According to the recent Independent Auditors' Report of the WMF , at some point prior to the end of June 2020, an entity called the "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund" was established, and $8.723 million was transferred to it by the WMF, in the form of an unconditional grant. The Fund is "managed and controlled by Tides Advocacy" (a 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit previously led by the WMF's current General Counsel/Board Secretary, who served as CEO, Board Secretary, and Treasurer there). Given that a Google search for "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund" yields zero results prior to the release of the report, it is clear that the WMF kept this significant move completely secret for over five months, perhaps over a year. The Report FAQ additionally emphasizes that the WMF "has no right of return to the grant funds provided, with the exception of unexpended funds."
The WMF unilaterally and secretly transferred nearly $9 million of movement funds to an outside organization not recognized by the Affiliations Committee. No mention of the grant was made in any Board resolutions or minutes from the relevant time period. The amount was not mentioned in the public annual plan, which set out rather less than this amount for the entire grantmaking budget for the year. No application was made through any of the various Wikimedia grants processes. No further information has been provided on the administration of this new Fund, or on the text of the grant agreement.
I am appalled.
-- Yair Rand