Please see email below on behalf of Jaime Villagomez, CFO of the Wikimedia
The Wikimedia Foundation has submitted to the US Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) and posted on-wiki our annual Form 990 filing. The Form 990 is the
annual financial reporting which is required by the federal government for
active nonprofit organizations in the United States.
In addition to posting the Form 990 on-wiki, we have also posted an
accompanying page with answers to frequently asked questions related to the
form and information we submitted. Almost all financial reports by their
very nature can be confusing, so to add clarity here is a simple breakdown
of what this form covers.
It was pointed out last year that the dates covered by our financial
reports can be confusing given our fiscal year is different from the
calendar year. This "2015 Form 990" covers the financial activities of the
Wikimedia Foundation for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which ran from July 1,
2015 to June 30, 2016. A notable exception is information related to the
compensation of our officers, key employees, highest paid staff and
independent contractors, which is instead based on the 2015 calendar year.
The Wikimedia Foundation's total revenue from fiscal year 2015-2016 was
US$78,691,737. Our total expenses from this period were US$65,061,845 and
our total net assets at the end of the fiscal year were US$91,782,795.
Included in the approximately US$65 million expenses from this period is a
US$5 million seed contribution to the Wikimedia Endowment, building on the
initial donation by Jim Pacha of approximately US$1 million. This
contribution accounts for the bulk of the increase from the year before in
"grants and similar amounts paid" listed on the summary page. It is listed
as an expense in the form because the Endowment is an independent fund
housed at Tides. To learn more about the purpose and structure of the
Wikimedia Endowment, visit its Meta-Wiki page.
The Form 990 also includes information about the salaries of the Wikimedia
Foundation's five highest paid employees. The salaries for all paid
positions are set according to salary bands which are determined
bi-annually based on independent third party survey data. Executive
salaries are subject to this same standard. All executive salaries, with
the exception of the Executive Director's salary, are set by the Executive
Director in discussion with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees
uses the independent third party survey data, as well as comparative data
from other nonprofit organizations, to set the salary of the Executive
Director, and to assess and advise on other executive salaries.
The largely technical and high-skilled nature of some of our work requires
competitive wages to recruit the best talent and compensate them fairly for
their expertise and commitment. We believe that the Wikimedia Foundation
continues to pay competitively, but within in the average (50th percentile)
when compared to tech companies, and higher average (90th percentile)
compared to nonprofits.
In addition to salary information, the report includes other payments made
to the highest paid employees upon their departure from the organization
(known as severance payments). Following our regular practice for staff
departures, these amounts are set on a case-by-case based on a person's
tenure with the organization. We recognize that people have an interest in
this topic, and that there will be some questions. However, as an employer
we are limited in what we can discuss publicly. Out of respect for the
people involved, and in consideration of the laws and ethics related to
sharing human resources information, we will not be commenting on the
specific nature of the severance payments or circumstances which may be
related to them.
Through reports and discussions like these, the Wikimedia Foundation will
continue to strive to provide a responsible level of transparency and
accountability for our work. I imagine there are other questions, and I
invite you to review the on-wiki FAQ, or email me if your question is
not answered there.
Thank you to the Foundation's Talent & Culture, Legal, Advancement and
Communications departments for their assistance with developing this year's
Form 990 and related communications. A very big thank you to our Finance
and Administration department for their hard work once again preparing this
important public filing.
Ph: 415-839-6885 ext 6749 <(415)%20839-6885>
Fax: 415-882-0495 <(415)%20882-0495>
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