[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Lisa Gruwell lgruwell at wikimedia.org
Thu Mar 14 20:47:02 UTC 2013

My team here at the foundation has begun to do a little leg work so that we
are ready to go, if the Board should decide to pursue an endowment.  We
have begun to "tip our toes" into the world of planned giving and have had
conversations with some of our major donors about it.  At this point, the
planned gifts are for general support, but our strategy would likely be to
direct these types of gifts to an endowment, if we go that route.  We also
set up a simple page on the foundation site about planned giving or "Legacy
Gifts," as we are calling it.

So far, the conversations have gone well.  There is an interesting
challenge in that donors have to be convinced that the organization is
going to be relevant in 20 or 30 years (or in the case of an endowment –
forever).  I'd love to hear your best arguments for why that this true. (Or
maybe we could devote some thinking to this during the next strategic
planning process).

Lisa Gruwell

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:

> Aha, a welcome topic :)
> MZMcBride writes:
> > I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
> > want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
> > later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
> > to put their money, I think.
> Yes, let us build an endowment.
> It makes practical sense: As a community institution that aims to
> serve our society for the next 100 years, it matches our scope and
> vision.  And as a respected and visible global project, we can raise
> the funds we need.
> It also makes financial sense: Some donors prefer to donate to one.
> And there are economies of scale: the flexibility of long-term
> investments let them generate better average returns, and large funds
> can invest significantly more effectively than small ones.
> Anders Wennersten <mail at anderswennersten.se> writes:
> > I was marginally involved on this issue two years ago. And by then the
> > focus/priority was to ramp up the Fundraising activities.
> >
> > As this now has been successfully done, I believe this discussion is
> > now much better in timing, and worthwhile to work through
> Right.  When we first considered an endowment, the WMF didn't have the
> financial expertise to set one up; later, in 2010, fundraising was
> growing quite quickly and took priority.  Now we are in a good
> position to plan longer-term investments.
> This is good timing for another reason as well.  These issues were
> raised at the WMF Audit Committee meeting last week, and the WMF is
> considering what an endowment might look like.  Strong community
> support would speed that consideration.
> SJ
> --
> Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266
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