Thanks for your email. As Lisa shared in response to the original thread
and question, the $8.7 million was used to set up a grantmaking fund at
Tides Advocacy to fund two areas: 1) Funding Annual Plan Grants (APG) to
the affiliates and 2) creating a $4.5 million Knowledge Equity Fund. To the
first area, $4,223,994 of the Tides Advocacy Fund is planned to be
distributed to the Annual Plan Grant affiliates
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/Proposals> (chapters)  this
fiscal year. In the link above you can find the APG grantees from Round 1
and the amounts given, and the proposals for round 2, which will be
approved this week.
Regarding the $4.5 million that we set aside for the Equity Fund, We will
have more details to share on the Equity Fund, and the plans for providing
grants from the Equity Fund, within the next week.
On Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 6:47 AM Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> wrote:
Yair Rand (quoted below) inquired last December about a 2019/2020 WMF
expenditure item, the $8.723M the WMF transferred to a "Wikimedia Knowledge
Equity Fund managed and controlled by Tides Advocacy".
The 2019/2020financial audit FAQ said, "The Wikimedia Foundation is
still setting up the specifics of the Knowledge Equity Fund and will share
more information *in late 2020*."
Replying to Lair last December, Lisa updated this, saying, "We intend
to announce the Knowledge Equity Fund *in early 2021*, once we have a bit
more details and specifics worked out."
Inquiring for this information again *in April*, I was told by Kassia on
Meta that there had been delays, but "We will be able to share more
information *in May* about the Equity Fund, its structure and eligibility
for the Fund, and we will also have materials on Meta with more detail."
If any such information was published in May (I may possibly have missed
it), could you please provide a link, and if not, could you please publish
Or could you at least answer the following:
1. Are the entire $8.723M, sent to Tides almost a year ago now, still with
Tides? If yes, where will the money go?
2. What public reporting will there be of how the funds are used?
3. If any of this money has been spent over the past year, where has it
On a related matter, note the thread on Hacker News that kicked off
yesterday. It contains a useful microcosm of public responses to the
current fundraising paradigm and is well worth studying.
On Sun, Dec 13, 2020 at 8:54 AM Yair Rand <yyairrand(a)gmail.com> wrote:
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
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