[Foundation-l] Money, politics and corruption

Sue Gardner susanpgardner at gmail.com
Wed Jul 14 16:33:49 UTC 2010

I _try_ to create a monthly report, but we do fall behind.  Nobody at the Foundation is happy about that, but they are a pain to produce. We'll probably try to figure out a better, easier way to do it, this year.

(And hello Oliver, and welcome to foundation-l!)

Just to be clear, I have no idea what Milos is talking about, either with regard to the chapters or the Wikimedia Foundation.  I believe one of the board members plans to follow up with him offline.

A couple more bits of information:

* We don't currently have good audit procedures confirming that the chapters have met their commitments. That's normal, because Wikimedia is still pretty young. But what I believe Thomas said is also true: most organizations have pretty strong audit procedures, plus procedures for what to do when commitments aren't being met. For example, I believe the (U.S.) Corporation For Public Broadcasting publishes the results of its (third-party) audits of compliance at NPR and PBS stations. For example, it tracks how many minutes of sponsorship are broadcast per hour, in order to assess whether stations are complying with agreed-upon maximums. If a station exceeds its sponsorship maximums, there are repercussions -- although I don't know what they are.

* Anyone who has information about malfeasance or misfeasance inside Wikimedia should take a look at our Whistleblower Policy, which lays out process for escalation to authorities.  The policy is intended to cover serious and actual problems (rather than for example rumour or worries), but it's probably better to overreport than underreport.  And it is good to have a confidential avenue. I can tell you our Whistleblower Policy has worked well for us in the past: I'm glad it exists.

* For those interested in the scholarships, here's a quote from mail Sara sent me the other day:

"1) As of tonight, we have 70 Wikimania Scholarship recipients from 39 countries (6 continents). Each scholarship covers roundtrip travel, registration, and accommodations for one recipient.Approximate funding on travel, registration, and accommodations for these 70 people is $110,000.* The program is funded by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2010. The recipients were selected by a committee of volunteers, out of about 2,500 applicantions. They were selected primarily on the basis of their participation in the Wikimedia projects or other free knowledge and educational initiatives, and also on their efforts to help grow community in underrepresented regions.This is compared to 58 recipients in 2009 whose travel and registration cost ~$93,000, and was funded by four funders.*As we are processing last-minute refunded tickets, and accommodations and registration still need to be charged back to us, $110K is only an approximate number at this time.2) Thanks to the scholarships committee and Gdansk team who dedicated so much time and attention to this program.3) Thanks to chapters that offered direct support for Wikimedians to attend Wikimedia. (I don't know which ones specifically, just that some have supported their members).4) Thanks to the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations, which are sponsoring several Wikimedians from Central Asia, the Caucuses, and the Balkans."

Sorry for the formatting on that note from Sara -- it's just a copy-and-paste out of my Blackberry. I'm at the airport in Newark: just about home :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: oliver keyes <thedarkthird at hotmail.co.uk>
Sender: foundation-l-bounces at lists.wikimedia.org
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2010 17:12:53 
To: <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Reply-To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Money, politics and corruption

"Sue doesn't send out a monthly report" - Sue is the Executive Director of the fastest growing non-profit foundation in the United States, a foundation which has just announced a doubling of its staff, trial direct expansion to two more nations and the gradual relocation of server resources. You think she has the time for a monthly report?
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