Dear friends and colleagues, fellow adventurers on the Wikimedia journey -

Goodbyes are overrated.[1] But since I’m sure this will be au revoir, I’ll
continue: I am leaving the Foundation as head of the Grantmaking
department, at the end of March. This was not an easy decision to make;
this is not an easy email to write.

As some of you know, I have been battling health issues over the past few
months. I’ve learnt sharp and intimate truths about myself as I’ve worked
to get better, and what I’ve kept coming back to is the compassionate but
fierce feminist slogan around self-care and sustainability: ‘what’s the
point of the revolution if we can’t dance?’[2] To reassure you all, I will
be well,[3] but I need a little time and space to focus on getting my
dancing legs strong again.

That said, I am pleased that we have a really solid plan in place as I
leave. As Lila’s email announced, Luis Villa (our current Deputy General
Counsel) will be taking over the team effective immediately, and leading
the organisation further in our support of Wikimedia communities worldwide.
Luis brings with him a range of skills and qualities that I know will stand
him, the team, and the movement in wonderful stead through it all. As a
friend and colleague, I am so delighted to be supporting Luis through the
next few weeks of transition.

I joined the Foundation in July 2012 to oversee and implement the FDC
process. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of creating and leading a
department of more than twenty remarkable and passionate people who care
about our mission, our communities, and the resources needed to match the

We went from Asaf managing a small grants portfolio on his own, ably
supported on occasion by Winifred, to a fully fledged grantmaking
department with a spectrum of monetary and non-monetary resources. We have
been able to offer these in different ways to different parts of our
movement: to individual volunteers with great ideas in need of project
management, to small groups experimenting with new initiatives, and to
established organisations who form critical content and policy partnerships
in their local contexts. We built an infrastructure for understanding our
collective impact. We learned together about what our different communities
are doing globally, about the successes and challenges we have, and above
all: about how we can, together, create a more powerful set of outcomes for
free knowledge.

In doing so, I’ve had the joy of discovery,[4] of learning from and with
some of the most dedicated volunteers in the world, who believe that
knowledge matters. Most importantly, that it’s not only free knowledge
_for_ all that we seek, but even more critically, that we believe in
knowledge _from_ and _with_ all.

And I’ve discovered that the nerdy, geeky, obsessed-with-data part of me
found a home in this extraordinary universe, where everybody’s “unimaginable,
magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds” can find expression.[5] I
look forward to the day when my worlds find more space on Wikipedia, when
80% of the globe is represented by far more than 20% of the edits, when
much more than 15% of our contributors can self-identify as women. Till
then, I’ll keep fighting notability one article at a time...[6]

So thank you for sharing your worlds with me, and no thanks for turning me
into an obsessive Wikimedian. :-) As I have learnt with you, I know I have
done so with trust, and as I have challenged you, I hope I have done so
with respect. I look forward to continuing our friendships and obsessions
on a wiki near you.

With appreciation and gratitude,


p.s. You can find me in the future at my enWP user page (User:Anasuyas or (dare I say it) on
Facebook. Longer diatribes on liff, the universe and everything can be sent

[1] Neil Gaiman, American Gods (Chapter 8)

[2] Urgent Action Fund, a funder of women’s human rights defenders, has
this book on sustainability:

[3] And look forward to dancing together on the beaches of a future

[4] Sometimes frustrating, sometimes unbelievable, sometimes somewhat
insane; but yes mostly, generous beyond belief, and always, joyous. :-)

[5] More Neil Gaiman, from The Sandman:

Ask Florence (User:Anthere) for _that_ story!

On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 2:15 PM, Lila Tretikov <> wrote:

> Dear Wikimedians,
> Among the WMF’s top priorities for 2015 is strengthening our engagement
> with Wikimedia editors and volunteers. Today we are taking the first step
> by bringing together the people who know our communities best and asking
> them to break barriers and improve engagement. Everyone at the WMF who
> carries responsibilities directly related to the communities will join a
> new Community Engagement department.
> I have asked Luis Villa to lead the Community Engagement organization as
> the Senior Director of Community Engagement, reporting to me. Promoting
> from within the WMF for this critical role will allow us to leverage the
> knowledge and experience with our communities and reinforce the strengths
> of our people.
> Luis’s experience with communities is lengthy and deep. He has been
> involved in open communities since the late 1990s, from communities as
> small as the Lego Mindstorms hackers to those as large as Mozilla. He
> worked in open communities as a lawyer, a programmer, a bugmaster, an
> engineering lead, a community leader, and a board member. Luis has
> performed exceptionally within the Foundation and supported some of our
> most fruitful community engagements. The Grantmaking, L&E, Education,
> Community Advocacy and Community Liaisons teams will join the new Community
> Engagement department [2] under his leadership.
> Unfortunately, Anasuya Sengupta -- our beloved leader of grantmaking --
> will be leaving us due to personal health concerns at the end of March. We
> will invite you soon to celebrate her time with us, her work at the WMF and
> the deep insight she brought to the Foundation. We are saddened to see her
> go. The team she has nurtured will provide an important foundation for our
> upcoming work.
> Siko Bouterse will move up to lead  the day-to-day work of the Grantmaking
> team as Director of Community Resources, supervising all department Grant
> programs and the Global South strategy. Siko has been instrumental in
> innovating programs at the WMF, including initiatives like the Teahouse[1]
> and the IdeaLab[2] combining vision with strong support for volunteer
> community, tough decision making, and great project management skills.
> These changes are an opportunity to improve the coordination of our work
> supporting the communities. To accelerate this, I have asked Luis to lead
> an internal “tiger” team to better understand the needs, concerns and
> priorities of our volunteers, and to develop recommendations for future
> programs. This work will be shared with all of you as it becomes available.
> Please join me in congratulating Luis and Siko and in supporting our
> teams. The Wikimedia communities are what makes the projects strong,
> unique, and irreplaceable. This is the next step forward in our support to
> them, and in service of our mission.
> ~~~~Lila
> [1] As Director of Community Resources, Siko will oversee the IdeaLab,
> Annual Plan Grants, Project and Event Grants, and Travel and Participation
> Support. Her team will include Katy Love, Winifred Olliff, Alex Wang,
> Janice Tud, Jonathan Morgan, and Asaf Bartov. Asaf will also take on a new
> title as Senior Program Officer, Emerging Wikimedia Communities.
> [2] Rachel DiCerbo, Philippe Beaudette, Siko, and Anasuya’s other direct
> reports, and their respective teams (CL, CA, and Grantmaking/GLEE) will
> report to Luis. The Engineering Community team will be part of the tiger
> team but will continue to report to Engineering.
> [3]
> [4]
> _______________________________________________
> Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately
> directed to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia
> community. For more information about Wikimedia-l:
> _______________________________________________
> WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list


*Anasuya SenguptaSenior Director of GrantmakingWikimedia Foundation*

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!
Support Wikimedia <>
Please note: all replies sent to this mailing list will be immediately directed 
to Wikimedia-l, the public mailing list of the Wikimedia community. For more 
information about Wikimedia-l:
WikimediaAnnounce-l mailing list

Reply via email to