Community Resources/COVID-19 Update on Wikimedia conference grants

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This email was sent to all conference grant recipients on 24 March 2020. For further information and updates, see COVID-19.

Hi all,

I’m writing to you as applicants and recipients of funding for Wikimedia movement conferences scheduled or planned before December 2020. You will not be surprised to learn that we are making some changes to our support for movement conferences during the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic. (More information available from the World Health Organization and on Wikipedia)

Two weeks ago, I sent all Project, Rapid, and Annual Plan grantees a request to cancel or reschedule all public programs, and last week, we canceled Wikimania. Today, I want to provide clarity for recipients of conference grants.

Cancelling or postponing events: next steps[edit]

We are asking all grantees with previously-approved and funded conferences to postpone or cancel their conference until the World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 pandemic over.

We recognize that you have already put a lot of effort into organizing and planning your conference. However, our first priority is the health and safety of you, your Wikimedia community, and the general public. We thank you for modeling social responsibility and leadership by postponing your event.  

Global public health guidance indicates that the more quickly the world responds to a pandemic, the better off the outcomes. In order to safeguard free knowledge, we must also prioritize the well-being of the people who make it possible.

To facilitate postponing the events and rescheduling them to a date after 15 September 2020, we ask the following:

  1. Gather the data regarding all prepaid expenses, and report on any unused funds. Any incurred costs due to cancellations will not be deducted from your total grant. In due time, we will review any increase requests on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Determining the new event date should be done in collaboration with your program officer (Chen Almog, calmog(_AT_)wikimedia.org) to ensure your new event date does not overlap with other movement events or other potential constraints.
  3. Please hold the grant funds until they can be repurposed to cover the rescheduled event. Those funds should not be repurposed to accommodate any other activity without your program officer’s approval.
  4. If you have a proposal for repurposing the grant funds that is different than simply postponing your event, please discuss this with your program officer.
  5. Our hope is that we will have better insight into the future by June. We will reach out to you by June 30th to revisit the situation. Please feel free to reach out if you think you are ready to discuss this earlier.
  6. If you wish to cancel your proposed event, we ask you to communicate this to us soon so we can specifically work with you on returning the funds to the Wikimedia Foundation for other use.

Thank you[edit]

We know how important it is to support one another and keep our communities connected right now. We also know how important it is that you are able to take care of yourself, your family, and other aspects of your life. If you want to continue planning Wikimedia activities appropriate for this moment (such as online, distributed events), we support you. Hosting online events will be new for many of us, but we have already seen Wikimedians around the world working on new approaches. We encourage you to connect with them, and review this growing collection of resources on Meta-Wiki.

We also recognize some people may need to pause in their volunteer efforts in order to take care of those around them. That’s also okay. You should not feel pressure to redesign your activities in order to meet previous goals. There is no penalty for canceling.

Your program officer can work with you to discuss any ideas or answer questions, so please reach out to us if you would like to talk. We’ll also keep sharing more information and resources in the coming weeks via usual community channels and this Meta-Wiki page: COVID-19

We are all here to support you and your communities right now. If you have any questions about this email or your grant, please contact your program manager, or send an email to eventsteam(_AT_)wikimedia.org.

Stay safe and take care!

With thanks,
Katherine Maher - Chief Executive Officer,
Janeen Uzzell - Chief Operating Officer,
Joël Letang - Events Team Manager