In my presentation on the new Wikimedia Grants program, at the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin last March, I mentioned the intention to create a Grant Advisory Committee (its friends can call it the GAC) to help the movement generate effective program plans and bring community experience and perspectives to bear on the evaluation and assessment of funding requests.
Today we announce the formation of this Grant Advisory Committee, and thank all the Wikimedians who volunteered their time and good will to help the movement in yet another way.
The committee’s goals are twofold:
1. Encourage and mentor chapters and other groups to:
- Learn about and understand the Wikimedia Grants program
- Draw up compelling project plans with an emphasis on strategy alignment and measures of success
- Request funding, i.e. submit a grant request on Meta
2. Help the Foundation evaluate requested grants, not by a yes/no vote, but by deliberation and evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of individual proposals in public, i.e. on the Talk pages of the proposals. The aggregate experience and know-how represented by the committee should be able to provide excellent feedback and assessment of proposed projects and plans, and thereby help the Foundation decide how the movement’s resources may best be allocated.
I think an important aspect of the Wikimedia Grants program in general, and of the GAC’s work in particular, is the fact that it is done in public. Grantmaking, like most activities involving money, tends to happen behind closed doors: money is a sensitive topic, real names need to be used for the actual transactions, there are legal aspects, etc. But the Wikimedia way is one of public conversation, and I intend to devote attention to ensuring as much of the debate about grants and grantmaking does indeed happen in public.
I am pleased to be able to introduce this new avenue for community involvement in strategic decisions, and I look forward to working with the GAC to strengthen chapters and groups worldwide, and further our mission through judicious use of funds.
Your suggestions and feedback are most welcome. Please don’t hesitate to submit a grant request, comment on this post, or contact me directly.
Asaf Bartov, Head of Global South Relationships, firstname.lastname@example.org, User:Ijon