I find it hard to disagree with any of Yair's points. 

Equally puzzling is why the 2019/2020 surplus was passed to Tides Advocacy in the first place, rather than, say, being added to the Wikimedia Endowment, or simply retained by the WMF, along with the rest of the year's substantial surplus.

Money was collected from donors who were told funds were urgently needed "to defend Wikipedia's independence". A substantial part of this money has now been dispensed to non-Wikimedia-affiliated organisations by a small, unelected group, via an opaque process that takes place behind closed doors.

Is this a fair summary?


On Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 6:21 AM Yair Rand <yyairrand@gmail.com> wrote:
I haven't yet had time to look over the grantee organizations, and the general issue of funding non-Wikimedia efforts has been fairly well-covered by statements from all four recently-elected trustees, so I'm just going to take a moment to bring up some points about the specific process used here:
* This was not participatory. Neither the community nor any community-elected group were invited to look these over even to give advance feedback, much less make a decision.
* This was not transparent. Even after the fact, no notes were given on what the WMF used to judge the options; no metrics, no pros-and-cons analysis of each, no general review. Nor was a list of rejected applicants made public, as far as I can see.
* COI concerns: Given the lack of any mentioned standards about this (I haven't seen anything resembling the FDC's COI rules, and the WMF's general COI policy seems quite lacking for something like this), and given the problematic history this Fund in particular has in this area, I must ask: Did any staff, trustees, or committee members involved in this process have any personal associations to any of the grantee organizations, and if so, were they (/would they have been) required to recuse themselves from the relevant decisions?
* The Committee appears to have committed to sharing "terms of each grant and updates on their progress" on Meta, per the FAQ. I don't see any links to the grant terms. Should we still expect these things?

(A few excerpts from answers given by the recently elected, at the Q&A on the topic of funding non-Wikimedia efforts in general:
"I don’t think WF has any money to spare for any other causes irrespective of their worth. There’s an NGO or 100 for any cause, and WF cause is exclusively Wikimedia movement support." - Victoria
"At this time, I'd be reluctant to start funding projects entirely unrelated to Wikimedia projects." - Pundit
"The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to support and empower the communities of the Wikimedia projects and the projects themselves. Among the many worthy goals that one can set, we choose to pursue this one. [...] The Wikimedia Foundation looks relatively big and well-resourced (in terms of money, people, etc.), and it is tempting to use some of them for other purposes. However, the truth is that the Wikimedia Foundation is not so big, and the resources are very limited. If we scatter them in too many different places, we will end up achieving nothing - and the Wikimedia projects will be the first to pay the price." - Laurentius
I'm not going to try to clip Rosiestep's answer because I feel like a clipped version would risk being misrepresentative of her position. I recommend reading the full versions of all four (quite interesting and nuanced) answers at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/2021/Candidates/CandidateQ%26A/Question11 )

(There are, of course, more fundamental problems with the Fund, but let's leave that for another time.)

Thank you.

-- Yair Rand

‫בתאריך יום ד׳, 8 בספט׳ 2021 ב-10:09 מאת ‪Lisa Gruwell‬‏ <‪lgruwell@wikimedia.org‬‏>:‬

Hi everyone,

We are excited to share that we have chosen the first round of grantees for the Knowledge Equity Fund pilot. The Equity Fund Committee selected six grantees across the Middle East, Africa, and North and South America who focus on issues of access, education and equity within the regions they support. You can read an overview of the six grantees and their work on Diff[1]. We’ve also added information about the grantees and what’s next for this pilot program to our Meta page[2].

We are happy to welcome these new grantees, and look forward to their work as movement partners to support the free knowledge ecosystem. Let us know if you have questions on the Talk Page[3].

Thank you,

Lisa Gruwell and the Equity Fund Committee

[1] https://diff.wikimedia.org/2021/09/08/welcome-to-the-first-grantees-of-the-knowledge-equity-fund/

[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_Equity_Fund

[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Knowledge_Equity_Fund&action=edit&redlink=1


Lisa Seitz Gruwell

Chief Advancement Officer

Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia-l mailing list -- wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
Public archives at https://lists.wikimedia.org/hyperkitty/list/wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org/message/IQOLEVBEAE65IM6TSK3MLYRTMFUSANZE/
To unsubscribe send an email to wikimedia-l-leave@lists.wikimedia.org
Wikimedia-l mailing list -- wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
Public archives at https://lists.wikimedia.org/hyperkitty/list/wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org/message/PPRDEGTIDYUOPF32U6SWGROIHETEEDJQ/
To unsubscribe send an email to wikimedia-l-leave@lists.wikimedia.org