It occurs to me that when people donate money to
something, it is to
some degree with an expectation that the recipient entity grows to
eventually gain a certain kind of financial self-sufficiency. Is this
not also the case with Wikimedia and many charitable donations to it?
Do you mean building an endowment? Because the Foundation management
believes that donors expect their money to be spent on charitable
activities, and that reserves should only be sufficient to cover
income fluctuations over the next few years. I'm told that this is the
prevailing wisdom in the non-profit world.
However, the reserve is enough that if one income source were to stop,
others could be developed before money to pay the fundraising staff
dried up. So it's self-sufficient in that way.
-- Tim Starling