The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees seeks a new Board Member to represent the global community of users and contributors as the Board sets policy, provides appropriate oversight, and guides Foundation strategy.
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content; and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property. Wikipedia contains more than 22 million volunteer-authored articles in over 280 languages and is visited by more than 450 million people monthly.
The Wikimedia Foundation provides the technical, operating and managerial infrastructure to sustain and grow Wikimedia’s free knowledge projects. The Foundation supports a global volunteer community of contributors, chapters and readers that contribute ideas, benefit from the support provided by the Foundation, and continually upgrade and evolve Wikimedia’s free knowledge projects. The Foundation’s goals include reaching one billion readers globally and 200,000 contributors by 2015.
The Board functions as a governance body that adjudicates the complex policy-setting process of the Wikimedia Community, supervises the disposition and solicitation of donations, and hires the organization’s Executive Director who leads all Foundation staff. As arguably the most influential and respected organization in the free knowledge movement, the Wikimedia Foundation and its Board have a great responsibility for setting policy deliberately and with due consideration for the diverse interests of a truly global community.
This search effort will be one of mutual exploration on the part of prospective candidates and current Trustees. The Board’s objective is to use this search to strengthen its knowledge of: board governance, grantmaking, strategy, and issues of importance to prospective new Wikimedia growth markets. However, there are no predefined criteria for selection.
Two-year, renewable terms are served, and the time commitment is significant. The Board of Trustees meets four times a year, twice in San Francisco and twice in changing locations around the globe. Meetings take two days and travel can add another two days to each meeting. In addition, the Board communicates frequently by email and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as it navigates policy issues. This can absorb 4-10 hours weekly. Board members also regularly engage with the Community through wiki pages.
Other Trustees feel that they would benefit from a member who has experience with organizations that have grown and evolved explosively, and who understands how boards can evolve to provide appropriate governance support. Experience with international, community-driven, consensus organizations is also important as the Foundation would not exist without the community.
Wikimedia functions in a radically transparent fashion, soliciting feedback and open dialog when a change in strategy, fundraising or governance is being considered. The culture of the community, Foundation and Board is collaborative, open and unguarded. Further background on the Wikimedia Foundation can be found at http://www.wikimedia.org/.