[Foundation-l] Great Job! was Re: Audited financial statements released!

ATR alex756 at nyc.rr.com
Sat Dec 9 01:35:26 UTC 2006

Congrats Brad!  Also to Danny Wool, Michael Davis and to your
auditing team!

This statement is a great tool that will help us justify asking for the
money that I personally feel is desperately needed to make WMF
a stable organization in the coming year so that WMF has sufficient
hardware resources, bandwidth and a very basic staff for its incredible
stature as one of the world's top websites providers.

As you said in your announcement with the release of the financial
statement,  Brad, WMF is like Myspace, Youtube, etc., but the most
AMAZING difference to me is NOT only that WMF is an NPO charity,
but it was done on less than 1/1000th of the resources that these gigantic
corporate entities have without adverts!!! This is something every WMF
project volunteer (and all you guys on staff, the board, committees, etc.)
should be incredibly proud of and should help all their friends, relatives,
etc. know as  a fact. WMF volunteers in all the projects and friends
should spread the word that WMF needs help and has proven that it is
a responsible organization that has managed its meager resources to
date extremely well demonstrating incredible growth and potential.

As someone who has worked/volunteered in the NPO field for over 25 years
I can't imagine anyone thinking that creating & running a multibillion 
organization on less than a million dollars a year would be possible,
but WMF volunteers (and by volunteers I mean not only people like Jimmy,
the other board members and you Brad, but everyone who has contributed
to in any way to what we are doing here) have proven it can be done so far,
but this is only just a short period of time, and it seems obvious to 
like me that WMF has a desperate need for resources and that we must
make the public aware of in the upcoming fundraiser if all the WMF
projects are to survive; there are hardware and human resources that
are desperately needed to make WMF a stable, ongoing entity.

Imagine if  we just point this out and ask for help, a simple sincere
request, not, oh, we have some multibillion dollar entity that is giving
us a matching grant, but we are just a "little" group of folks that have
done miraculous things because the power of volunteerism shows that
people are more important than corporations and that all WMF needs,
let us say, at least $12M a year to do this without burnout or continual
server overload (I am just using these figures as illustrative amounts,
not anything that has been approved by the Board or being stated in my
role as Chair of the Fundraising Committee). That is just a $1,000,000
a month! Compared to the amount of money that Yahoo or Google
spend just on corporate advertising this is nothing, really. I am just
suggesting we need to put the incredible progress of Wikipedia into
context of the internet environment in which it finds itself so that 
donors can see what has been done to date with very limited resources.

It is very clear to me that WMF sincerely needs help on a very basic level.
I understand that at present we are receiving approximately $2K a day in
unsolicited donations, it is obvious that a lot more money is needed on an
ongoing basis and the public needs to know this, hopefully in the next few
days we will get everything together to make a cogent appeal to the public
to donate in our upcoming fundraiser that will keep you, Brad, and the rest
of the staff surviving and help you all find more needed help which is 
a absolute minimum, buy more servers, pay for more bandwidth and make
WMF an organization that has a bright and stable future so that all of us
and many more people can contribute to and use the incredible free knowledge
base that is being continually developed, upgraded and must be maintained
for future generations.

As we already know to a limited extent, the public is generous and a lot
of people have contributed their modest, individual contributions to show
that Wikipedia is something they want to give their money to; WP is and
can continue to be a viable way to develop and maintain this permanent
knowledge base in a non-commercial context without advertising or
corporatism. These small donations can add up to millions, and I hope and
pray our "public" shows that it wants to support WMF much more and
make a difference in an over commercialized environment where WMF
stands for principles of free speech, free association and volunteerism
which, as you and I discussed at Wikimania, are fundamental to free access
to free knowledge for all.

WMF shows that people of many countries and languages can work
together through the internet to create a new and permanent home for free
knowledge for all. Hopefully this audited statement will encourage a lot
more generosity to make that a bit more of a permanent reality.

Thank you again Brad, and everyone else who has contributed, to
helping make that something of a possiblity.

Alex T Roshuk
Chair pro-tem, Fundraising Committee

The statements herein are my personal opinion and do not represent and
are not to be construed as "official" statements of the Fundraising 
or the WMF of which said Committee is a part.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brad Patrick" <bradp.wmf at gmail.com>
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at wikimedia.org>
Cc: "Mili Protic" <mprotic at gsscpa.com>; "Melanie Cloran" 
<mcloran at gsscpa.com>; <rcaton at gsscpa.com>
Sent: Friday, December 08, 2006 6:18 PM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Audited financial statements released!

| Dear Wikimedia Foundation community:
| It is my pleasure to announce the public release of audited financial
| statements of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. for fiscal years 2004, 2005
| and 2006 inclusive.  This represents a significant step forward in the
| life of the Foundation.  Our audit firm, Gregory Sharer & Stuart
| (www.gsscpa.com), worked with us for the past several months to help us
| comply with all of the requirements such an audit demands.  We assumed
| this responsibility ourselves, to demonstrate to the community and the
| world that the Foundation has complied with its obligations under law
| and generally accepted accounting principles.
| I want to specially thank the members of the audit team, Michael Davis
| and Danny Wool, and our auditors Rick Caton, Mili Protic, and Melanie
| Cloran for their hard work, patience, and good natured approach to this
| unusual organization.  We appreciate their efforts.
| Links to the financial statements and management letter:
| and
| Wikimedia Foundation continues to grow at an astonishing rate.  In the
| coming days, you will see more information about the fundraiser we are
| planning, which will include the opportunity to have donations made to
| the Foundation matched by generous individuals and companies who support
| our efforts.  With our audit complete, Wikimedia Foundation is now
| listed as a charitable organization at Guidestar (www.guidestar.org) and
| its partner sites, which will extend our visibility in the
| not-for-profit community.
| You will also see "what it takes to run Wikipedia for a year" - a
| glimpse of the financial challenges we face trying to maintain our role
| as a top website on the planet, with a skeleton staff and
| ever-increasing demand for the educational content created by you, our
| community of editors and contributors.  Anonymous visitors will also be
| reminded that Wikimedia Foundation is a *charitable organization*,
| something which distinguishes us from the YouTubes and MySpaces spoken
| in the same breath as Wikipedia as the "Web 2.0" vanguard.  We aren't
| for sale.  There won't be a Wikipedia IPO.  We can't be bought by a
| company, any more so than the Red Cross or Amnesty International.
| What sets us apart is our mission, vision and community.  What keeps us
| going, though, requires an growing infrastructure, staff, and money.
| On behalf of the Foundation,  thank you!
| Brad Patrick
| Interim Executive Director & General Counsel
| Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
| _______________________________________________
| foundation-l mailing list
| foundation-l at wikimedia.org
| http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l 

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