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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust
On Nov 11, 2011, at 12:14 PM, Liam Wyatt wrote:

>
> My question is with regards to the relationship of the new trust to the
> existing India Chapter. The purpose of the trust (as defined as "The
> objective of the Trust is to promote the objectives of the Wikimedia
> movement and work closely with the Wikimedia community on various projects
> with an India focus.") seems synonymous with the purpose of a Chapter, and
> you now also have trustees which is synonymous with a Chapter's board. One
> difference I can see is that you don't have Members.
>
> Can you elaborate on the legal and practical differences between the new
> India Trust and the India Chapter?

I notice Bishakha's email clarifying the legal differences between the Trust and a society (which is what the Chapter is) - so I'll address the practical differences. The genesis of the Trust was the plan for a catalyst project that was planned for in India. A "boots on the ground" team in India was proposed for this. The Trust is the organisation that will eventually house the team of consultants who are currently working on India Programs, and other team members planned or as may be required.

The Trust will work closely with the community and the Chapter and, as I mentioned in the FAQs link, we will provide support in areas where there isn't either (currently) enough capacity.

To illustrate, there is already a monthly call with the India Chapter Executive Committee where we share updates and plans. There's a meeting that's scheduled on the sidelines of the upcoming WikiConference (next week) where we intend to identify specific initiative(s) where the Chapter and the Trust will work together.

The Trust is also not a membership-based entity - so there'll be no membership drive for it.

I would also add that the larger picture to this is that the opportunity in India is so massive that there is enough and more for all to do. We are and will continue communicating and co-ordinating to make sure that everyone's efforts deliver the maximum results.

hisham

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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
hisham

On Nov 11, 2011, at 2:41 PM, Lodewijk wrote:

> Hi,

I'm taking the liberty of speaking for both the Trust and the Chapter in some of my response here - so India Chapter, please do correct me if I'm not accurately reflecting your position anywhere.
>
> thanks a lot all for exmplaining the differences. I would be very much
> interested to know more about the ''relationship'' between the trust and
> Wikimedia India. You seem to suggest that trustees get appointed by (or on
> the advice of - not sure of the legal wording) the WMF - but will Wikimedia
> India be involved in that too? Since they are the chapter in that country I
> could imagine them to have a say in it.

We (the Trust) will be preparing a trustee selection plan that will outline this.

>
> How closely will this trust and the chapter work together? You mention that
> there is communication etc - but is cooperation likely to become the
> default or the exception?

I think the Trust and the Chapter both bring unique strengths (as outlined by Gautam) which I see as complimentary. I would think that cooperation is the default - and this is something that we (Chapter & Trust) will actively work towards. The points I made in my earlier note about communication are an important first step in that - but not the only step. The joint initiative that we (Chapter & Trust) are working at identifying and working together on is another step. I am sure there will be others.

>
> And how will it work with regards of who will be the primary point of
> contact in India for institutions who want to partner with Wikimedia? Will
> they have to approach one of the two or whichever they like (and if they
> dont get the answer they like, can they just approach the other?). Will the
> chapter and the trust be competing with each other or collaborating?

I think different situations will require different approaches - often times determined by the requirements or circumstances of the partnering institution. If I can illustrate, the partnership point of contact for something like the WikiConference is the Chapter. For something else, it might well be the Trust.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, there is so much to be done - including just on partnerships alone - that there will be very little case or cause for competition.

If as you illustrate, someone does not get the answer they want from either the Chapter or the Trust, we (Chapter & Trust) will make sure we communicate with each other so that both of us are fully in the know and can act appropriately.

Best

hisham
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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 09:28, Hisham <hmundol@wikimedia.org> wrote:

>
>
> On Nov 11, 2011, at 12:14 PM, Liam Wyatt wrote:
>
> >
> > My question is with regards to the relationship of the new trust to the
> > existing India Chapter. The purpose of the trust (as defined as "The
> > objective of the Trust is to promote the objectives of the Wikimedia
> > movement and work closely with the Wikimedia community on various
> projects
> > with an India focus.") seems synonymous with the purpose of a Chapter,
> and
> > you now also have trustees which is synonymous with a Chapter's board.
> One
> > difference I can see is that you don't have Members.
> >
> > Can you elaborate on the legal and practical differences between the new
> > India Trust and the India Chapter?
>
> I notice Bishakha's email clarifying the legal differences between the
> Trust and a society (which is what the Chapter is) - so I'll address the
> practical differences. The genesis of the Trust was the plan for a
> catalyst project that was planned for in India. A "boots on the ground"
> team in India was proposed for this. The Trust is the organisation that
> will eventually house the team of consultants who are currently working on
> India Programs, and other team members planned or as may be required.
>
> The Trust will work closely with the community and the Chapter and, as I
> mentioned in the FAQs link, we will provide support in areas where there
> isn't either (currently) enough capacity.
>
> To illustrate, there is already a monthly call with the India Chapter
> Executive Committee where we share updates and plans. There's a meeting
> that's scheduled on the sidelines of the upcoming WikiConference (next
> week) where we intend to identify specific initiative(s) where the Chapter
> and the Trust will work together.
>
> The Trust is also not a membership-based entity - so there'll be no
> membership drive for it.
>
> I would also add that the larger picture to this is that the opportunity
> in India is so massive that there is enough and more for all to do. We are
> and will continue communicating and co-ordinating to make sure that
> everyone's efforts deliver the maximum results.


hisham, why are you not integrating into / helping the indian chapter as
one would expect? if you see page on wikipedia which is not so good, you
edit it, but you do not create another page, isn't it?

rupert
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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
Hey Liam

> From: Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt@gmail.com>
>
> I understand what you mean, and agree with the sentiment, but I think the
> "funding question" you're referring to is the practical application of the
> broader issue of "organisational roles".
>
> What I still don't understand, despite the fast and helpful answers from
> both yourself and Hisham (thank you) is the differentiation of the
> organisational roles between the Trust and the Chapter. I had originally
> assumed that the Trust was set up because it provided a legal way for the
> WMF India Team to be a 'branch' organisation of the WMF (not just
> individual contractors). But, from reading the description of the legal
> setup of the Trust, it seems that the Trust is, in fact, legally
> independent.

That is correct. The Trust is legally independent of WMF. A important driver for this was to provide adequate legal insulation for its team members arising out of potential issues on content, over which the team has no editorial control, in any case.

> Presumably this means that Hisham and the rest of the team are
> now employees of the Trust and no longer contractors to the WMF directly.

Not yet. All 3 of us are still consultants to WMF. (I have taken on an additional responsibility at the Trust.)

Once the funding for the Trust is in place, it will house the team (and they will no longer be consultants to WMF.)

> If that is the case, then presumably the WMF has basically the same amount
> of legal and financial control over the Trust than it has over the Chapter.
> Namely, it provides project funds (one-off or ongoing) and provides
> trademark permission.

You are right in that WMF's legal and financial controls over the Trust and Chapter are similar at an organisational level (and by organisation, I mean Trust & Chapter, not WMF). Having said that, when a formal grant is made to the Trust, there will be a significantly intensive degree of programmatic, governance and financial control over a grant to the Trust. For instance, statutory financial audits will be prescribed and ad hoc financial audits will be permissible. A governing council will be established for WMF to review plans and progress on grants and provide strategic and operational directives.

> Both organisations, presumably, also have the right
> to seek funding and undertake projects independently from the WMF so long
> as they meet their organisation's mission.

Yes, that is correct. Having said that, and I speak for the Trust here, fund-raising is not something that we have been tasked with and we lack the organizational bandwidth to conduct this systematically. (The India Programs team is currently 3 strong - and is budgeted at a total strength of 5.)
>
> Therefore... I'm confused about the differentiation of organisational roles
> because it seems we now have two, independent from each other, non-profit
> organisations in India that are both also equally independent from the WMF.

The Chapter is already registered as a non-profit. The Trust is applying for non-profit status. I'd nuance the independence from WMF of the Trust at an organization level (which is true) with my earlier comments about governance, oversight and audit controls at a grant / program level.

> The only difference, as I understand it from what Bishakha explained
> earlier, is that the Chapter is legally a "Society" (with an elected board
> and members) and the Trust has two appointed trustees.
>
> Is that the case?

Hopefully provided a clearer picture in my earlier answers?

> As a practical question - to make it more concrete and
> less abstract - what can the Trust do that the Chapter cannot?
> And, if the
> Chapter can legally do all the things that the Trust can do (and the WMF
> has the same amount of control either way), why do we need two
> organisations?

Legally, I think there is very little distinction in terms of what can be exclusively done by either Chapter or Trust.

From a practical perspective, I'd say the Trust would have - by virtue of (eventually) having a full-time team - the required capacity and capability to undertake programs with a level of intensity that the Chapter would find challenging (at the present time) - again, largely because the Chapter (currently) does not have a full-time team in place.

The advantage that Trust brings to the table is speed and intensity. I think the nature of the Trust's operations will be to identify high-potential opportunities, design & implement high-quality pilots and transfer learnings to the Chapter, other community groups and the community at large. As and when the Chapter and/or other community bodies have built the capacity to take over projects from the Trust, the Trust will fully facilitate this.

The advantage that the Chapter has is scale. By nature of its large membership base, and the geographic spread of this membership base, the Chapter will probably always be best placed to ran large-scale national programs.

Having said all this, I understand your line of questioning. This is a catalyst project and this is the first time this has been done anywhere so we need to evolve an appropriate cohabitation model. I'd just reiterate that there is so much to do that there is enough work and more for the Chapter and the Trust and other community groups (and others too!)

hisham




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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
Hi Hisham,
> From: hmundol@wikimedia.org
> Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 17:00:30 +0530
> To: foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikimedia India Program Trust

> From a practical perspective, I'd say the Trust would have - by virtue of (eventually) having a full-time team - the required capacity and capability to undertake programs with a level of intensity that the Chapter would find challenging (at the present time) - again, largely because the Chapter (currently) does not have a full-time team in place.

Why didn't the WMF professionalize Wikimedia India and let the Chapter have full-time staff to do these projects? Why did you have to start another organisation from scratch whose aims and goals seem to be similar to WMIN? Couldn't it have been better to nurture the pre-existing organisation(WMIN) and make it capable enough to run India programs?
/Abbas.
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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
Hi all,

This thread has brought up several points of interest to Wikimedia India.
First let me take this opportunity to thank the Foundation Grants team for
all the help for our bootstrapping work, be it Legal consultant or
Documentation for FCRA etc. We have been interacting regularly with India
programs, it was limited to sharing of the plan and progress on each
other's initiatives and some collaboration, as Hisham and myself are on
the advisory board of Wiki Conference India 2011.

Responses to specific feedback from Hisham is given in line.

On Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 7:00 PM, Hisham <hmundol@wikimedia.org> wrote:

>
>
> hisham
>
> On Nov 11, 2011, at 2:41 PM, Lodewijk wrote:
>
> > Hi,
>
> I'm taking the liberty of speaking for both the Trust and the Chapter in
> some of my response here - so India Chapter, please do correct me if I'm
> not accurately reflecting your position anywhere.
>

While the chapter has opened the relationship discussion from the beginning
of our first meeting with Barry and Hisham, we are yet to clearly define
the focus areas of each despite several face to face meetings or conference
calls. Chapter and Foundation have been functioning independently so far
and it is important that we define the role and responsibility of each
clearly with a good understanding the strengths and limitations of each. We
think all the stakeholders have a right to the clarity.


> >
> > thanks a lot all for exmplaining the differences. I would be very much
> > interested to know more about the ''relationship'' between the trust and
> > Wikimedia India. You seem to suggest that trustees get appointed by (or
> on
> > the advice of - not sure of the legal wording) the WMF - but will
> Wikimedia
> > India be involved in that too? Since they are the chapter in that
> country I
> > could imagine them to have a say in it.
>
> We (the Trust) will be preparing a trustee selection plan that will
> outline this.
>
> >
> > How closely will this trust and the chapter work together? You mention
> that
> > there is communication etc - but is cooperation likely to become the
> > default or the exception?
>
> I think the Trust and the Chapter both bring unique strengths (as outlined
> by Gautam) which I see as complimentary. I would think that cooperation is
> the default - and this is something that we (Chapter & Trust) will actively
> work towards. The points I made in my earlier note about communication are
> an important first step in that - but not the only step. The joint
> initiative that we (Chapter & Trust) are working at identifying and working
> together on is another step. I am sure there will be others.
>
>
While Chapter has so far been occupied in trying to operationalize itself,
it did offer to get involved in the foundation activities that could impact
the Chapter like recruitment of staff for example. Foundation has not
signaled its willingness due to its own reasons. We are hoping that it will
change as we continue to engage.

Chapter is keenly interested in identifying programs that can be done
jointly leveraging the strengths of each and this is scheduled for
discussion in the upcoming face to face meeting during Wiki Conference.

>
> > And how will it work with regards of who will be the primary point of
> > contact in India for institutions who want to partner with Wikimedia?
> Will
> > they have to approach one of the two or whichever they like (and if they
> > dont get the answer they like, can they just approach the other?). Will
> the
> > chapter and the trust be competing with each other or collaborating?
>
> I think different situations will require different approaches - often
> times determined by the requirements or circumstances of the partnering
> institution. If I can illustrate, the partnership point of contact for
> something like the WikiConference is the Chapter. For something else, it
> might well be the Trust.
>
> As I mentioned in my earlier post, there is so much to be done - including
> just on partnerships alone - that there will be very little case or cause
> for competition.
>
> If as you illustrate, someone does not get the answer they want from
> either the Chapter or the Trust, we (Chapter & Trust) will make sure we
> communicate with each other so that both of us are fully in the know and
> can act appropriately.
>
> Chapter came to know about the name of the trust through this email only,
while we have been hearing of the trust formation for quite some time. We
have concern with the naming of the trust. As Wikimedia India is authorized
for use by chapter as per Chapter agrement, naming the trust with the same
prefix is a sure way of causing more confusion to all stakeholders. We
would like suggest to use the prefix "Wikimedia Foundation".


In summary, while the objectives of Wikimedia India and Wikimedia
Foundation India programs are common, we really need to define the
relationship to a sufficient level of clarity and continue to iterate the
same based on experiences.

Thanks

Arjuna Rao Chavala
President, Wikimedia India
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Re: Wikimedia India Program Trust [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 7:48 PM, Arjuna Rao Chavala <arjunaraoc@gmail.com>wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> This thread has brought up several points of interest to Wikimedia India.
> First let me take this opportunity to thank the Foundation Grants team for
> all the help for our bootstrapping work, be it Legal consultant or
> Documentation for FCRA etc. We have been interacting regularly with India
> programs, it was limited to sharing of the plan and progress on each
> other's initiatives and some collaboration, as Hisham and myself are on
> the advisory board of Wiki Conference India 2011.
>
> <snip>

> In summary, while the objectives of Wikimedia India and Wikimedia
> Foundation India programs are common, we really need to define the
> relationship to a sufficient level of clarity and continue to iterate the
> same based on experiences.
>
> I'd like to propose that the India chapter and the Program trust do a
joint review in Feb 2012 or so to generally take stock of what's working,
what's not, what can be improved etc.

Suggesting Feb 2012 since it will be 12 months since Hisham would have
started work, and about 13 months since the chapter would have been
officially registered in India, so similar time spans.

Of course, it could be done later too - you'll can figure out the right
time together...feel this might help, in addition to the monthly calls,
informal interactions etc.

Best
Bishakha
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