The OER Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation responsible for raising the funds to run WikiEducator.org and WikiResearcher.org. We need money to pay for our infrastructure, for example: hosting the servers, technical support, software development and honoraria for our facilitators so we can continue to provide free training for thousands of educators in more than 130 countries around the world.
As a non-profit all surplus funds we generate will be reinvested back into the development of OER courses, open text books etc. For example we will pay authors, learning designers and multi-media experts to create OER courses and open text books which we will be free to reuse, adapt and modify. The OER Foundation will ensure that WikiEducator.org, WikiResearcher.org will not carry advertising -- so we can't raise funding through advertising revenue on our OER sites.
Generating Income & Support From Multiple Sources
The OER Foundation generates income and support from multiple sources, including:
- Grant funding (from international donor agencies and international development agencies). For example, strategic projects currently funded by the Hewlett Foundation and the financial contribution from the Commonwealth of Learning to help pay for the hosting of our servers.
- Institutional membership contributions from tertiary education institutions. WE has a range of different membership categories ranging from a base line membership - to bronze, silver, gold and platinum membership levels. (http://wikieducator.org/OERF:Join#Table_of_OERF_membership_benefits_-_Detailed_Comparison ) . Each membership category provides a range of benefits and services. As a global project it is possible for the OER Foundation to design a model whereby the dollar value of services exceeds the cost of voluntary membership contributions :-)
- Voluntary public donations -- WE will implement a donation button on our site for people who would like to support our international work. Every year we will run a global donation campaign with the first campaign scheduled for February / March 2010, scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of WikiEducator (February 14, 2007).
- Government and corporate contracts, for example the work we are doing for the Ministry of Education in New Zealand to establish a national OER commons for New Zealand teachers. (see: http://wikieducator.org/OERNZ_News)
- Special Events & Campaigns -- WE is open to receiving support from special events and campaigns, such as in-country salons, fundraising events for a favourite charity.
- 3% Honesty Contribution -- The OER Foundation uses an honesty box approach where we encourage our community members to donate 3% of the gross contract value or grant as a contribution to our operational expenditure and support for our open source community.
Global Reach & International Scale: Bridging Developing & Developed Countries
WikiEducator has extensive reach in the developing world and we recognise that many organisations may not have the money to become contributing members. Therefore we have a special category of membership called FTE4WikiEducator Members. These organisations will allocate dedicated staff time and the OER Foundation will seek to find sponsorship from platinum members and the international donor community to assist in covering the costs of membership.
Commitment to Open Philanthropy
As you know, the OER Foundation subscribes to open philanthropy which means that all our planning documents are developed openly and transparently in the wiki :-). If you're interested you can review our strategic plans here:
OER is a sustainable and renewable resource -- and working together on an international scale we can achieve more than working alone!
Recruitment Drive for Founding Members: to December 2010
WE have commenced our recruitment drive for Founding Members. Any organisation who becomes a contributing member or institutional donor partner before 31 December 2010 will be recognised and recorded as a "Founding Member". In addition, the OER Foundation will work with Founding Members to profile their organisation with a featured interview or appropriate case study. This will be posted on our front page news and circulated through our international community lists. The WikiEducator website typically generates between 8 and 10 million hits per month. This is an appropriate way to confirm your organisation's leadership and commitment to the core mission of education with a focused education audience.
Help the OER Foundation make the future happen and be recorded in history of transforming education for the better.
So spread the word, blog about what we're doing and we will be able to tell our grandchildren how WE nurtured and succeeded in building a sustainable OER ecosystem.
Wayne Mackintosh, Ph.D.
Director, OER Foundation
Founder, WikiEducator email