Financial Sustainability Task Force Question 3
Hi Mr. West, I read through your notes. I had a discussion on the issue and what seems to be one of the major arguments against endowment is somehow altering the current image of the foundation, that future benefactors might not be as generous if the foundation has a fund and a regular stream of income from it, I think that that effect is being blown out of proportions. Wikipedia is not some charity or benefit for far off places, any benefactor can see what there funds are being used for. the information about the fund doesn't even need to be mentioned in future fund raising events, if the foundation were to become well capitalized it doesnt necessarily make it inefficient or its cause any less effective, there are thousands of charities and Universities that raised in excess of billions of dollars and continue to do so year after year, they don't mention if they have a fund or how capitalized they are, people just have to believe and support their cause. I cant say anything about being a target for future litigation besides that it doesn't seem like a credible enough reason to not have a fund, maybe a little fearful attitude on our parts. As for the argument of current economic downturn, I think its more of a reason to be secured than ever, if a fund wont represent stability neither would an annual fund raising drive, donations are more likely to be affected and dry up in an economic downturn. The fund could be based anywhere thats one of the many benefits of having a project like Wikipedia, global presence and recognition. The exact comparison of available options could be conducted in different countries once a decision has been made about the fund, some countries offer higher interest rates 10-12%, some more flexibility and security.
In conclusion, I would just like to say that if I were a large benefactor to the foundation, I would more likely contribute to a one time solution for the funding issue and have my contribution be remembered and thanked indefinitely(or at least for decades) rather than flip the bill for the year and wait till next year when my contribution is forgotten to newer benefactors. Any contributions to the Fund would live on much longer than any donation, any benefactor would prefer to have his contribution make a long term difference.