Community Resources/Grants Strategy Relaunch 2020-2021/How will this affect me?

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How will this affect me?

How will this process and changes to our current grant programs affect you or your organization? Below, you will find some guidance on what to expect. This guidance is split into two parts:

An important goal in this transition process is to ensure that you understand how you will be able to apply for and receive funding, how this transition will affect your current grants, and what new opportunities and resources will be available to you. Furthermore, because this transition process uses an iterative approach, we are open to and expect to make adjustments to the proposal to support your needs.


Information on specific grant programs[edit]

For each proposed grant program, we provide a conceptual framework and initial guidance related to what needs the funding will support:

  • Scope of Proposals: What kinds of programmatic work will this grant program support?
  • Considerations: An overview of initial concepts for each grant program.
  • Relation to current grant program: How does this relate to the Wikimedia Foundation’s current grant programs?

Grant Program Focus Area: More Sustainable, Healthy and Diverse Global Movement[edit]

Most current grantees would fall into this program, which will distribute the largest portion of grants funds, estimated at least 80% of the grants budget. We plan to clarify pathways for growth for those who desire them, including opportunities for funding staff and capacity building. We will have a proactive strategy for inviting new and diverse communities into the movement.

Scope of Proposals Initial Considerations Relation to current grant programs
Short-term project and program activities, such as local edit-a-thons, contests, and workshops.
  • Alignment with strategic direction
  • Applications open throughout the year
  • 1-2 month review time
  • Entry of level of funding will remain at 500$
  • Paid time for organizing/coordination
  • For individuals or groups
  • Grantees will report on spending and maintain receipts, but will no longer be required to scan and send receipts to the Foundation.
  • Most activities that are currently supported by Rapid Grants
  • New types of short-term programs are welcome
Long-term projects, programs and activities, such as annual plans or regularly occurring international campaigns
  • Alignment with the strategic direction
  • Support for affiliates at all levels of maturity (including newer user groups and chapters)
  • Support for other informal groups working on wiki projects.
  • Clear pathways to desired growth or sustainability
  • Funding amounts based on:
    • scope of impact
    • level of experience with managing funds
  • General support funding
  • Funding of staff
  • Multi-year funding possible
  • Simple Annual Plan Grants
  • Annual Plan Grants
  • Project Grants online/offline
  • Global campaigns

Grant Program Focus Area: Stronger Free Knowledge Ecosystem[edit]

This program will help amplify and grow the network in emerging communities by working with mission-aligned organizations. It is estimated that this would make up approximately 10% of the overall grants budget. This is primarily a new category of grant funding, although a few current Project Grant recipients from mission-aligned organizations would fall into it. We will work closely with communities to adapt the program to their contexts.

Scope of Proposals Initial Considerations Relation to current grant programs
Increase local awareness and readership through collaboration with mission-aligned organizations in emerging communities.
  • Mission aligned organization in an emerging community
  • Not the largest, or sole donor for the organization
  • Connected with local affiliate where applicable
    • e.g. Open Street Maps
  • A small number of partners are supported by Project Grants.
  • This is a primarily new category of funding to help amplify and grow the network in emerging communities.
Engagement with diverse content, increase local collaboration
  • Mission-aligned organizations in emerging communities that have a track record in grants, are engaged with an active community or an active project.
    • e.g. Libraries without Borders
  • New area of support for mission-aligned organizations who can offer expertise or resources in content areas that are new or difficult to develop.
Support initiatives that will lead to a sustainable, healthy and diverse global movement
  • New partners to engage in active support to build sustainable engagement by providing infrastructure, developing capacity.
    • e.g. Organizations focused on digital literacy
  • Funding for these activities aims to offer support that goes beyond developing content.
  • It aims to introduce skills, infrastructure and agency among the community members.

Grant Program Focus Area: Improved Technology, Tools, and Research to Respond to Wikimedia Needs[edit]

Software and research grantees funded through the current Project Grants program would be moved into a dedicated new program focused on technical grants. This will allow for more coherent and tailored support for technical grantees. The scope of this new program will be clearly defined, with specific criteria to be established. The budget for this program focus will modestly increase from current spending levels, at approximately 10% of the overall grants budget.

Scope of Proposals Initial Considerations Relation to current grant programs

Proposals primarily focused on software development

  • Iterative process with an initial scope for software grants that will evolve over time
  • Focus on tools which can be used by multiple language wikis.
  • Collaborate with the Wishlist team to identify projects that community developers could focus and collaborate on.
  • Exploratory projects and proof of concepts to test new ideas should be given consideration in addition to "production ready" ideas
  • Further thinking is needed to define requirements for long term sustainability as deployed software always has longer term maintenance needs
  • Dedicated committee to evaluate software grants
  • Multi-year funding
Project Grants for software grant recipients

Proposals primarily focused on research with a clear use-case in mind

  • Prioritization of proposals by researchers in emerging communities with more limited alternative resources for funding and when there is an active local or global community interested in operationalizing the research findings
  • Prioritization of proposals by researchers on high priority open questions that the community of editors, organizers, or developers face
  • Prioritization of research proposals that include active (and when relevant local) volunteer organizers, editors, or developers
  • Dedicated committee to evaluate research grants
  • Multi-year funding
Project Grants for research grant recipients

Broader considerations for implementation[edit]

Participatory decision making: Decentralization and power sharing[edit]

We are fully committed to the idea of decentralization and power sharing through participatory decision-making processes. We will review our eligibility criteria to determine what needs to be maintained (such as good community standing and commitment to the Universal Code of Conduct (UCOC), and what can become more flexible. To increase power sharing, we want to work towards guiding principles for grant programs that allow committees the flexibility needed to adapt to the realistic and adapted needs of community members to achieve their goals.

Regional and thematic committees[edit]

The strategic direction moves us towards a regional focus. Regional and thematic committees will be created that aim to account for the full complexities of the world and the movement. And that recognizes the diversity in programming, cultures and languages within regions and globally. Committee composition will be a key conversation during the implementation phase.

Budget[edit]

We will request an overall increase in the available budget based on the estimated needs to support the proposed strategy in its first year. We do not have the exact budget yet, but we are working on a request this quarter as we enter the Foundation’s annual planning process.

We have a strong commitment to equitable funding distribution. We will increase investment in emerging communities. We will make access to funding more flexible across all programs by adopting a less conservative risk policy.