Grants:Project/MSIG/Researching a North American Hub

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WM DC/Researching a North American Hub
This research project seeks to surface the opportunities, needs, and priorities of community members in North America. The community members are keen to see if a coalition or federation can help address some of the challenges faced. Following this research, the community intends to decide on a shared plan for future engagements, perhaps by forming a long-term Hub, and to share the findings for other communities so that they can learn from it.
targetWikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, others
start dateApril 15
start year2023
end dateDecember 31
end year2023
budget (local currency)$25,000
budget (USD)$25,000
grant typeOrganization
organization (if applicable)Wikimedia District of Columbia

Applications are not required to be in English. Please complete the application in your preferred language.

Project Goal[edit]

What will be the outputs of your project and how will those outputs contribute to advancing a specific Movement Strategy Initiative

What specific Movement Strategy Initiative does your project focus on and why? Please select one of the initiatives described here
Regional and Thematic Hubs

Our goal is to identify opportunities and barriers to movement participants across the North American continent, in order to discuss and recommend service and support measures most useful to the community. A research-based assessment of the issues and challenges will serve as a basis for possibly initiating a U.S. and/or North American Hub as an effective support organization for communities, affiliates, and contributors.

The assessment will seek input from various Wikimedia communities on their perceived opportunities and challenges across the regions of the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Project Background[edit]

When do you intend to begin this project and when will it be completed?
April 15, 2023 – December 31, 2023
Where will your project activities be happening?
Research through virtual means will focus on the needs of North America: the U.S. Community, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Are you collaborating with other communities or affiliates on this project? Please provide details of how partners intend to work together to achieve the project goal.
The target communities of the project will include two formal U.S. chapters, Washington, DC and New York, and the dozens of on-wiki, thematic, and other affiliates of the country. We expect to gather input from Wikimedia Canada, Wikimedia Mexico, and Wikimedians of the Caribbean.
The effort will be guided and supported by an Advisory Committee composed of volunteers and affiliate representatives, who will serve to keep the project centered on community goals and shepherd the research grant and findings to its completion. The Advisory Committee will guide and advise one paid Wikimedia DC staff member who will be tasked with spending 20 hours per week handling logistical project management, communications, and documentation for the research phase. The Advisory Committee will be developed in phases. Phase One will consist of seeking a delegated representative from each existing North American Affiliate. The Phase One committee will then meet to review and nominate additional active North American Wikimedians to nominate to the committee, with an eye on achieving a Phase 2 committee with a goal of balanced and healthy geographic, demographic, and WikiProject diversity and inclusion.
In addition, the grantees and Advisory Committee will seek frequent counsel and advice through the course of the research phase from relevant WMF program staff and advisors, as well as from other Affiliates who have greater experience in Hubs research and planning.
What specific challenge will your project be aiming to solve? And what opportunities do you plan to take advantage of to solve the problem?
The challenges that this project aims to address are:
  • Growth: After the precarity of the COVID-19 pandemic and unstable funding for the last few years, the two small, volunteer-led U.S. chapters and many small affiliates in our region find themselves lacking the capacity, administrative support, and funding to support consistently effective participation and growth. As we recover and re-energize, it is an opportune moment to survey and assess the needs and opportunities across North America, with a goal of understanding what volunteer communities, chapters, affiliates, and partners need most to build long term sustainability.
  • Coordination: When participating in processes across the movement, the North American region faces major issues making coordinated or representative decisions. Lack of coordination and representation means it is not possible to have a coordinated conversation about what the movement means in each North American country or across the continent as a whole. We lack full information and consensus about what is needed in order to support grassroots efforts and institutional partners.
The opportunities that this project aspires to seize:
  • Movement Strategy: The ongoing Movement Strategy process provides an opportunity to reset and reframe the work of the various North American chapters, affiliates, and user groups. We see this as a chance to connect across our expansive geographic region, and to look for new approaches to coordinate and scale up our work in order to be more effective. This research will explore how to:
  1. Make it more feasible for chapters to sustain themselves, despite the challenges of running non-profit organizations with few paid human resources, e.g with expertise on tax and audit matters.
  2. Make it easier to get funding to hold events in North America, for example in areas with no active local affiliate, as in most of the U.S.
  3. Make it easier to sustain the annual conference, WikiConference North America
  4. Sponsor training, such as the recurring and successful GLAM boot camps.
  5. Share a common calendar of activities, some of which are online and accessible from across the continent
  6. Support conferences, workshops, and interpretation/translation with shared software subscriptions and experienced users.
  7. Take on larger, long-term partnerships and projects, for example with the Smithsonian Institution, DPLA, Internet Archive, and software development efforts such as WikiCite.
Does this project aim to apply one of the examples shared in the call for grants and if so which one?
Yes, the Hubs Research Grant example.

Project Activities[edit]

What specific activities will be carried out during this project? Please describe the specific activities that will be carried out during this project.
  1. Interview community members who run larger Wikimedia affiliates to add to our understanding of what is already visible through General Support Fund applications. These details may include deeper knowledge of project portfolios, staff distribution, staff titles, organizational charts, and operational budgets. We have done some of this informally already, but more structured interviews and documented feedback means that learnings can be shared more widely. The organizers of this proposal will commit to collecting feedback from people from at least 10 such affiliates or similar institutions.
  2. Collect information from a diverse set of US and North American affiliates as well as unaffiliated active Wikimedians by focus groups, interviews, and surveys, to get a sense of their needs and opportunities from collaboration. We have already identified many Wikimedians who have run Wikimedia events, governed Wikimedia affiliates, edited prolifically on Wikimedia projects, or developed software for Wikimedia projects. These are the people to interview, include in the smaller focus group discussions, and recruit for the Advisory Committee. They are overwhelmingly supportive so far, and we anticipate this outreach to go smoothly. We will also invite subscribers to wikimediaus-l and attendees to the monthly calls of of WALRUS (Wikimedians Active in Local Regions of the United States) and WCNA (Wikiconference North America) planning, so that they know the research project is interested in all their views. We can commit to collecting input from at least 40 North American Wikimedians. Several areas of likely cooperation have been established from past conversations.
  3. Collect information from our partner organizations to understand their interests and opportunities, and to get their advice. Such partners include GLAM institutions, scientific/professional associations, government institutions, any organization with Wikimedians in Residence, and partners in conferences or advocacy (such as OpenStreetMap and Internet Archive), and potentially also funding organizations. The research project will collect feedback from people from at least 10 such partners or similar institutions.
  4. Adapt to guidance from the Advisory Committee. Wikimedia DC will coordinate meetings of the Advisory Committee, which will have participation from across the US, and representatives from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean affiliates. User:Pharos (Richard Knipel) will be one chair of the Advisory Committee, and we can list other volunteers now or allow that to be worked out and stated in the coming weeks.
  5. Consult periodically over the course of the grant period with Wikimedia Foundation program officers and staff for advice, recommendations, and feedback, in order to ensure that survey instruments and outreach strategies are as effective as possible.
  6. Summarize the research findings in a publicly accessible report. We anticipate that most of the individuals who respond to focus groups or interviews will be willing to be named, which will help us follow up and build consensus. We will respect the confidentiality of respondents who request it, and include their input anonymously. Individual responses to surveys would be confidential.
  7. Advisory Committee members are welcome to report to the WMF or the public separately, for example if they think the project did not address their ambitions adequately, or the budget was not put to use well.


Partially following these two examples of previous grants: CEE Needs Research and Research into Regional Hubs, the research project will be carried out according to the following plan:
  1. Mapping out hub-like structures: The researchers will look into at least 2 previous experiments with structures similar to “hubs”, either locally (in the region), globally (in the Wikimedia Movement) or externally (outside the movement). Researchers will study past documentation, if any, and talk to at least one person from each structure, in order to learn from them what they did well and the challenges they have faced in the past.
  2. Defining needs and finding opportunities: The main step in the research will be about establishing how and why potential hub structures might serve the region, and to investigate the geographic scope that would best serve the movement: national, regional, continental, or other. Needs will be assessed via surveys, interviews, and brainstorming meetings with the various communities of the North America region, with a specific focus on diversity and underserved communities, such as those in areas geographically remote from affiliates. The needs would not only be assessed by directly asking about hubs, but also by inquiring into local problems and challenges overall. For each identified need, we shall try to envision whether and how a "hub" may meet that need.
  3. Defining relationships: As a part of the research stage, participants and interviewees will be also asked about the relationship they foresee between any proposed future “Hub” and existing structures. Some of the main questions will be about the relationship of the “Hub” to the local affiliates, the AffCom and the Foundation, and to find out how communities can be empowered by a strengthened network, and to hear from them what any fears or concerns might be. This will follow the steps to defining hubs that were mentioned in earlier discussions. Our goal is to make this an empowering opportunity for community members and organizations to advocate for their needs and what they seek from any potential hub or other network.
  4. Sharing recommendations: The collected data will be carefully analyzed to produce a final report with results and recommendations. The recommendations are expected to address the questions above and specify likely steps to move forward with the Hub project. The report is to be public.
How do you intend to keep communities updated on the progress and outcomes of the project? Please add the names or usernames of these individuals responsible for updating the community
  • The grant applicants will announce the grant request and the project, if funded, to our community on-wiki, in its planning stage, as well as if and when it is approved.
  • Open call for participation in surveys and interviews from Wikimedians in the region, including both those who are part of organized groups and who are unaffiliated. The goal is to see how the hubs may be able to support them to organize into groups, or to simply see how the hubs may be able to support them as individual contributors . Participants would be informed through the following channels of the region, including mailing lists, on Wiki, and via WALRUS meetings and the WCNA Telegram group.
  • Target outreach and interviews with affiliate leaders (board members and executive staff).
  • Make informal presentations, at WALRUS meetings for example, and listen to feedback. This will help shape the proposals and identify where consensus is likely.
  • Gather input at Wikimania 2023. We may be able to make a substantial presentation, or perhaps just a lightning talk. We expect to be able to draft findings and proposals and hear back from a broad audience.
  • The emerging results and recommendations for next steps with the local communities with be shared, and further feedback sought, at WikiConference North America in the fall of 2023.
  • The final report of the research project will be shared through these regional channels: online village pumps, mailing lists, WALRUS, and WCNA.
  • The conclusions and recommendations from the research report will inform the next step, for example moving from a research phase to an implementation planning phase, though this depends on the results and findings from the research phase.
  • Communication will be coordinated by Ariel Cetrone, Institutional Partnerships Manager, Wikimedia DC (staff) with the support of Peter Meyer, Wikimedia DC (volunteer) and other Wikimedia DC and Wikimedia NYC volunteers
Who will be responsible for delivering on this project and what are their roles and responsibilities?
The project will be led by Wikimedia DC, the fiscal sponsor, in close collaboration with affiliates and the New York regional chapter, with each party serving the following roles:
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: Logistics, including the grant processing, distribution and reporting, as well as the support of meetings and documentation.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: Data collection, including the interviews, surveys and discussions during which the research will be conducted.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers; Wikimedia NYC Volunteers: Data analysis, including review, clean up and sense-making of the results.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: The design, plan and final report of the research project will be implemented by Wikimedia DC.
  • User:Pharos (Richard Knipel) will be [one/the] chair of the Advisory Committee

Additional information[edit]

If your activities include community discussions, what is your plan for ensuring that the conversations are productive? Provide a link to a Friendly Space Policy or UCoC that will be implemented to support these discussions.
Wikimedia DC’s programs manager, Ariel Cetrone, is an experienced non-profit administrator with experience facilitating collaborative brainstorming, decision-making, project management, and reporting.
The North American WikiConference agreed on a Safe Space policy for its 2022 conference, and this applies: wikiconference:2022/Safe_Space_Policy
  • The WMF’s Universal Code of Conduct applies.
Likely candidates for roles on the Advisory Committee, focus groups, and interviewees are listed in a separate document not included in the grant in the interest of their privacy; they have not consented to have their names used or to participate.
If your activities include the use of paid online tools, please describe what tools these are and how you intend to use them.
We will use the following tools:
  • Zoom: We will use a pro version of Zoom to hold multiple small conversations in a single meeting, and we can later convene together to discuss the results.
  • Quirkos: We will use Quirkos to support the qualitative analysis and visualization of the data from the research.
  • If online oral interpretation is required we may again use Kudo and Tlatolli Ollin services as we did for WCNA.
  • Other software to be added as needed
Do your activities include the translation of materials, and if so, in what languages will the translation be done? Please include details of those responsible for making the translations.
Yes, selected surveys and other materials, such as the final report will be translated into Canadian French and Spanish (see budget).
Are there any other details you would like to share? Consider providing rationale, research or community discussion outputs, and any other similar information, that will give more context on your proposed project.
For many months, conversations about the desirability of a North American Hub has been percolating through the community. This grant represents the first formal step in understanding and evaluating the needs of the community, and in documenting and sharing those findings with the broader movement.


After your activities are complete, we would like to understand the draft implementation plan for your community. You will be required to prepare a document detailing this plan around a movement strategy initiative. This report can be prepared through Meta-wiki using the Share your results button on this page. The report can be prepared in your language, and is not required to be written in English.

In this report, you will be asked to:

  • Provide a link to the draft implementation plan document or Wikimedia page
  • Describe what activities supported the development of the plan
  • Describe how and where you have communicated your plan to relevant communities.
  • Report on how your funding was spent

Your draft implementation plan document should address the following questions clearly:

  • What movement strategy initiative or goal are you addressing?
  • What activities will you be doing to address that initiative?
  • What do you expect will happen as a result of your activities? How do those outcomes address the movement strategy initiative?
  • How will you measure or evaluate your activities? What tools or methods will you use to evaluate your activities?

To create a draft implementation plan, we recommend the use of a logic model, which will help you and your team think about goals, activities, outcomes, and other factors in an organized way. Please refer the following resources to develop a logic model:

Please confirm below that you will be able to prepare a draft implementation plan document by the end of your grant:

  • Confirmed that the final report will include documentation to describe recommendations for a next step implementation process based on the research findings.

Optionally, you are welcome to include other information you'd like to share around participation and representation in your activities. Please include any additional outcomes you would like to report on below:


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

The staff hours listed are considered to be a fairly accurate estimate, but we will coordinate with MWF/MSIG and our Advisory Committee in practice throughout the grant period to ensure that we stay on target. Per review committee feedback, we have extended the grant period (April 15–December 31, 2023) in order to include greater time for feedback and avoid research being performed wholly during the North American summer. All paid staff hours will be to support Wikimedia DC staff member Ariel Cetrone, who will perform much of the logistical coordination and project management on behalf of the volunteers. Ariel will lead the coordinated effort across North American Wikimedians and affiliates and serve as a point person for communications, documentation, and project management. The 645 total hours of Ariel's salary represents about 20 hours per week, of 50% of her time as an employee, during the 8.5 month period of the grant. We feel this schedule should allow her to continue her chapter business, including trainings and contracts, while also allowing her to give a priority of focus to overseeing the execution of the North American Hubs research effort.
Project Budget
Cost per unit Unit Amount Total cost
Research planning and preparation $35/hour Staff hours - Ariel Cetrone 165 hours $5,750
Research, focus groups, interviews, questionnaires $35/hour Staff hours - Ariel Cetrone 320 hours $11,200
Documentation and sharing $35/hour Staff hours - Ariel Cetrone 160 hours $5,600
Translation and interpretation for accessibility – questionnaires, surveys, meetings $25/hour Translator/interpreter contract hours 40 hours $1,000
Chapter overhead, including chapter administrative fees and software (survey tools, Zoom, publishing, mailings) 5% Administrative overhead $1,450
TOTAL $25,000
Who will be responsible for delivering on this project and what are their roles and responsibilities?
The project will be led by Wikimedia DC, the fiscal sponsor, in close collaboration with affiliates and the New York regional chapter, with each party serving the following roles:
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: Logistics, including the grant processing, distribution and reporting, as well as the support of meetings and documentation.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: Data collection, including the interviews, surveys and discussions during which the research will be conducted.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers; Wikimedia NYC Volunteers: Data analysis, including review, clean up and sense-making of the results.
  • Wikimedia DC Staff and Volunteers: The design, plan and final report of the research project will be implemented by Wikimedia DC.
  • User:Pharos (Richard Knipel) will be [one/the] chair of the Advisory Committee

Completing your application[edit]

Once you have completed the application, please do the following:

  • Change the application status from status=draft to status=proposed in the {{Probox}} template.
  • Contact strategy2030(_AT_) to confirm your submission, as well as to request any support around your application.


An endorsement from community members (especially from outside your community) will be part of the considerations when reviewing your application. Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  • This would be a big help for Wikimedia Medicine and Wikimedia LGBT+ activities in the region. I participate in both of those groups as well as US-regionally activities. Bluerasberry (talk) 14:28, 7 March 2023 (UTC)