Hi Lila,

There are some governance red flags that need your attention before
signing up to a N * $100,000,000 endowment plan than will last for a
thousand years...

1. The board is not fully elected. It is unlikely in the current
environment for a board for an endowment trust to have a majority of
elected trustees. This means that choices of when and how the
endowment is invested in years to come might be on projects or
organizations that would never be approved of by the volunteer
community of Wikimedians, and volunteer trustees could be outvoted on
every key decision.

2. The WMF struggles to become convincingly transparent or
accountable. As a simple to fix example, long term Wikimedians are
denied access to reports that the WMF (i.e. you) holds about them;
circumstances that would be unlawful in Europe.

3. There is huge potential for a financial scandal. The WMF does not
have policies or procedures in place to ensure that investment on this
scale can be handled well, year after year. These types of fiscal
controls are entirely different from handing and reporting on a $100m
cash flow.

4. With an endowment scheme in place, the WMF would be naturally
*less* accountable to Wikimedians for its actions each year. There
would be less incentive to answer questions, less incentive to
established a community consensus for the annual strategy and less
incentive to put volunteers at the center of decision making.
Similarly there would be less incentive for the WMF to attempt to
repair declining numbers of contributors to its on-line projects, or
ensure that issues such as gender disparity or on-line harassment are
targeted for investment. At the current time I cannot imagine how any
system would ensure this was not an inevitable consequence in a
volunteer based organization. I have no prior examples of
volunteer-centric organizations where this has worked well.

As the CEO, it would be helpful for you to spell out in a public
recommendation to your board the good governance practices and core
competences that would have to be established and tested before
proceeding to put money into a massive long term endowment scheme.


On 30 November 2015 at 17:27, Lila Tretikov <l...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Lisa,
> Thank you for sharing these exciting news and all the work the team has
> completed so far.  I know I have spoken with many of our community members
> in the past about this important milestone in protecting our community's
> work long-term. I am looking forward to hearing more from everyone as we
> make this real.
> Lila
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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