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Grants:APG/Frequently asked questions


These are the frequently asked questions regarding the FDC process.

For any other questions, comments or appeals, please start here.

Frequently Asked QuestionsEdit

FDC History

FDC Overview

Eligibility

Proposal Process

Proposal Evaluation, Recommendation, and Decision-Making Process

Reporting

FDC Roles and Responsibilities

FDC Process Continuous Improvement

Community Involvement

ResponsesEdit

FDC HistoryEdit

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  • How and why was the FDC created?
On July 11, 2012, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution establishing the Funds Dissemination Committee outlined in the Framework for the Creation and Initial Operation of the FDC. This framework was drafted with public input over the course of April - June 2012. To see more information about the creation of the FDC, visit the original pages where the work was done.

FDC OverviewEdit

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  • What is the mission and purpose of the FDC?
The purpose of the FDC process is to make allocations to FDC-eligible Wikimedia entities, based on an assessment of the extent to which requested funding will enable those entities to have an impact on realizing the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. This assessment will be a function of both how much impact their proposed activities are likely to have and how well the entities are situated to execute their plans responsibly and well.
There are four main activities in the FDC process:
  1. Assessing the likely impact of plans against the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement;
  2. Assessing the ability of the eligible entities to execute those plans responsibly and well;
  3. Allocating funding to requesting entities on the basis of those assessments; and
  4. Collecting and sharing learnings from funding activities to increase the movement's ability to achieve impact more broadly.
  • What funding is the FDC responsible for making recommendations on? How will the amount be determined?
Each year, the WMF Board creates an annual plan that divides funds raised by Wikimedia project sites into three types:
  1. Funds for the Foundation's core operations;
  2. Funds for the Foundation's operating reserves; and
  3. Funds for dissemination to movement entities, including individuals, chapters, other entities, and the Foundation itself, for activities that support the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement.
The FDC makes recommendations to the WMF Board for how to disseminate this third category of funds.

EligibilityEdit

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  • Who is eligible to apply for funds through the FDC?
A description of the eligibility criteria can be found in the eligibility section of the FDC portal.
  • One of the eligibility requirements is “compliance with US and local laws”. How will I know if I have met this requirement?
To be in compliance with US laws, entities should have three things in place:
  1. Entities should have proper controls and written policies in place to prevent any money laundering activities through the entity. This includes processes and controls to prevent funds from being used for any illegal activities or terrorist financing.
  2. Entities should have proper controls and written policies in place to prevent the grant funds from being used for political or legislative activities. Requests for funds supporting political and legislative activities require close WMF review for regulatory reasons and therefore are only issued by the Project and Event Grants Program, not the FDC.
  3. Entities should have proper controls and written policies and records evidencing the use of the grant funds and that they were all used for their intended charitable purposes.
Entities should have policies and controls in place to ensure the entity is in compliance with any applicable local laws, regulations and requirements. The FDC may require a certification of compliance from an entity's local legal counsel or from their Board.
  • What kind of information will the WMF collect from our entity as a part of the eligibility process?
To comply with US laws, the Foundation conducts two checks during the proposal process. In the first step, which takes place after final eligibility is announced, the names of all Board members and Executive Director (if applicable) of eligible entities will be run in a database that searches for potential matches with terrorist watch lists. If there a potential match is found, WMF staff will follow up with the entity to request more information. The second step takes place after the Board decision is made and before the grant agreement is executed. Here, WMF staff will ask for the names of all individuals who have access to the entity's bank accounts, along with the name of the person who will sign the grant agreement. This list of names is run against the same watch lists. Again, if a potential match is found, staff will follow up to request more information.
  • How will entities know whether they meet the compliance requirements for FDC eligibility?
The Wikimedia Foundation will work with entities to determine eligibility for FDC funding. This is process outlined in the eligibility section of the FDC portal.
  • If an entity’s eligibility status is determined to be “YES, IF”, can they become eligible for the upcoming round?
Yes. An entity’s eligibility status is determined to be “YES, IF” when an entity has met all of the FDC eligibility criteria required to be eligible EXCEPT for a moderate number of compliance issues related to contractual obligations or US and local laws.
If this eligibility gap is closed with the completion of all criteria by the final proposal deadline (October 1 for Round 1 and March 1 for Round 2), then the entity is eligible to submit a proposal for that round.
  • What happens if an entity is found to be ineligible for FDC funds?
If entities are found to be ineligible due to compliance issues, they must work with the Wikimedia Foundation to create a plan for coming into compliance before they are eligible to receive funds. Those that are ineligible due to other reasons can seek funding from the Project and Event Grants Program or other granting entities. More on this process is outlined in the eligibility section of the FDC portal.
  • Is there an appeals process for eligibility decisions beyond the WMF staff determination?
The FDC eligibility criteria are a set of objective measures that can be tracked and monitored by Wikimedia Foundation staff. Most of these criteria are based on compliance with contractual obligations or with US and local law and are therefore objectively verifiable based on the details of the policy in question.
While there is no official appeals process for eligibility decisions, entities who are not eligible are encouraged to reach out to the WMF staff to better understand reasons for ineligibility if they are not clear. In addition, entities may submit feedback to the Ombudsperson. For details on this process see the feedback and continuous improvement section of the portal.

Proposal ProcessEdit

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  • What types of funds can be requested through the FDC process?
Entities that are eligible for the FDC process can apply for general funds to help support their annual plans. Such plans will typically include:
  1. The staff and operations of the organization as determined to be appropriate; and
  2. Any program expenses related to specifically-identified activities that the organization plans for the year
In these cases, the organization will be held accountable for the impact it achieves as opposed to the specific line-item costs that it undertakes. For more on this distinction, see the section about types of funds available.
  • Is there a minimum/maximum funding limit entities can request through the FDC?
No. The FDC evaluates applications from eligible entities based on their likely impact in supporting the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. Entities should apply for the amount of funds they require to achieve the highest level of impact based on their proposed activities, organizational capabilities, and past track record of success.
During the first three years, the FDC will follow a set of articulated guidelines to support the transition into the new funds dissemination process:
  • In Year 1, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 100% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.
  • In Year 2, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 80% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.
  • In Year 3, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 80% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.
  • Can entities apply for multi-year funding?
The FDC process will only result in allocations on an annual basis and entities may only request funds for 12-month funding periods-- no multi-year grants will be given. However, entities may outline multi-year initiatives or programs in their applications. While funding will only be allocated for the year in question, the FDC will evaluate requests for subsequent years with a bias toward providing sufficient funds to complete multi-year projects as originally proposed, assuming the fund-seeking entity is making sufficient progress on its multi-year projects as previously proposed (e.g., projects are on track to achieve their anticipated goals).
  • Can entities request funds from the FDC twice in one fiscal year (i.e., in both Round 1 and Round 2)?
Entities can only request funds from the FDC once per FDC funding cycle (July - June), and entities may only request funds for a 12-month funding period. FDC funding is meant to cover annual plans and thus the expectation is that entities will request what they need in whichever round they submit a proposal (one exception is if funds are being requested for political or legislative activities, in which case additional funds may be requested through the Project and Event Grants Program).
  • Can entities request funds for part of a year?
Entities may only request funds for a 12-month funding period. Funding periods of longer than or shorter than 12 months will not receive funding through the FDC, except under very special circumstances approved by the WMF Board of Trustees.
  • Can an entity request funds for a funding period that is not the same as the entity's fiscal year?
Entities may request funds for any 12-month funding period; however, each proposal must include an annual plan or plans that cover the entire duration of the funding period requested. If the entity's annual plans coincide with the entity's fiscal year and the entity is applying for a funding period that is different from its fiscal year, this may require that 2 annual plans are submitted. Alternatively, the entity may choose to publish an annual plan that coincides with the funding period of its proposed FDC allocation. Receiving funds for a 12-month period other than the entity's fiscal year may increase the amount of reporting required, since the entity may be required to comply with any reporting requirements aligned with its fiscal year as well as FDC reporting requirements aligned with the funding period of the entity's FDC allocation.
  • Can entities request funds for a funding period that is all or partially in the past?
Entities receiving grants may not apply for funding for a funding period that is all or partially in the past.
  • What is the difference between the Annual Plan Grants Program (FDC process) and the Project and Event Grants Program?
There are a number of differences between the Annual Plan Grants Program (FDC process) and Project and Event Grants Program that are summarized in this table.
  • Will the Project and Event Grants Program fund part time staff?
Yes, under specific circumstances. The Project and Event Grants Program will provide project funding, which will support specific projects or programs in which funds are tied to specific line-item activities. If an entity has a specific project that requires temporary or part-time staff specifically focused on the activities of that project, they may request funds for this in their project grant request to the Project and Event Grants Program.
In the first year of the FDC process, there may be some chapters/entities who have full time staff positions currently supported by the Grants Program. If you are in this situation, please get in touch with grants wikimedia.org to clarify the situation. Without compromising on programmatic and financial accountability, we are committed to being as responsive and flexible as possible, as we learn through this first, pilot year of the FDC. The Grants program will also make good on commitments given to entities before the FDC process was created, i.e. when the notion of "annual grants" was discussed.
  • Can entities apply for funds from both the FDC and the Project and Event Grants Program?
Entities that receive funds through the FDC cannot receive funds from the Project and Event Grants Program in the same fiscal year (July–June). There is one exception: requests for grants supporting political and legislative activities cannot be requested through the FDC process, but can be requested through the Project and Event Grants Program.
  • I see that applicants cannot request funds for political or legislative activities through the FDC. What is the definition of political or legislative activities?
A definition of political and legislative activities can be found here.
  • How do entities apply for funds through the FDC process?
Information about the application process is outlined in the application section of the portal.
  • When do entities apply for funds through the FDC?
The FDC will review applications for funding twice a year - October 1 and March 1. A complete timeline outlining this process can be found on the FDC portal.
  • What language should applications and reports be submitted in?
Applications and reports to the FDC must be completed in English. Applicants may request help from FDC staff in enlisting the community's assistance in the task of translation, but applicants are ultimately responsible for ensuring their application and supporting text are correctly and fully translated.
  • How entities get help applying for funds through the FDC?
Entities may seek input, feedback, and support from FDC staff and from voluntary peer reviewers by drafting their applications on the portal before the application deadline and reaching out to request support. For more on this process see the application steps section of the portal.
  • Can entities edit their applications once they are posted?
Entities may make modifications to their applications at any time before the application deadline. Once the deadline has passed, no further modifications may be made. Immediately following the application deadline there will be a two-week open comment period during which staff and community members may ask questions or make comments about specific applications. During this time, applicants can make comments or clarifications on the public comment page of their application but they may not make changes to the application itself.

Proposal Evaluation, Recommendation, and Decision-Making ProcessEdit

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  • What roles do the FDC, FDC staff, and Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees play in making allocations through the FDC process?
There are many stakeholders involved in the funds dissemination process. Learn more about the roles of these stakeholders here.
  • By what criteria will applications be evaluated?
Applications will be evaluated on each eligible entities' ability to execute their plans well, and the plans' likely impact against the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. A more complete set of eligibility criteria can be found here.
  • Is it possible that an entity might receive partial or no funding?
Yes, entities that apply for funds might receive partial or no funding. FDC members will use evaluation criteria to assess each application and may determine that an entity should not receive any or all funds.
  • What happens if an entity wants to submit a complaint about the funding allocation it has received?
Entities can submit a formal complaint to the two board representatives who sit on the FDC, who will in turn present the complaint to the WMF Board at the same time it considers the FDC recommendation. To submit a complaint please visit here.

ReportingEdit

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  • What type of reports will entities be required to submit once they have received funds through the FDC process?
Only entities with funded proposals will be required to submit reports. Entities should carefully review the Reporting Requirements listed here.
Reporting requirements may be changed by the FDC or the WMF. Currently, within 30 days of the end of each quarter, funds recipients will be required to submit a quarterly progress report. Within 90 days of end of the funding period, funds recipients will be required to submit an impact report for each allocation of funding they receive. In addition, an audited financial report is required within 120 days of the end of the funding period.
  • What is the purpose of the reporting requirements?
Effective reporting is fundamental to openness and transparency in the movement, as each entity is responsible to report to both editors and donors on its use of movement funds. Reporting enables entities to evaluate their work, learn from one another, and contribute to the movement's knowledge of how to make impact. Reports also support continuous improvement of the FDC. Visit the section on reporting requirements to learn more.

FDC Roles and ResponsibilitiesEdit

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  • Who can be an FDC member? How many FDC members are there?
The FDC is made up of nine voting members and two non-voting representatives from the WMF Board of Trustees. Individuals must meet certain criteria before they can become members. Information about the number of FDC members and FDC membership eligibility can be found on the FDC membership page.
  • How are FDC members selected?
FDC members will be selected both through Board appointments and community elections. Information about FDC member selection can be found in the FDC membership selection section.
  • Do FDC members have term limits?
The term of FDC membership will be two years, with a round of either elections or appointments every year (election years will coincide with elections for the community-elected seats on the Board of Trustees, to streamline processes and communications). There will be no term limits, so FDC members may serve multiple consecutive terms so long as they are re-elected or re-appointed. More information about FDC member term limits can be found in the FDC membership selection section.
  • What happens if FDC members become inactive or resign in before their term ends?
To fulfill these duties, it will be critical for FDC members to remain active and responsive throughout their tenure. In extraordinary circumstances, if FDC members becomes chronically inactive without warning or resigns, the FDC Chair has the authority to request that the Board of Trustees vote to replace the member with a Board-appointed replacement to finish the term of the original member. More information can be found in the expectations for FDC members section.
  • Are FDC members compensated?
FDC members will not be compensated for their time; however they may claim reasonable expenses for the costs they incur in their role as an FDC member. Individuals interested in FDC membership should familiarize themselves with the Conflict of Interest provision.
  • Who is FDC Staff?
FDC Staff consists of members of Wikimedia Foundation (WMF)'s Grantmaking Team who support the FDC and the proposal process. Current FDC staff members are Anasuya Sengupta (Senior Director of Grantmaking), Katy Love (Senior Program Officer, FDC), and Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator). These are paid staff of Wikimedia Foundation. In addition to these designated staff, other WMF staff members may support the FDC process as needed. For example, the FDC process is supported by WMF's Finance and Administration Team, Legal Team, and other members of WMF's Grantmaking Team.
  • What does FDC Staff do?
FDC Staff members support the FDC and the proposal process, but are not members of the FDC and do not make decisions about funding proposals or recommending proposals to the Board of Trustees. FDC Staff does formulate an objective Staff Assessment for each proposal, and does supply information about the proposals and the entities applying to the FDC during its deliberations. FDC Staff also administers the grants and other funds allocations made as a result of the FDC and the Board's decisions, and supports the operations of the FDC itself.

FDC Process Continuous ImprovementEdit

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  • What does it mean that the FDC is in a two-year “trial period”?
For the first two years, the FDC will be in a trial period with special oversight and evaluation in addition to the regular process outlined above. The FDC Advisory Group and the WMF Board will play a special role in the development and assessment of the FDC during this period. Please visit the continuous improvement page for more information about the trial period.
  • How will the FDC assess its progress and evolve to increase its effectiveness over time?
Because of their role as promoters and enablers of high impact activities, the FDC will become a center for thought leadership about what works to support the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. To share this wisdom, the FDC will publish an annual "report" providing reflections and learnings from the grantmaking work they do. Please visit the continuous improvement page for more information about the continuous improvement process.
  • How can I submit feedback on how to improve the FDC process?
The Wikimedia community is encouraged to participate in the continuous improvement process for the FDC. One way to do this is to provide feedback on the process through the Ombudsperson.
  • What is the role of the Ombudsperson?
The FDC Ombudsperson plays an important role in continuous improvement of the funds dissemination process. The Ombudsperson receives and publicly documents complaints, supports investigations, and publishes an annual report on feedback received. Visit the FDC portal page on the Ombudsperson role to learn more about this role.
  • How is the Ombudsperson selected?
The Ombudsperson is elected for a two-year term through a community election. Please visit the FDC portal page on the Ombudsperson role to see how the Ombudsperson is selected.

Community InvolvementEdit

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  • How can the community be involved in the FDC process?
There are three ways community members can get involved in the FDC process:
  1. Reviewing and evaluating funds requests.
  2. Helping select FDC members and the ombudsperson.
  3. Submiting feedback on the FDC process
Visit the community participation section of the FDC portal to learn more.
  • What is the Community Review Period / Open Comment Period?
After the deadline for submitting new proposals for each time, community members are encouraged to review and comment on open all or any open proposals, and to engage with other community members, entities, and FDC Staff in on-Wiki discussions about each proposal. Community members may choose to engage in discussions about any proposal: many will choose only to review or comment on one or a few proposals.
This review period lasts between 3 and 4 weeks. For 2018-2019 round 1, the community review period is Template:FDC date/Community review period/2018-2019 round 1.
To review proposals now, please visit FDC portal/Proposals to learn if any are currently open for review.
For more information, please visit FDC portal/Community participation.
  • Do comments from the community influence the FDC's decisions?
The community's comments and questions help the FDC make decisions. They are read and reviewed by FDC Staff before FDC Staff compose Staff Assessments and are also considered directly by the FDC during deliberations. Community comments are essential to review proposals effectively.
  • If my entity is requesting funds, should I respond to comments from the community in addition to comments from FDC staff?
Yes, it is expected that entities engage actively with the community during the Community Review Period and respond in a complete and timely way to questions and requests from community members as well as the FDC and FDC Staff. Entities should ensure that a representative from their organization is actively monitoring the discussion page of their proposals so that the appropriate representative from the entity may respond to comments and questions from the community.
  • May I comment on proposals after the community review period has ended?
Of course you may comment on proposals at any time; however, the FDC and FDC Staff will not be able to consider comments from the community that are delivered after the Community Review Period has ended. Furthermore, entities are no longer required to engage actively in these discussions after the review period has ended.
  • Why does the community review period end? Why can't it remain open until a decision is delivered?
The FDC and FDC Staff take community comments into consideration when evaluating or assessing funding proposals. FDC Staff require a set time period for community review so that they may ensure that the community's comments receive adequate consideration when composing Staff Proposal Assessments, and the FDC also needs adequate time to review staff assessments, proposals, comments, and responses before each round of deliberations. It also helps entities manage the proposal review process, which may be time consuming for them at well, so that they may engage more deeply with community discussion during the period designated.