[Foundation-l] Report to the Board of Trustees: February 2009

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Fri Mar 13 06:17:33 UTC 2009

Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Covering:		February 2009
Prepared by:		Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Prepared for: 	Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees


1. Hiring interviews: CPO, usability team members
2. Development of the mid-year financial statements
3. Planning begins for 2009-10
4. Stanton Usability project starts up
5. Bits and pieces: normal fundraising activities, grant proposal
development, strategic plan, etc.



In February, Veronique Kessler developed the Wikimedia Foundation's
mid-year financial statements, covering the period of July 1, 2008 to
December 31, 2008.  Upshot: the Wikimedia Foundation is on plan and
expects to stay on plan for the rest of the fiscal year, which we
believe is excellent news given the state of the global economy.   We
are very grateful to all our donors.  The statements include a
comparison of actuals versus plan; a year over year comparison showing
how we are doing against the same period last year; a comparative
balance sheet, and a chart depicting revenues and expenses, with plan
compared against actuals to date and projections to fiscal year end.
The package also included a Q and A answering questions that Board or
community members might be expected to have.  The statements were
released to the Board on February 26, and will be published to the
community a few weeks later.

On February 17, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a Chapters Funding
Request process, inviting the chapters to ask for money for projects
or initiatives they would like to carry out during 2009-10, but which
require funding.  The process is described here
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/WMF_grants.  The
process is open for requests now, and the deadline for submissions is
April 7.   The contact person for the process is Frank Schulenburg.
This process is the precursor to one slated to launch in August, which
will be open for funding requests from all volunteers.

Also in February, Sue, Veronique, and Daniel Phelps reviewed the
Wikimedia Foundation's human resources processes and practices with
Board chair Michael Snow and Board member Kat Walsh, who were in San
Francisco for hiring interviews for the Chief Program Officer
position. The purpose of the review was to demonstrate for the Board
the appropriateness and sufficiency of the Wikimedia Foundation's
human resources systems and procedures, as well as to assure it of
legal and policy compliance.


The Wikimedia Foundation staged a full-day facilitated workshop in San
Francisco,  bringing together most of the San Francisco staff to
discuss the process used to prioritize large organizational
initiatives (with total costs estimated to be greater than USD
250,000).  The group reviewed and revised a prioritization tool which
had been created by Erik before the meeting: the tool assigns a value
to each initiative based on its fit against the Wikimedia Foundation
strategy.  Going forward, all large initiatives will be assessed,
prioritized and tracked using this tool, at the weekly Restricted
Gifts meeting which was launched in January.


In February, Sue, Erik, Michael and Kat interviewed four candidates
for the role of Chief Program Officer.  Michael and Kat had been
invited to join the hiring boards because the CPO will be a highly
community-facing position: besides being responsible for Jay, Frank
and Cary, the CPO will help develop the organization's strategy with
regard to outreach, partnership and content initiatives.  All CPO
candidates were given a takeaway assignment.  The CPO search is
expected to conclude in late March.  Many thanks to Kat and Michael
for contributing to the process: your help is much appreciated.

In February, several of the Wikimedia Foundation staff began preparing
workshops for the all-chapters meeting to be held in Berlin on April
3-5.   Sue will be attending the Board meeting, also in Berlin on
those dates, and Erik will therefore represent her at the chapters
meeting.   At the meeting, Frank will present an outreach workshop,
Rand Montoya will present a workshop on fundraising, and Mike Godwin
will present a trademark agreement / chapters agreement workshop.

In February, Frank met with the new New York chapter, giving them an
outline of recent activities, sharing experiences and discussing
possible future outreach activities.  He and Sara Crouse attended the
Wikipedia Loves Arts event at the Brooklyn Museum, and met with
representatives of the New York Public Library. Frank also contributed
to various funding proposals, and supported a volunteer initiative to
reach out to the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (Society of German

Cary Bass and Ariel Glenn attended RecentChangesCamp in Portland,
Oregon, an annual wiki-unconference, to meet and interface with other
members of the broader wiki community.  (Session notes available at:
http://2009rcc.org/wagn/Session_Notes )


The Wikimedia Foundation did not publish any press releases in February.

In February, the Wikimedia Foundation and its representatives
participated in interviews with the following organizations: the Daily
Northwestern, the student newspaper published by Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois; the Denver, Colorado news site
Examiner.com; ABC Nyheter in Norway; Wired magazine in San Francisco,
California; the “Tech Ticker” program of Yahoo Finance; BBC Radio 5;
the daily newspaper USA Today;  UK newspaper the Sunday Times; Caras
magazine in Mexico City, and UK newspaper The Independent.

Jay posted an advertisement on the Wikimedia Foundation website
seeking a part-time communications intern (up to 30hrs/week) for 3-6
months beginning March 2009.
The communications intern will support and assist Jay, as well as
other Wikimedia Foundation staff and/or Board members, in the overall
execution of the Foundation's public relations and communications


In the month of February the Wikimedia Foundation received 1,100
donations totalling approximately USD 32,644.04.

During February, Rand worked on aggregating information for a report
on the online fundraiser, with help from volunteers.  He also explored
mobile giving options which could be used in conjunction with our new
mobile portal.  The fundraising team worked together on identifying
needed improvements for our database, preparing for a database
upgrade, ensuring that we have full data for offline gifts (such as
wire transfers to our European account), that all donors are
acknowledged, that address information is correct, etc.  Major donor
cultivation and grant proposal development activities continued

Sue, Erik, Sara and Frank visited the Sloan Foundation in New York to
give an update on the organizational progress of the Wikimedia
Foundation, subsequent to our official report.  The Sloan Foundation
awarded the Wikimedia Foundation a USD 3 million grant of
institutional support, with a focus on quality initiatives, over three
years beginning in 2008.


In February, Trevor Parscal was seconded from the technical team to
work on the Stanton Usability project
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Usability_Initiative -
bringing to the project technical knowledge and skills as well as
extensive experience working at a usability firm in interface design
and development. The usability team created a project workspace at
usability.wikimedia.org.   Planning has begun and a firm was selected
for user tests (both remote testing and lab testing) to take place in
March, in order to identify key barriers to entry for new Wikipedia
contributors.  And, the first in a new set of features designed to
help build consensus on usability improvements has been rolled-out at
usability.wikimedia.org, the workspace for the WP Usability

Brion Vibber and Tomasz Finc attended the Free and Open Source
Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Belgium, to meet and
share ideas with the local Wikimedians as well as others in the open
source community. Brion gave a presentation summarizing recent
MediaWiki developments (
http://leuksman.com/images/7/73/Brion-fosdem2009.odp ).

The code of the new mobile portal at http://m.wikipedia.org/ was
significantly improved, and the portal has been publicized for wider
testing. ( http://leuksman.com/log/2009/02/18/mobile-browser-links/ )
We're hoping to switch certain mobile devices to the new gateway by
default, with a link to the classic version, in future.

The technical team launched the wiki-to-print feature in six
additional Wikipedia language editions: French, Polish, Dutch,
Portuguese, Spanish, and Simple English, making it possible for
readers of those Wikipedia to make collections of Wikipedia articles,
share them, download them as PDF and OpenDocument files, or order them
as printed books.  It was also activated in the English Wikipedia for
signed-in users only: the technical team is monitoring server load and
user feedback, due to the massive load of the English Wikipedia. If
all goes well, it will be deployed on all relevant projects for all
users, in March.

The technical team installed 36 new application servers to improve
editing and page rendering performance, especially at peak times.


All Staff meeting (March 12-13 in San Francisco)
Hiring of the Chief Program Officer (late March)
Board Meeting and All Chapters Meeting (April 3-5 in Berlin)
Development of the 2009-10 Annual Plan

Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

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