And Anasuya's farewell.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anasuya Sengupta <>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 2:31 PM
Subject: [Wikimedia Announcements] Leaving the Wikimedia Foundation

Dear friends and colleagues, fellow adventurers on the Wikimedia journey -

Goodbyes are overrated.[1] But since I’m sure this will be au revoir, I’ll continue: I am leaving the Foundation as head of the Grantmaking department, at the end of March. This was not an easy decision to make; this is not an easy email to write.

As some of you know, I have been battling health issues over the past few months. I’ve learnt sharp and intimate truths about myself as I’ve worked to get better, and what I’ve kept coming back to is the compassionate but fierce feminist slogan around self-care and sustainability: ‘what’s the point of the revolution if we can’t dance?’[2] To reassure you all, I will be well,[3] but I need a little time and space to focus on getting my dancing legs strong again.

That said, I am pleased that we have a really solid plan in place as I leave. As Lila’s email just announced, Luis Villa (our current Deputy General Counsel) will be taking over the team effective immediately, and leading the organisation further in our support of Wikimedia communities worldwide. Luis brings with him a range of skills and qualities that I know will stand him, the team, and the movement in wonderful stead through it all. As a friend and colleague, I am so delighted to be supporting Luis through the next few weeks of transition.

I joined the Foundation in July 2012 to oversee and implement the FDC process. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of creating and leading a department of more than twenty remarkable and passionate people who care about our mission, our communities, and the resources needed to match the two.

We went from Asaf managing a small grants portfolio on his own, ably supported on occasion by Winifred, to a fully fledged grantmaking department with a spectrum of monetary and non-monetary resources. We have been able to offer these in different ways to different parts of our movement: to individual volunteers with great ideas in need of project management, to small groups experimenting with new initiatives, and to established organisations who form critical content and policy partnerships in their local contexts. We built an infrastructure for understanding our collective impact. We learned together about what our different communities are doing globally, about the successes and challenges we have, and above all: about how we can, together, create a more powerful set of outcomes for free knowledge.

In doing so, I’ve had the joy of discovery,[4] of learning from and with some of the most dedicated volunteers in the world, who believe that knowledge matters. Most importantly, that it’s not only free knowledge _for_ all that we seek, but even more critically, that we believe in knowledge _from_ and _with_ all.

And I’ve discovered that the nerdy, geeky, obsessed-with-data part of me found a home in this extraordinary universe, where everybody’s “unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds” can find expression.[5] I look forward to the day when my worlds find more space on Wikipedia, when 80% of the globe is represented by far more than 20% of the edits, when much more than 15% of our contributors can self-identify as women. Till then, I’ll keep fighting notability one article at a time...[6]

So thank you for sharing your worlds with me, and no thanks for turning me into an obsessive Wikimedian. :-) As I have learnt with you, I know I have done so with trust, and as I have challenged you, I hope I have done so with respect. I look forward to continuing our friendships and obsessions on a wiki near you.

With appreciation and gratitude,


p.s. You can find me in the future at my enWP user page (User:Anasuyas or (dare I say it) on Facebook. Longer diatribes on liff, the universe and everything can be sent to

[1] Neil Gaiman, American Gods (Chapter 8)

[2] Urgent Action Fund, a funder of women’s human rights defenders, has this book on sustainability:

[3] And look forward to dancing together on the beaches of a future Wikimania…

[4] Sometimes frustrating, sometimes unbelievable, sometimes somewhat insane; but yes mostly, generous beyond belief, and always, joyous. :-)

[5] More Neil Gaiman, from The Sandman:

[6],_WMF_Metrics_Meeting_February_2015.pdf&page=20 Ask Florence (User:Anthere) for _that_ story!

Anasuya Sengupta
Senior Director of Grantmaking
Wikimedia Foundation

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