[Foundation-l] Relocation announcement

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Sat Sep 22 04:25:05 UTC 2007

Hi folks,

I wanted to let you know that later this year, the Wikimedia Foundation 
will be relocating its headquarters to the San Francisco Bay area.

You may know that we’re currently in St. Petersburg, Florida. This was 
an accident rather than a deliberate choice; when Jimmy started the 
Foundation in 2003, he happened to be living here. And in the years 
since then, Florida has been a very good home for us.

But it’s time to move. We need to be in a larger city that is more 
suited to our work.

In making this decision, we assessed five major cities: Boston, London, 
New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC - as well as St. Petersburg 
itself. The upshot: after a fairly detailed analysis, I recommended to 
the board that the Foundation relocate to San Francisco, and the board 
accepted that recommendation.

Why San Francisco? It’s the centre of high-tech in the United States. 
It’s home to plenty of like-minded organizations and possible partners, 
top-tier universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley, world-class support 
services, and major media. And it will be more convenient - and cheaper 
- than St. Petersburg for international travel.

There are also arguments for staying where we are. Moving will be 
expensive, and may be disruptive for the community. And St. Petersburg 
is less expensive than the Bay Area.

But in the long run, San Francisco will suit us well, and will give the 
Foundation a solid base from which to grow.

Here is what’s planned at this point:

- The new office will open sometime this winter. We’ll probably start 
out in downtown San Francisco, until we get our bearings and choose a 
permanent location.
- The St. Petersburg office will close late this winter, probably at the 
end of January.
- We know that many people's personal circumstances will make it 
impossible for them to move, but we are hoping that some of the current 
staff will be able to come with us.
- The servers will remain in Tampa indefinitely. If we do choose to move 
them, that would be a separate, subsequent decision. At this point, it's 
not under active consideration.

The board members have asked me, in this note, to thank the St. 
Petersburg staff for their hard work and dedication. And I want to add 
my thanks as well. It’s a great group of committed, hard-working people, 
and those who can't move with the office will be missed.

I know many of you will have questions about the staff. Most of them I 
probably can't answer, because, in general, individual staff issues are 
confidential. But I will say that I take very seriously the 
organization's obligation to its employees, and I am committed to 
ensuring everyone is treated fairly and with care. The staff has been 
informed and consulted throughout this process, and has made a good 
contribution to it.

In the coming months, the Foundation will be relying on the staff's 
patience and cooperation, and on yours – we will need lots of support in 
order for this transition to go smoothly.

Please feel free to forward this note to anyone who might be interested, 
and to contact me directly if you have any questions, or want to offer 
help. We will probably put out a press release sometime next week, but wanted to let you all know first.


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