Board of Trustees
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees oversees the foundation and supervises the disposition and solicitation of donations. The Board is the ultimate corporate authority for the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (cf. article IV, sec. 1 of the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws) and currently consists of ten Trustees.
If you want to contact the Board of Trustees please take a look at the contact information first. If that doesn't match, general inquiries can be sent to WMFboardwikimedia.org.
The Board of Trustees began sometime in 2003 with three members. Over time, it expanded in size; as of 2008 it has ten members. Much of the body's history can be found in Board resolutions and votes.
Roles and structure
As defined in the bylaws, the Board elects officers who have one of four roles:
As announced in 2008, the Board now consists of ten Trustees:
- three seats elected directly by the Wikimedia community;
- two seats selected by the Wikimedia chapters;
- one Board-appointed "community founder" seat (reserved for Jimmy Wales); and
- four Board-appointed "specific expertise" seats.
|Member until||July 2013|
Kat Walsh is an attorney and Wikimedian in the San Francisco area. Her areas of focus include free content licensing, software freedom, access to knowledge, and freedom of speech. She is currently Legal Counsel at Creative Commons and was previously a technology policy analyst at the American Library Association. She is an alumna of George Mason University School of Law and of Stetson University, and is currently a member of the Virginia State Bar and the US Patent Bar.
Walsh has presented at numerous conferences on topics including privacy, copyright, volunteerism, and online collaboration. She has participated in all but the first Wikimania, and at Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, the Library of Congress, a few universities and government agencies, and the Creative Commons summit. She is also an accomplished bassoonist and violist, performing regularly in orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Walsh first became involved with the Wikimedia Foundation by volunteering on the e-mail response team, where she helped resolve some of the legal issues the Wikimedia Foundation faced. Her efforts here sparked her interest in copyright and Internet policy and led to her interest in Internet law.
Walsh was appointed to a partial term on the Board of Trustees in December of 2006 when the board expanded to seven members. She was then chosen as a community-elected Trustee in June 2007, re-elected in August 2009, and again in 2011. She currently serves on the HR committee, and was the Executive Secretary from 2008 to 2009. In 2012, Walsh was elected Chair of the Board.
Walsh contributes primarily on English Wikipedia, where she has over 11,000 edits, over 70 article creations, and where she serves as a site administrator. Her current term on the board will continue until 2013.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Jan-Bart de Vreede
|Member until||December 2013|
|Current position||Vice Chair|
Jan-Bart de Vreede is from Gouda in the Netherlands. de Vreede spent most of his childhood in the Netherlands, but he also lived in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Kenya and the United States. He studied Business Administration at the Rotterdam School of Management. He has three children: Anna (3), Matthias (8) and Ruben (11).
For the past 10 years, he has worked at the Kennisnet Foundation in the Netherlands, a publicly-funded Dutch organization tasked with the promotion of IT use in education to help solve some of the major challenges in the field. At Kennisnet, de Vreede is responsible for the Kennisnet communities and Wikiwijs. Most of his time at Kennisnet is spent on the Wikiwijs project within the Netherlands. This is a countrywide initiative aimed at encouraging teachers to develop and share Open Educational Resources by offering them a platform to find, create and share OER materials.
He has been involved with Wikimedia since 2004, through his role as a Board member and his work at Kennisnet, and he has long been involved with the community aspects of the various projects. He has attended every Wikimania (an experience he describes as both exhausting and invigorating). After attending his first Wikimania, he was quickly convinced that this was a special group of people who were doing something extraordinary. When the chance came to be a part of the movement, he jumped at it.
In December 2006, de Vreede joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. He has served as Vice-chair since August 2011, and he also held the position from January 2007 until July 2010. He was instrumental in hiring the Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director and he considers this process as an important element in transitioning from an operating board in the early days to one that could manage larger meta issues. He also notes that restructuring the Board gave them the opportunity to include chapter-selected board members, which has increased the diversity of the board as a whole.
de Vreede was re-elected Vice Chair of the Board in July 2012 and his current term will continue until December 2013.
|Member until||December 2013|
Stu West joined the Wikimedia Board in April 2008 and served as its Treasurer from April 2008 to October 2012; he also served as Vice-Chair from July 2010 to August 2011. He brings over 18 years of financial experience, including senior executive roles at publicly-traded companies including TiVo, Yahoo!, InfoSpace, and in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. He also worked with the United States Mission to the United Nations. Stu's educational background includes a B.A. in History from Yale University, where he focused on 20th century diplomacy. He is a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, and lives in the San Francisco bay area.
|Member until||December 2014|
Bishakha Datta is a non-fiction writer and documentary filmmaker with diverse, international experience. She is dedicated to disseminating women's perspectives through media, art and culture, particularly the perspectives of women who are marginal or invisible. She received a BA in Economics and an MA in English Literature from Mumbai University, as well as an MA in Communications from Stanford University.
Datta is the co-founder and Executive Director of Point of View, a nonprofit organization in Mumbai, India, that promotes women’s points of view through media, art and culture. She is also on the boards of various non-profits from around the world, including Breakthrough, CREA, Dreamcatchers Foundation, and Majlis. Her first book, And Who Will Make the Chapatis?, focused on rural women’s participation in politics, while her first independent documentary film In The Flesh explored the lives of three people in prostitution from their own perspectives. Her latest book 9 Degrees of Justice documents new perspectives on violence on women in India, while her latest film, Taaza Khabar, explores a rural newspaper run by women, many of whom are Dalit or tribal.
Datta joined the Wikimedia Board in March 2010. She was on the controversial content committee and was part of the Movement Roles project and working group, which developed the framework for new models of affiliation within the Wikimedia movement. Datta has been the Chapters Committee liaison for the Board since 2010. She served as the Secretary of the Board from July to October 2012.
She has spent a great deal of time and energy working with the growing Wikimedia movement in India, facilitating connections between Wikipedia editors in the country and the Foundation. Datta considers herself a community-oriented trustee with extensive prior movement experience outside of Wikimedia, which she used to nurture the budding community there. She helped organize the first community meetup in Mumbai and was an advisor to WikiConference India 2011, which had over 600 attendees. She is proud that her first community barnstar resulted from that conference.
Datta considers editor retention and editor growth to be the most significant challenges facing the Board and the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as the greatest opportunity to sustain the Wikimedia movement. In addition to technical solutions like a visual editor, she will continue to encourage the Foundation to focus on the priority geographies of Brazil, India and Arabic language countries, as well as smaller wikis like those in Indic languages. She also plans to continue to focus support at the Board level on work to increase the number of female editors on Wikimedia projects, while linking that work to larger strategic objectives.
Datta lives and works in Mumbai, India and edits on English Wikipedia and on Meta-wiki. Her current term on the Board continues until December 2014.
|Member until||December 2013|
Jimmy was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1966, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama. He worked as Research Director at Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options trading firm then located in Chicago. In the mid-1990s he started Bomis, a search portal focusing on aspects of pop culture, one of the first users of the freely licensed data of the Open Directory Project.
In 1999, Jimmy had the concept of a freely distributable encyclopedia and founded Nupedia, by hiring philosopher Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief and assigning two programmers to write software for it. Nupedia failed, perhaps due to being a top-down cathedral model, as opposed to Wikipedia, which is the ultimate bazaar. After two years of working with the Nupedia concept, that team opened Wikipedia to help channel content into Nupedia; Wikipedia became an instant success, but not in the envisioned way, and Nupedia was shut down. In 2003, Jimmy set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization, to support Wikipedia and its sister projects.
In 2004, Jimmy founded Wikia. He was appointed a fellow of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society in mid-2005, and in October of 2005 joined the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
|Member until||July 2013|
Samuel Klein was elected to the Wikimedia Board in August 2009. He currently lives in Cambridge, where he works on the Digital Public Library of America. He is a global ambassador for One Laptop per Child, and advises a number of education startups. He has been involved in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for many years, including work on multilingual newsletter, translation networks, communication and special projects. He founded the Boston-area Wikipedia group, and organized the bid and local team that hosted the Wikimania conference there in 2006. He also works on offline Wikipedia distribution, including the WikiBrowse project.
Sam studied Math and Physics at Harvard University, and spent time teaching and developing software for facilitating translation and community-building before focusing on universal education. He is an Affiliate of Harvard's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.
|Member until||July 2014|
Alice Wiegand lives in Duesseldorf, Germany, where she is a personal aide to the Mayor of Meerbusch. Previously she ran Meerbusch’s IT department as a specialist for system administration in the public sector.
Wiegand has made various detours before she reached her current occupation. Originally she studied economics, then she decided to become a tailor. After that she jumped at the chance to be trained in software development, followed by training and study for the German senior civil service. She has recently begun her Master’s studies in Public Policy and Governance.
Wiegand started editing German Wikipedia in 2004, following one of the first major series of media stories about the site in Germany. She was looking for something meaningful to do besides her job and started to edit on topics like contemporary art and comics. Soon her activities switched to administration, organization and contributor support. In recent years, she has organized several workshops and skills trainings for contributors, for the volunteer response team OTRS and for Wikipedia administrators.
She has extensive experience as a board member of Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE, the German chapter of the Wikimedia movement), which she joined in 2008. At WMDE, she served as secretary and vice president, and she was involved in strategy development, organizational structuring and executive accounting and assessment.
Wiegand is convinced that offering free knowledge to people is an essential condition to facilitate free and independent decisions. She believes in the strength and advantages of decentralized structures and wants to improve the mutual understanding of all parties involved in the Wikimedia movement. She sees the need to provide reliability and stability at a time when the movement faces fundamental changes in resource allocation, new models of affiliation and the interaction of the chapters.
Wiegand served as administrator and bureaucrat on German Wikipedia. Her edit count is 22860, but the curve shape has rapidly decreased since 2008, when she joined the board of WMDE.
She joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters' selected Trustee in 2012. Her current term will continue until July 2014.
|Member until||July 2014|
For several years he worked in the field of Development Cooperation, managing the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local development projects funded by the Italian government and the European Union. He worked to strengthen local capacity as a condition for development, transcending the traditional approach of North-South cooperation by promoting South-South. He also supported decentralized cooperation by building horizontal networks of exchange between different cities and regions of Argentina.
Since 2004, he has served in the National University of La Plata, first as Prosecretary of Administration and subsequently as General Prosecretary. In his current position, he manages the strategic planning and the everyday issues and conflicts of a large and restless community, including both academics and student organizations. The National University of La Plata is a public university in Argentina and the second largest in the country, measured both in size (with 100,000 students and 15,000 teachers) and by scientific production. As with all public universities in Argentina, there is no tuition and enrollment is free.
He joined the Spanish Wikipedia as an editor in 2005 and he has been an admin (sysop, bureaucrat) since 2006. He is also a founding member of Wikimedia Argentina and was its President from 2007 to 2012. He was responsible for the organization of Wikimanía 2009 in Buenos Aires and has participated as an organizer or speaker in numerous conferences, seminars and workshops on Wikipedia/Wikimedia in Argentina and other Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, México, Perú). He was one of the primary organizers of the first Ibero-American Wikimedia Summit, held in Buenos Aires in 2011, which helped bring together representatives from both established Wikimedia chapters and informal working groups throughout Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Lorente has devoted his time to outreach activities in education, with particular interest in off-wiki activities. He is the author of a booklet published by Wikimedia Argentina called "Wikipedia in the classroom" and, representing Wikimedia Argentina, he was a member of the Advisory Board of Conectar Igualdad, a government program that is delivering more than three million netbooks to all public high school students in Argentina. As a result of this work, many wiki-related activities were launched and the National Ministry of Education opened a special site with tutorials, documents and guides about Wikipedia and education. There is also a special pilot program in more than 200 schools across the country -- “Escuelas de Innovación” (Innovative Schools) -- that is directly training teachers on possible uses of Wikimedia projects for their classes, not only in terms of creating content but also regarding notions of relevance, content verification and discussions on neutrality issues.
He joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board as a Chapters selected Trustee in 2012. His current term will continue until July 2014.
- Main article: Former Board of Trustees members