WMF gets its funding from public donations and grants and these are made specifically to the Foundation for the purpose of keeping all the projects up and running without advertisements or sponsorships. This involves an implicit trust that the funds would be used for Wikimedia projects only, and not for other purposes.
On the other hand, with the rate of change in technology, circumstances, and situation in the world, it would be short-sighted and pedantic to insist that only internal Wikimedia initiatives be funded. The Movement should retain its ability to fund initiatives not directly linked to Wikimedia projects and activities. This should be done with adequate safeguards regarding procedure, mandatory consultation with Community, and monetary limits in absolute or relative terms, and so on. Such proposals if agreed to, should be funded after due diligence, community consensus, legal scrutiny, with a formal agreement, continuous monitoring, and stage-wide release of funding.
Such funding initiatives of external unrelated projects should remain the prerogative of both Foundation and Community jointly, not just WMF alone. This is important in the backdrop of news of a multi-million dollar fund created by the WMF for the purpose of funding external unrelated projects. Recent events require us to err on the side of caution, when going beyond the accepted normal of routine activities, especially in cases of funding, and Community consensus is important in this context.
There are presently many unmet needs of the many language and project communities in their pursuit of making knowledge universally available which would benefit from WMF funding. These naturally should have priority over external unrelated projects. Among these, we need to support initiatives which help a community transition to digital presence and Open Knowledge in general, and hopefully make them ready to participate in and get the benefits of Wikimedia movement. A hypothetical example would be a small language community which has no orthography and which can be encouraged so that in time, with development of written form of language, they can participate in Wikimedia projects as well.
But the WMF needs to go beyond this as well. The reasons why the WMF must fund external projects arises from the fact that there are many deserving organisations and initiatives which are working for the same broader cause that the Wikimedia Movement is pursuing, that of promoting Open Knowledge. These could be organisations involved in technology such as OpenStreetMap, WikiCite-related external initiatives, organisations involved in advocacy, or research, and so on. These organisations are involved in the same cause, while not part of the Wikimedia movement, have the same aims; however, unlike the WMF, they have huge challenges in procuring altruistic funding, and their continued functioning depends upon such funding. It makes a larger sense for the WMF to to support such organisations, and grow the larger movement.
This is an issue which I would monitor very closely to ensure that we are on the correct path, should I be elected Board of Trustees member.
) 11:25, 13 July 2021 (UTC)