Dear members of the WMF Board of Trustees,

I’ve been following the recent events silently - from the voting out of
James Heilman, to the unfortunate timing of recruiting Arnnon Geshuri and
the lack of clear, timely communication around WMF strategy in in general
and specifically around the so-called “Knowledge Engine” grant, received by
the Knight Foundation.

Even more alarming to me, is the slew of exceptional community-facing
employees who left (or are leaving) the Foundation, accompanied by muffled
sounds of discontent from staying Foundation employees.

I’m breaking my silence because I’m very concerned. My concerns stem from
my past experiences with facilitating strategic changes and my experience
in grantmaking - both in and outside of the Movement.

I’m concerned because it’s evident that the Foundation is undergoing a
deep, strategic change. But this change is not accompanied by the required
transparency, honesty and accountability required by the Foundation in
order to truly transform in a way that's beneficial for the organization
and its community.

I’m concerned, because while the “Knowledge Engine” grant provides only a
specific example, it underlines a larger picture that is disturbing:
concealment (rather than openness) as a default, lack of consultation with
the community and weak, general communication around important matters only
after bad press. I also suspect that the vocal members of the community are
right, and that a $250K grant is not the issue, but it part of a bigger
move that will require significantly more resources for the Foundation to

Lastly, I’m concerned because all this stirs no clear communication from
the Board of Trustees. A Board of Trustees implies there should be trust
between the Board and its constituents. I suspect this isn’t the case

If any APG-receiving affiliate conducted itself in such a non transparent,
dishonest manner and with lack of clear, timely communication with its
community and stakeholders, it would get seriously reprimanded by the
Foundation: its board audited, its budget cut, etc. Expecting the
Foundation to be held to a lower standard than any of its worldwide
affiliates is just hypocritical.

I urge the Board of Trustees - Don’t forget that the community of
volunteers and affiliates is a major stakeholder of the Wikimedia
Foundation - and many of us are concerned. I think the community deserves
to better understand where the Wikimedia Foundation is going, and get
honest answers about the changes in the organization, for us to be trusting
again. Please start communicating clearly about those topics.

With utmost respect,

Ido (AKA AlleyCat80)

Board Member, WMIL

Member, Simple APG & GAC.
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