[Foundation-l] Report to the Board August 2008
sgardner at wikimedia.org
Thu Oct 16 00:58:06 UTC 2008
FYI - and September will follow soon :-)
Report to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees
Covering: August 2008
Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Prepared for: Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
MY CURRENT PRIORITIES
Updated August 17, 2008
1. Funders' Briefing preparations (including materials such as
presentation, giving chart, annual report, etc.)
2. Developing funding proposals for several foundations
3. Orienting new fundraising team
4. Ongoing major donor solicitation and stewardship
5. Bits and pieces (Wikimania postmortem, office space revamp, launch of
THIS PAST MONTH
Frank Schulenburg launched the first-ever “WikiProject Videos”
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProjekt_Videos - a project
designed to encourage people to enrich Wikipedia with videos, and to
create a set of understandable and comprehensive online support
materials. Together with Wikimedia Germany, he has worked towards the
development of video tutorials and interviewed potential candidates to
present such tutorials. He also moderated an online course "Wikipedia
in Internet cafés for older people."
Frank visited Buenos Aires for a Wikipedia Academy planning meeting
called “Organising a Wikipedia Academy in seven steps,” and also met
with Argentinian chapter members in La Plata. With the help of Elizabeth
Bauer and WMAR, he created “cheat sheets” and a “101” in Spanish for the
Wikipedia Academy in Buenos Aires, set for October.
During August, the Wikimedia Foundation did some thinking about barriers
to participation: why some readers don't edit, and what we could do to
persuade them to try it. To that end, Sue Gardner, Frank Schulenburg
and others contributed to a page on meta called New Contributor
The information on this page has since been used in several outreach
proposals prepared for grantmaking institutions.
During August, staff and volunteers worked on a postmortem of Wikimania
2008, which included two IRC meetings and an online (LimeSurvey) survey
of attendees, organizers and speakers. The postmortem is intended to
reflect the experiences and views of all Wikimania planners and
participants, and will result in a set of recommendations, to be
implemented in time for the staging of Wikimania 2009. It will cover
site selection, local planning and organization, logistics, program
planning and speaker handling, scholarships, media/PR, public outreach,
finance and administration, and sponsorships. Participating in the
postmortem: Delphine Menard, Cary Bass, Jay Walsh, Kul Takanao Wadhwa,
Frank Schulenburg, Veronique Kessler, Sue Gardner and 21 volunteers
including members of the board and advisory board. The postmortem is
expected to be complete in September or October: it currently awaits
input from the local planning team, the program committee and scholarships.
FUNDRAISING AND GRANTS
On August 4, invitations went out for the Funders' Briefing to be held
at the Sloan Foundation in New York on September 11, 2008. Current
confirmed guests include representatives from the Ford, Hewlett, Surdna,
Sunlight and Stanton Foundations , the Open Society Institute, and
National Geographic. Attending the briefing from WMF will be Erik
Möller, Sara Crouse, Rebecca Handler, Stu West and me.
On August 15, invitations went out for the San Francisco Funders'
Briefing to be held at Kapor Enterprises on September 23, 2008. Current
confirmed guests include representatives from the Stanton, Moore and
Gates Foundations as well as representatives from the Omidyar Network,
and individual prospective donors.
On August 25, Anya Shyrokova joined the staff of the Wikimedia
Foundation as our new Development Associate. Anya, who speaks fluent
Russian and Ukrainian, is a recent graduate of the University of
California, Berkeley, with a double major in International Political
Economy and Molecular Cell Biology. As Development Associate, she will
act as donor record manager and help with prospecting and major gift
A major grant proposal related to translations and public outreach has
been developed and submitted.
We've begun analyzing potential credit card processing solutions for the
There were 989 donations in the month of August, totalling USD 34,330.24.
Throughout August, Jay worked on the Wikimedia Foundation's first-ever
Annual Report covering the fiscal year 2007-08. He expects to have a
preliminary version available for the Funders' Briefings, which will not
include the audited financial statements. That version will be replaced
by a version including the statements, once the audit is complete and
the statements are ready to be published. That will probably happen in
There were no press releases in the month of August, but we responded to
media inquiries from the Columbia Journalism School, San Francisco
magazine, Wired magazine, Jobsinthemoney.com, the Municipalist, the San
Francisco Chronicle newspaper, the IT website Tech Target, the
Washington Post newspaper, El Mercurio, the New York Times, the Wall
Street Journal, tech career website Dice.com, Advancing Philanthropy
Magazine, Politico, Bloomberg.com, PC World, and Super Lawyers magazine.
We've received and put into service the first batch of hardware
(primarily database servers) generously sponsored by the Stanton
Foundation. New employees in the San Francisco office include Michael
Dale, who is being sponsored by Kaltura and working on a 100% open
source video editing solution and Tomasz Finc, our new full-time
software developer. An additional part-time contractor is helping in our
Tampa data-center where we are moving forward with addition of new
rack-space by a different provider in the same building. The new space
will allow us to more effectively deploy new servers and maintain active
on-site backups of key data. Data dumps are temporarily on hold until
some of the new file server deployments are completed, due to space
constraints on old servers.
The Wiki-to-PDF extension was enabled on http://en.labs.wikimedia.org ,
and the Wikibooks community was invited to test the extension. Many
issues were addressed throughout the month, such as the addition of a
feature to exclude selected templates from printing. A Wikimedia/Wikia
tech meeting took place to identify potential areas of cooperation, such
as Wikia's improvements to Erik Zachte's Wikistats scripts and Wikia's
work on the Varnish caching server. Also, a new experimental handheld
style-sheet is being tested for mobile devices.
Significant progress has been made on auditing and normalizing our
software installations, making it easier for us to manage the site, fix
broken installs, and set up new servers and new services. Progress has
also been made on cleaning up our domain name situation: ownership,
contact information, and DNS setup is being normalized.
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION
Most of August was spent preparing for and working with the auditors. We
also brought in a part-time Human Resources consultant to audit our
personnel files and do other HR-related work.
On August 23, Michael Snow briefed the Nominating Committee on behalf of
the board, in an IRC meeting. The job of the Nominating Committee is to
identify, research and recommend candidates for the appointed Board
positions involving "specific expertise." Its members are board member
Ting Chen, community member Milos Rancic, community member BirgitteSB,
advisory board member Melissa Hagemann, Executive Director Sue Gardner
and board chair Michael Snow. The Nominating Committee intends to
generate criteria for potential “specific expertise” board members here
by September 15, and brainstorm names of potential board members (on a
private wiki) by September 30. The four “expertise” seats are expected
to be filled by January 2009.
IN COMING WEEKS
* Funders' Briefings in New York and San Francisco
* Board meeting being held October 4, 5 & 6 at the WMF office.
* All-staff meeting being held November 6 & 7 at the WMF office.
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