Grants talk:PEG/WM US-DC/Bootstrapping grant

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First, I'd like to congratulate to all members of the society for the approval of WMDC! Probably that's why I expected this application and most of the items listed are not strange to me. My attention is mainly focused on the domains that you'd like to ask for an allowance to use. Do you need all of them in accordance with the regulations and laws? And do you feel comfortable to deal with all of them in the same time? Most of the existing chapters use only X.wikimedia.org and wikimedia.X. Best regards.--Kiril Simeonovski 17:34, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

We already use all these domains, since ~April/May -- wikidc.org before we're a chapter and it will still redirect to wikimediadc.org (and can be a short url). We have and prefer full control and flexibility to add subdomains like blog.wikimediadc.org, mail.wikimediadc.org, etc. We obviously can't do wikimedia.dc (does that exist?) We also want to have wikimediadc.org/com simply to prevent domain name squatters.
wikimania2012.org/com redirects to wikimania2012.wikimedia.org, both to prevent domain name squatters! and as a shorter, easier to remember url.
If these expenses are a problem, then I may be willing to just pay them out-of-pocket, but these and other out-of-pocket expenses do add up to a significant amount. Cheers. Aude 22:14, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
The domain names have already been purchased, and it provides good brand protection (i.e., it prevents squatting) for both Wikimedia DC and Wikimedia as a whole for a fairly low cost. As the treasurer I see no problem in reimbursing Aude for the domain names. harej 06:10, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you guys for clearing it up. Best.--Kiril Simeonovski 10:25, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
  • First of all, Congratulations to you people :) I have a question - that might be a dumb one, I admit, since I have almost no clue about USA laws - but do you people need a registered agent by law, or are only trying to protect WMDC? The question is the same for the D&O insurance. Béria Lima msg 08:56, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
    • A registered agent is required by law; it need not necessarily be a professional RA service, but that would be the best solution. Currently our registered agent is one of our directors. The problem with this is that she has a day job, and in the exceedingly rare event that Wikimedia DC is brought to court, she wouldn't be able to receive the subpoena on our behalf. This can be solved by outsourcing it to a company that will do the job of accepting official notification for us. The Wikimedia Foundation does the same exact thing; their RA on file is some professional services company in Los Angeles. As for the insurance, it is a particularly good idea in the event the Board of Directors is sued for anything, including Wikimania. Two thousand dollars is much cheaper than the damages and court/attorney fees usually paid in an American lawsuit. harej 17:15, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Are you going to have your own sources of income, or just be based on WMF money only? I am also curious about the question regarding insurance. This is almost 50% of the proposal cost. Why is it necessary? Polimerek 11:35, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
    • We are working on our own fundraising plans. This grant proposal is to cover us in our first year while we work out the details of this plan. See above for my explanation for the insurance. harej 17:15, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
      • Organizing Wikimania is our biggest project for this year and is mostly, if not solely funded through sponsorships and registration fees. I expect we'll seek other grant sources, sponsorships and partnerships for projects and events, and donations outside of WMF annual fundraiser (though we hope to get a fair share from the annual fundraiser too). Until we obtain 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, however, we are ineligible for many grant opportunities and the incentive is less for people to donate to us. This grant and any other WMF support in the interim will help us get to the point where we can diversify our financial support. Cheers. Aude 18:30, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

A Quick Question[edit]

Hi there. I have a quick question regarding "IRS Form 1023". Does the fact that it has not yet been filed mean that the chapter is not formally recognised under US law as a non-profit? Is there any chance of this form being submitted and the application being rejected? If that happens, is the amount refunded or lost forever? Has the chapter taken any steps, or will you take any steps, to make sure that these procedural steps go as expected with no nasty surprises? Craig Franklin 12:30, 14 September 2011 (UTC).

We are not formally recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity yet. If our application is outright rejected, they return the check. The preparation of the application is very extensive; we have been working on this since June and are waiting until we know our application will be accepted. (This is also why we're seeking Foundation assistance for the filing.) harej 05:45, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like you've got everything under control then. Happy to recommend to GAC that this goes ahead! Craig Franklin 12:25, 15 September 2011 (UTC).

Program work?[edit]

Thank you for this detailed request. I am wondering if Wikimedia DC plans no program work between now and Wikimania 2012. Admittedly, Wikimania will suck up most of your time until then, but precisely because you are few, it seems to me advisable to try to pull off some outreach activity in the DC area in the coming couple of months, in the hope of attracting some new volunteers for the chapter (and, of course, the online projects) as you go into tunnel-vision mode for Wikimania starting, say, Jan-Feb. I would love to see (and fund) some program items in this grant request too. Ijon 22:31, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

We will be continuing to meet regularly and hold outreach activities in the area. October 8 for instance is our trip to the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. As it turns out, these don't actually cost a lot of money. harej 10:22, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm preparing the Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Budget as we speak. As it were, several thousand dollars is dedicated toward events, but the plan is not to raise them through a Wikimedia grant but through other means. It looks good to the Internal Revenue Service if we diversify our sources of income as much as possible since we'll also be receiving $100,000 for Wikimania. This is such a huge amount of money, relative to the amount that Wikimedia DC would normally work with, that it would make us look like a private foundation funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is bad. harej 12:16, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Per Harej's suggestion, yes diversifying funding is important. A component of the grant is that WMF help us or find additional pro-bono (or not) legal / financial advice to advise us on our IRS application. We do have legal people in our chapter, but I'd like a second opinion and really be sure we're doing things right.
Also, this raising a broader concern that might impact other chapters too .... receiving donations via the fundraiser (e.g. broad financial support) versus a big grant might impact charity status for chapters??? Is there possibly a way that we can get some [smallish] cut of the fundraiser in a way that it's considered donations for us? versus a grant? I really don't know the answer but would love to find a solution. I'm also happy for us to seek other funding sources too, as much as possible, though that may take more time. Cheers. Aude 12:46, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

[Edit conflict!]

We are in process of drafting a budget for the next year's activities, which include numerous outreach programs. These include:
  1. For our outreach and activities at the National Archives, we can use some funding to cover cost of providing lunch so people can stay all day. (see Grants:GLAM NARA/Events fund which could be rolled into this grant, if you prefer?) At NARA's College Park, Maryland location, the cafeteria is closed on Saturdays and there's nowhere to eat right nearby, so ordering pizza is the way to go.
  2. We're also running a Library Lab project at our main public library and definitely could use support, though still figuring out exactly what that might be. The lab is a "hackspace for knowledge" where people can come and work on projects, help with digitizing special collections items (photos), run workshops and events, and potentially much more. I don't know if it would be something that WMF would help fund, but I think the library lab project might be most successful if we had 1-2 interns (with a smallish stipend for their time) who could reliably be there a substantial amount of time, so the lab could have longer hours? The lab has strong potential to get us more involved with the community, bring in new people and increase diversity, and if successful could be a long-term project with diverse funding support.
  3. Run a Hackathon(s), as part of our Library Lab project... that would require us to provide some food, but we would love to run a GLAM-Wiki Hackathon maybe in early December, especially if GLAMCamp-NL does not happen then. DC has a very strong tech community with good participation in hackathon type events. We may also run a hackathon related to accessibility technologies (including MediaWiki hacking?) in late October, as the library has a strong accessibility program and folks.
  4. There's also our outreach with the Smithsonian. which Sarah Stierch is leading. I'm not sure what she needs to better do her work but can ask. She is attending MCN Conference in November.
  5. We also are running events in Baltimore, including meetups in July and tentatively planning Wikis Take Baltimore, perhaps in early November. Not sure if this has much of a budget.
  6. There's also the Global Education Program, and not sure if Sadads or Pongr need anything?
  7. Microgrants is another idea we had, like what the UK chapter does, so we can help cover small things like gas to travel to West Virginia to run a meetup or event (in the pipeline) or pizzas for events. Maybe a few thousand dollars to help with this over the next year? Maybe more if we want it to include helping our members attend conferences, like MCN?
  8. Travel - we'd like to send 2 of our board members to the chapters meeting in the spring; to GLAM Camp NL if it happens; Also, ~2 of us ought to come out to SF at least once to visit with WMF staff and work on Wikimania planning / get advice.
Not sure if I forgot anything but these are keeping us quite busy. We might want to make these as a separate grant(s) requests, once we have budgets drafted, and allow this grant to go ahead sooner so people can get reimbursed. Cheers. Aude 12:40, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Very well, this makes sense. Note that your SF travel for Wikimania planning would be funded directly by the WMF, as is the GEP. Ijon 20:48, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Extension requested[edit]

I request that the time of this grant be extended an additional year so that it finishes on September 30, 2013. We have had some issues with securing our charitable solicitation license and our insurance, since we have not had a physical place of business. We will be resolving this shortly, but we will need a little extra time. harej (talk) 00:51, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

A full year of extended time isnt too much? Just asking! Béria Lima msg 03:53, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
It will likely be less than that; I can reduce my request to six months (from now) if it is more palatable to the Grants Committee. I just wanted to be sure that we would have enough time. harej (talk) 03:59, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
I am personally fine with a year. Let's just wait for others to come express their opinions. Béria Lima msg 11:52, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
The grant was supposed to end Sep 2012, months ago. It is the report that is due today. Your request suggests you are requesting to extend the grant itself, i.e. the period where money would be spent. That is also possible, but we would like to receive an interim spending report to get a better idea of the grant status. In the meantime, consider the report deadline extended till January 15th, so that you don't fall out of compliance tomorrow. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 20:30, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
An extension of the project completion date to 30 September 2013 is granted. Please submit your final report 3 months after the new project completion date. Regards, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 19:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)