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Grants:PEG/Wikimedia New York City/2016 WikiConference USA scholarship program

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Wikimedia New York City/2016 WikiConference USA scholarship program
Wikimedia New York City will manage the scholarship program for WikiConference 2016.
targetEnglish Wikipedia
strategic priorityIncrease participation
start dateMay 1
start year2016
end dateOctober 31
end year2016
budget (local currency)40000
budget (USD)40000
grant typeOrganization
non-profit statusYes
organization• Wikimedia New York City
created on01:24, 10 November 2015 (UTC)


WikiConference USA 2016 will be convened in Seattle in August or September 2016.

Wikimedia New York City will manage the scholarship program for the conference.



  1. Plan a national Wikimedia conference for the United States and Canada
    1. Follow presentation model of the well-liked WikiConference 2014 in New York and WikiConference 2015 in DC
    2. See Grants:PEG/WM US-NYC/WikiConference USA 2014 for the 2014 WMF grant for this. The 2014 conference program is available.
    3. We were unable to negotiate any WMF funding for the 2015 event! See en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2015-10-14/Op-ed for an explanation of how Wiki Education Foundation funded this. Let's communicate better this time starting now! The 2015 conference program is available.
    4. This event will be on the scale of those events - ~300 attendees, 3 days, nice regional Wikipedia conference
    5. Volunteers manage programming, event hosting, and everything that typical nonprofit conferences ask of volunteers
  2. Wikimedia NYC with this grant will only manage the scholarship program. Other event duties will be divided as follows:
    1. Cascadia Wikimedians will host the conference in Seattle. They will apply for another WMF grant for conference expenses on the order of the past two years. They will do these things:
      1. select and reserve the venue
      2. do local in-person advertising
      3. provide on-the-ground volunteer staff support during the event, probably augmented by UW events staff
    2. Wikimedia DC will oversee programming including a range of stakeholders
    3. An event coordinator will provide paid staff to do accounting, manage legal agreements, and negotiate for necessary paid services from vendors. We are seeking sponsorship for these paid services. Our potential sponsors require that we provide proof of having a scholarship budget before they would commit to support further.
    4. There is room for any other stakeholders to join in planning. The easiest and most obvious opportunities are joining planning committees for submissions, scholarships, track planning, advertising, communication, or organizational partnerships. This is an inclusive event as always.
  3. Wikimedia NYC's specific activities for managing the scholarship program are as follow:
    1. WM NYC will be on point to establish a WikiConference 2016 scholarship committee
    2. Call for scholarship applications
    3. Grade them (There were 192 applications for the 2015 conference, and ~130 qualified for grading)
    4. New Turn over the scholarship list to a travel agency, who books travel for the top graded applicants and does accounting
    5. New Travel accounting done by travel agency instead of traditional wiki-way of crowdsourcing travel booking and accounting
    6. Not fewer than 30 people get travel scholarships to fly to conference and stay in the cheapest possible hostel


Target readership[edit]

  • English Wikipedia
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Wikidata
  • Other projects which interest Wikimedia contributors in the United States

Fit with strategy[edit]

  • Increase participation

Wikimedia contributors who have attended Wikimedia conferences in the past have found their participation to be meaningful for what they did at the conference and for the social connections they maintain beyond the event.

Measures of success[edit]

Scholarship recipients will be required to do the typical activities done by recipients of Wikimania or Wikimedia Conference scholarships.

Additionally, this grant will support the project metrics achieved by the larger WikiConference USA.

Here are program reports from previous conferences:

Resources and risks[edit]


  • Cascadia Wikimedians, the likely hosts of WikiConference 2016
  • Wikimedia New York City, the managers of this scholarship program
  • Wikimedia DC, who will support as they have in 2014 and 2015
  • Wiki Education Foundation did event management for the 2015 WikiConference, managing all roles which only paid staff should do. There was a bit of tension for the 2015 event because the Wikimedia community was unable to negotiate any funding for this conference from the WMF. The Wiki Edu Foundation is withholding comment about their engagement in a 2016 event. Getting a WMF opinion on the WMF's willingness to fund scholarships would greatly advance the conversation that the 2016 event organizers are having to secure participation commitments from Wiki Edu and other sponsors.


Risks to this grant are mitigated because this funding is not required immediately. Right now, we ask that the Wikimedia Foundation commit to fund this pending the following:

  • Confirmation of an event manager
  • Confirmation of the local organizing team
  • Confirmation of the venue reservation
  • Overall greenlighting of the program by all United States regional Wikimedia groups and partner organizations


Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here. See Budget Guidelines. Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table[edit]

  • 40,000 - travel and lodging for grant recipients
    • 5,000 will be fees to the travel agency which books this, effectively making 35,000 in travel scholarships
    • 20,000 will be the same scholarship funding used for the NYC and DC conferences
    • 15,000 will be for regional scholarships in Cascadia. This additional scholarship funding is necessary because the conference is in a metropolitan area 1/10 the size of the past two conferences. Particularly, this conference needs to fund group travel by bus from the nearby cities of Vancouver and Portland.

In 2014, 22,000 was the scholarship budget granted by the WMF for WikiConference USA in New York City. This conference will be in Seattle, a city with 1/10 of the population of New York, so an increase in scholarships funding from 2014 is requested, as more participants will need to travel.

In 2015 the scholarship budget was 20,000 for the conference in DC, organized with the Wiki Education Foundation.

The Wiki Education Foundation has an existing relationship with a travel agent in the United States and they will mentor WM NYC in using a travel agent to book trips for scholarship recipients, perhaps with their own travel agent

Total cost of project[edit]


Total amount requested[edit]


Additional sources of revenue[edit]

  • none for scholarships

Note that this WMF grant request is made in the context of other funding requests being made to the WMF and other sponsors. Presenting the conference will take another ~$50,000 for event costs, just as the conference consumed such resources in previous years and as is common for cheap nonprofit conferences in the United States.

Non-financial requirements[edit]

WM NYC would love for the Wikimedia Foundation to keep this money themselves and book with the WMF travel agent, or to send WM NYC to a travel agent chosen by the WMF so that the volunteers (we have no paid staff) never have to touch money. Everything in this proposal would be the same, and WM NYC would form the same scholarship committee and run the same scholarship program. At the end of it, when it comes time to pay the travel bill, either WM NYC would send money to a travel agent we find or otherwise we can give the travel request to the WMF and the WMF can turn over their money and the purchase order to anyone of their choosing. If the WMF uses their travel agent then there would be no uncertainty about the financial accounting, and volunteers could be left to do impact reporting rather than finance.

That aside - no, non-financial assistance is not required, and WM NYC is happy to manage travel through a travel agency that we choose, and collect and report the accounting records which are standard in the business travel industry.


Community notification[edit]

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