[Foundation-l] Report to the Board August 2008

Sue Gardner 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


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 
NomCom, etc.)



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.


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 
online fundraiser.

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.


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.


* 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.

Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

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