It doesn't need
> to fund the entire budget to be useful, though, and can be built up
> over time (eg. from legacies in people's wills).
>

Yes. In an university context, which is what I'm most familiar with (and
where endowments are very common in the U.S.), there is often a specific
"endowment campaign" to plan for and build the endowment that is separate
from normal fundraising -- for instance, you might have a dedicated team
that would work on the endowment, solicit wealthy donors, etc.

And in turn, the endowment is not meant to fund all expenses or to preempt
normal fundraising. It can fund some expenses, and provides long-term
stability for the organization. Endowments often come about when you either
have a very wealthy donor who is setting up a foundation, or when you have
a humanitarian institution that wants to be in business essentially forever
(as is the case with most universities).

There is complicated law and best practice around endowments that I don't
pretend to understand. I do know it's more complicated than setting up a
bank account and calling it the endowment fund, at least to do it well.
Having an endowment would ideally be a part of the WMF's strategic and
long-term financial plan, with some dedicated resources (i.e. staff time to
manage the fund and solicit donations) applied to it. And we would want to
be clear on what we wanted the endowment to do -- what its role would be
over time -- and how it would interact and perhaps affect annual
fundraising.

All that said, I strongly support the idea, on the principle that what we
do is important for the long-term and needs to be supported as such. We did
discuss the idea during my time on the board, a year or so ago, and it
sounds like it's coming up again, which is great!

-- phoebe

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Lisa Gruwell
In reply to this post by metasj
My team here at the foundation has begun to do a little leg work so that we
are ready to go, if the Board should decide to pursue an endowment.  We
have begun to "tip our toes" into the world of planned giving and have had
conversations with some of our major donors about it.  At this point, the
planned gifts are for general support, but our strategy would likely be to
direct these types of gifts to an endowment, if we go that route.  We also
set up a simple page on the foundation site about planned giving or "Legacy
Gifts," as we are calling it.
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Legacy_Gift

So far, the conversations have gone well.  There is an interesting
challenge in that donors have to be convinced that the organization is
going to be relevant in 20 or 30 years (or in the case of an endowment –
forever).  I'd love to hear your best arguments for why that this true. (Or
maybe we could devote some thinking to this during the next strategic
planning process).

Best,
Lisa Gruwell

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM, Samuel Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Aha, a welcome topic :)
>
> MZMcBride writes:
> > I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
> > want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
> > later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
> > to put their money, I think.
>
> Yes, let us build an endowment.
> It makes practical sense: As a community institution that aims to
> serve our society for the next 100 years, it matches our scope and
> vision.  And as a respected and visible global project, we can raise
> the funds we need.
>
> It also makes financial sense: Some donors prefer to donate to one.
> And there are economies of scale: the flexibility of long-term
> investments let them generate better average returns, and large funds
> can invest significantly more effectively than small ones.
>
>
> Anders Wennersten <[hidden email]> writes:
> > I was marginally involved on this issue two years ago. And by then the
> > focus/priority was to ramp up the Fundraising activities.
> >
> > As this now has been successfully done, I believe this discussion is
> > now much better in timing, and worthwhile to work through
>
> Right.  When we first considered an endowment, the WMF didn't have the
> financial expertise to set one up; later, in 2010, fundraising was
> growing quite quickly and took priority.  Now we are in a good
> position to plan longer-term investments.
>
> This is good timing for another reason as well.  These issues were
> raised at the WMF Audit Committee meeting last week, and the WMF is
> considering what an endowment might look like.  Strong community
> support would speed that consideration.
>
> SJ
> --
> Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

phoebe ayers-3
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:47 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>wrote:

> My team here at the foundation has begun to do a little leg work so that we
> are ready to go, if the Board should decide to pursue an endowment.  We
> have begun to "tip our toes" into the world of planned giving and have had
> conversations with some of our major donors about it.  At this point, the
> planned gifts are for general support, but our strategy would likely be to
> direct these types of gifts to an endowment, if we go that route.  We also
> set up a simple page on the foundation site about planned giving or "Legacy
> Gifts," as we are calling it.
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Legacy_Gift
>
> So far, the conversations have gone well.  There is an interesting
> challenge in that donors have to be convinced that the organization is
> going to be relevant in 20 or 30 years (or in the case of an endowment –
> forever).  I'd love to hear your best arguments for why that this true. (Or
> maybe we could devote some thinking to this during the next strategic
> planning process).
>
> Best,
> Lisa Gruwell


Thanks Lisa -- now *that's* a good question :) I added a quick section to
the endowment page, if people want to discuss there:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment#Will_we_be_relevant_in....3F

-- phoebe
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Victor Grigas
Lisa,

The article cites no exact reason for the longevity of Wikipedia
specifically, but does talk about passion to a mission:
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/03/yuri-milner-google-facebook-100-years


On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:52 PM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:47 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
>
> > My team here at the foundation has begun to do a little leg work so that
> we
> > are ready to go, if the Board should decide to pursue an endowment.  We
> > have begun to "tip our toes" into the world of planned giving and have
> had
> > conversations with some of our major donors about it.  At this point, the
> > planned gifts are for general support, but our strategy would likely be
> to
> > direct these types of gifts to an endowment, if we go that route.  We
> also
> > set up a simple page on the foundation site about planned giving or
> "Legacy
> > Gifts," as we are calling it.
> > http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Legacy_Gift
> >
> > So far, the conversations have gone well.  There is an interesting
> > challenge in that donors have to be convinced that the organization is
> > going to be relevant in 20 or 30 years (or in the case of an endowment –
> > forever).  I'd love to hear your best arguments for why that this true.
> (Or
> > maybe we could devote some thinking to this during the next strategic
> > planning process).
> >
> > Best,
> > Lisa Gruwell
>
>
> Thanks Lisa -- now *that's* a good question :) I added a quick section to
> the endowment page, if people want to discuss there:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Endowment#Will_we_be_relevant_in....3F
>
> -- phoebe
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>



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*Victor Grigas*
Storyteller <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Knv6D6Thi0>
Wikimedia Foundation
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San Francisco, CA 94105
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