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[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2015-2016 now on-wiki
Dear All,

Please see email below on behalf of Jaime Villagomez, CFO of the Wikimedia
Foundation.

Hello everyone,

The Wikimedia Foundation has submitted to the US Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) and posted on-wiki[1] our annual Form 990 filing. The Form 990 is the
annual financial reporting which is required by the federal government for
active nonprofit organizations in the United States.

In addition to posting the Form 990 on-wiki, we have also posted an
accompanying page with answers to frequently asked questions related to the
form and information we submitted.[2] Almost all financial reports by their
very nature can be confusing, so to add clarity here is a simple breakdown
of what this form covers.

It was pointed out last year that the dates covered by our financial
reports can be confusing given our fiscal year is different from the
calendar year. This "2015 Form 990" covers the financial activities of the
Wikimedia Foundation for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which ran from July 1,
2015 to June 30, 2016. A notable exception is information related to the
compensation of our officers, key employees, highest paid staff and
independent contractors, which is instead based on the 2015 calendar year.

The Wikimedia Foundation's total revenue from fiscal year 2015-2016 was
US$78,691,737. Our total expenses from this period were US$65,061,845 and
our total net assets at the end of the fiscal year were US$91,782,795.

Included in the approximately US$65 million expenses from this period is a
US$5 million seed contribution to the Wikimedia Endowment, building on the
initial donation by Jim Pacha of approximately US$1 million. This
contribution accounts for the bulk of the increase from the year before in
"grants and similar amounts paid" listed on the summary page. It is listed
as an expense in the form because the Endowment is an independent fund
housed at Tides. To learn more about the purpose and structure of the
Wikimedia Endowment, visit its Meta-Wiki page.[3]

The Form 990 also includes information about the salaries of the Wikimedia
Foundation's five highest paid employees. The salaries for all paid
positions are set according to salary bands which are determined
bi-annually based on independent third party survey data.[4] Executive
salaries are subject to this same standard. All executive salaries, with
the exception of the Executive Director's salary, are set by the Executive
Director in discussion with the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees
uses the independent third party survey data, as well as comparative data
from other nonprofit organizations, to set the salary of the Executive
Director, and to assess and advise on other executive salaries.

The largely technical and high-skilled nature of some of our work requires
competitive wages to recruit the best talent and compensate them fairly for
their expertise and commitment. We believe that the Wikimedia Foundation
continues to pay competitively, but within in the average (50th percentile)
when compared to tech companies, and higher average (90th percentile)
compared to nonprofits.

In addition to salary information, the report includes other payments made
to the highest paid employees upon their departure from the organization
(known as severance payments). Following our regular practice for staff
departures, these amounts are set on a case-by-case based on a person's
tenure with the organization. We recognize that people have an interest in
this topic, and that there will be some questions. However, as an employer
we are limited in what we can discuss publicly. Out of respect for the
people involved, and in consideration of the laws and ethics related to
sharing human resources information, we will not be commenting on the
specific nature of the severance payments or circumstances which may be
related to them.

Through reports and discussions like these, the Wikimedia Foundation will
continue to strive to provide a responsible level of transparency and
accountability for our work. I imagine there are other questions, and I
invite you to review the on-wiki FAQ[2], or email me if your question is
not answered there.

Thank you to the Foundation's Talent & Culture, Legal, Advancement and
Communications departments for their assistance with developing this year's
Form 990 and related communications. A very big thank you to our Finance
and Administration department for their hard work once again preparing this
important public filing.

Best,

Jaime

[1] Wikimedia_Foundation_2015_Form_990
<https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_2015_Form_990.pdf>
[2] Wikimedia_Foundation_Form_990_Frequently_Asked_Questions
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRS_tax_issues_and_information/2015_Wikimedia_Foundation_Form_990_Frequently_Asked_Questions>
[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Endowment
[4] https://www.radford.com/home/surveys/gts/

--
Tony Le
Wikimedia Foundation
Ph: 415-839-6885 ext 6749 <(415)%20839-6885>
Fax: 415-882-0495 <(415)%20882-0495>
tle@wikimedia.org

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2015-2016 now on-wiki [ In reply to ]
Every time the subject of WMF's level of financial opacity/transparency
comes up I am disappointed. I think that my views on this matter are well
known, so rather than repeat them in detail for the nth time I will say
again that I object to WMF's limited transparency and believe that it is
very inconsistent with the practices that I would expect of a well-governed
charity.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2015-2016 now on-wiki [ In reply to ]
On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 8:27 PM, Tony Le <tle@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> A notable exception is information related to the
> compensation of our officers, key employees, highest paid staff and
> independent contractors, which is instead based on the 2015 calendar year.
>


Thank you. I have two questions:


1. Does the above statement mean that any severance pay or other special
compensation Lila Tretikov might have received at the end of her tenure in
2016 will only show in the 2016 Form 990, due in about a year's time?


2. Speaking of severance pay, I note that Erik Möller's compensation seems
to have increased from almost exactly $200,000 in the 2014 calendar year[1]
to a little over $302,000 in the 2015 calendar year[2], despite the fact
that, as far as I recall, he left the Foundation on April 30th 2015[3] and
thus only worked 4 of the year's 12 months.

If Erik was paid at the same rate in 2015 as he was in 2014, he would have
stood to receive salary payments of around $67,000.

This is almost a quarter of a million dollars less than his actual
compensation according to the form released now.

Is this $235,000 discrepancy wholly or partly due to a severance payment
Erik received at the end of his employment, and if so, what was the amount
and the rationale?


Andreas


[1] Page 52 in
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/2/27/Form_990_FY_2014-2015_-_Public.pdf
[2]
https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%3AWikimedia_Foundation_2015_Form_990.pdf&page=8
[3] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-April/077516.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2015-2016 now on-wiki [ In reply to ]
Andreas,

Page 52 reports that Moeller received $208,306 in severance: that seems to
be a year's salary. There is no stated reason for the payment.

"Rogol"

On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:02 PM, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 8:27 PM, Tony Le <tle@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> > A notable exception is information related to the
> > compensation of our officers, key employees, highest paid staff and
> > independent contractors, which is instead based on the 2015 calendar
> year.
> >
>
>
> Thank you. I have two questions:
>
>
> 1. Does the above statement mean that any severance pay or other special
> compensation Lila Tretikov might have received at the end of her tenure in
> 2016 will only show in the 2016 Form 990, due in about a year's time?
>
>
> 2. Speaking of severance pay, I note that Erik Möller's compensation seems
> to have increased from almost exactly $200,000 in the 2014 calendar year[1]
> to a little over $302,000 in the 2015 calendar year[2], despite the fact
> that, as far as I recall, he left the Foundation on April 30th 2015[3] and
> thus only worked 4 of the year's 12 months.
>
> If Erik was paid at the same rate in 2015 as he was in 2014, he would have
> stood to receive salary payments of around $67,000.
>
> This is almost a quarter of a million dollars less than his actual
> compensation according to the form released now.
>
> Is this $235,000 discrepancy wholly or partly due to a severance payment
> Erik received at the end of his employment, and if so, what was the amount
> and the rationale?
>
>
> Andreas
>
>
> [1] Page 52 in
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/2/27/
> Form_990_FY_2014-2015_-_Public.pdf
> [2]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=File%
> 3AWikimedia_Foundation_2015_Form_990.pdf&page=8
> [3] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2015-
> April/077516.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2015-2016 now on-wiki [ In reply to ]
On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:51 PM, Rogol Domedonfors <domedonfors@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Andreas,
> Page 52 reports that Moeller received $208,306 in severance: that seems to
> be a year's salary. There is no stated reason for the payment.
>
> "Rogol"
>


Thank you. As you say, page 52 informs us that –

---o0o---

Per terms of a severance agreement, upon separation from the organization
under certain circumstances, L. Tretikov, Executive Director, is entitled
to receive a severance payment. No payment was made during 2015. In
addition, the following key employee and highest compensated employees were
also entitled to and received severance payments during 2015: E. Moeller,
$208,306, G. Young, $98,446, T. Gilbey, $80,000, and D. Sicore, $100,000.

---o0o---

Damon Sicore's entire compensation for half a year's work (February to July
2015) was thus around $292,000.

I think many donors would be surprised to find that outgoing WMF managers
with checkered work histories are paid such substantial severance payments,
against a historical backdrop of fundraising messages creating the
impression that funds are urgently needed to keep the lights on, and
minimal WMF spending on content-facing initiatives like providing unpaid
volunteers with free access to reference sources.

Also, given that Lila only left in spring 2016, it seems odd for the
document to state that no severance payment was made to her during 2015.
She hadn't left yet. If there was such a severance payment in spring 2016,
over a year ago, it would be right to tell the donor and editor community
now. That is what a highly transparent donor-funded organisation would do.

Andreas
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