User:Wolliff (WMF)

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Winifred Olliff
Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
Winifred Olliff

About me

Since 2007, I have been working with volunteers to expand access to technology and information throughout the world.

I have worked with the Wikimedia Foundation since 2010 to support individuals, groups and organizations doing Wikimedia work around the world, and have worked to develop the Wikimedia Foundation's grantmaking processes since their inception. Before joining the Wikimedia Foundation, I worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Albania, where I worked with a local community center and the regional Directorate of Education to build technology training programs for students and teachers. In California, I worked on several initiatives to bring technology access (including effective training as well as software and hardware) to underserved communities throughout the state. In these roles, I worked with volunteers, teachers, and administrators to design and implement these programs.

My main areas of expertise are volunteer management and grantmaking. In the past, I have built and managed volunteer programs from the ground up, and have designed and implemented training programs for volunteers of diverse ages and backgrounds in different parts of the world. My work as a volunteer manager has given me opportunities to travel widely and gain experience in many different contexts. Like my past work, my work at the Wikimedia Foundation concentrates on supporting volunteers, but with a focus on grantmaking and organizational support. In various roles at the Wikimedia Foundation, I have worked on the administrative, logistical, and programmatic sides of grantmaking and organizational support.

I was educated at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated in 2006.

Originally from Santa Monica, California, I now live in San Francisco, California, where the Wikimedia Foundation's office is located. Volunteerism is a passion of mine, even outside of my work for the Wikimedia Foundation. I do volunteer gardening and trail-building at different parks in San Francisco, I do volunteer work with various transportation advocacy organizations throughout the state (especially around promoting safer biking), and I am a volunteer docent at a local historical society. My other interests include classical music, letterpress printing, US and California history, long-distance bicycling, and backpacking. I commute to the Wikimedia Foundation office by bike. When I don't have enough time to bike somewhere, I prefer to travel by train since it gives me time to read long biographies about US presidents.

My work

I work to support groups and organizations doing Wikimedia work around the world, including Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups.

As part of this work to support groups and organizations, I work with a group of volunteers called the Funds Dissemination Committee and Katy Love (Senior Program Officer, FDC) to support the Wikimedia Foundation's program for giving large general support grants to organizations, called the Annual Plan Grants (APG) program. This program is participatory, meaning that decisions about funding are made by a group of volunteers from the Wikimedia movment, and is conducted publicly, on Meta-Wiki. Staff work on the program involves doing expert analysis and coordinating inputs from other experts into the decision-making process, and facilitating bi-annual (twice a year) meetings where decisions are discussed and made. Beyond this, Katy and I support the committee by making sure the grants process runs smoothly from initial eligibility through application, all the way through reporting. You can follow a lot of our work on Meta-Wiki, at the Annual Plan Grants page.

Another aspect of my work focuses on developing ways groups and organizations can support one another, and ways the Wikimedia Foundation can facilitate that support or support groups and organizations directly. Right now, a large percentage of the grant funding from Wikimedia Foundation goes to groups and organizations through programs like the Annual Plan Grants (APG) program and the Project and Event Grants (PEG) program; however, we realize that support, for groups and organizations as well as for individuals, is about more than simply providing funding. One current area of focus for us is organizational effectiveness, or supporting groups and organizations in achieving the best results possible with the resources they have. This work is in its early stages, as we are still working together with groups and organizations in the Wikimedia movement and with external experts, to learn more about what support is most needed. For example, we have created an experimental organizational effectiveness tool that helps groups and organizations understand their strengths and gaps in capacity, and develop plans to build capacity in the long term. You can follow this work on Meta-Wiki, at the organizational effectiveness page.

In this role, I also work cross-functionally with the Wikimedia Foundation legal, finance, program evaluation, and grants administration teams on issues that relate to groups and organizations in the Wikimedia movement.
Disclaimer: I work for or provide services to the Wikimedia Foundation, and this is the account I try to use for edits or statements I make in that role. However, the Foundation does not vet all my activity, so edits, statements, or other contributions made by this account may not reflect the views of the Foundation.

Contact me

All of these Email addresses will reach me.

  • My E-mail: wolliff at
  • E-mail for the FDC staff team (reaches Katy, Anasuya, and Winifred): fdcsupport at
  • E-mail for organizational effectiveness: orgeffectiveness at

Another good way to reach me is my Userpage on Meta.