Siko Bouterse has announced that she will leave the Foundation on 25 February, the most recent in what has become a trend of departures from the organisation over the past few months. Bouterse joined the WMF nearly five years ago, first as head of community fellowships, then as head of grantmaking, with particular focus on the individual engagement grant scheme. She rose to be the director of community resources, responsible for some 13 staff. Bouterse is much respected among her staff and many members of the international community, and is regarded as a strong mentor. Among projects she has created or co-created are the IdeaLab on meta, the Inspire campaign to kickstart projects relevant to women, the WikiWomen's Collaborative, and the Teahouse, to help new editors on the English Wikipedia.
In her announcement to the WM mailing list, entitled Another goodbye, Bouterse wrote:
|Transparency, integrity, community and free knowledge remain deeply important to me, and I believe I will be better placed to represent those values in a volunteer capacity at this time. I am and will always remain a Wikimedian, so you'll still see me around the projects (User:Seeeko), hopefully with renewed energy and joy in volunteering.
Among others, former Board member Sam Klein wrote in the thread: "Hear, hear. You will always be tops in my book." SarahSV described Bouterse as "a strong supporter of women on Wikipedia and of improved community harmony." Sandra Rientjes, executive director of Wikimedia Netherlands, wrote: "It has been a real pleasure knowing you and working with you." Former English Wikipedia arbitrator Sydney Poore wrote: "Thank you for your enthusiasm and for being brave and bold in the way you support the community and staff. You will be missed."
The Signpost asked Bouterse by email to respond to the possible implication in her announcement that she no longer feels that the WMF’s direction or management are consistent with her personal or professional commitments to transparency, integrity, community, and free knowledge. We did not receive a reply by deadline.
Bouterse's portfolio continues to report to interim senior director of community engagement Maggie Dennis (User:Moonriddengirl), in whose abilities Bouterse wrote she has "full confidence".