[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Andrew Gray andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk
Thu Mar 14 11:12:38 UTC 2013

On 14 March 2013 08:09, Manuel Schneider <manuel.schneider at wikimedia.ch> wrote:

> thanks for collecting these links, they are interesting. Anyway, I
> didn't fully understand the idea behind the page, especially as a
> non-native speaker I have problems to come up with a proper translation
> / understanding of "Endowment". I understand it as "what WM(F) owns" and
> it may refer to the "right" WM(F) expects to have on getting / using
> their donated money or may refer to the reserves WMF is currently building.
> Can you explain this a bit better for people like me, please? Maybe
> right on that Meta page would be good, so others can read it as well.

Hi Manuel,

The basic idea of an endowment is that it's a large sum of money
collected to "set up" a charity - it then uses the income from
investing this money to cover some or all of its operating costs,
rather than just spending it over a long period of time. The Wellcome
Trust is a pretty good high-profile example; it has a capital
endowment of around fifteen billion pounds, and spends about six
hundred million (4%) a year.

(In the US context, they're very common for universities, but this is
less so in Europe; here it's more "traditional charities")

I've given a quick outline on the meta page. Building up an endowment
sufficient to run WMF would be tricky, of course :-)

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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