The Sunlight Foundation is the recipient of a new $4 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to further ongoing work in bringing technology-driven transparency and accountability to government. The grant will also the Washington, D.C.-based organization to serve as a cornerstone in the Knight Foundation’s open government grant making.
Over the next three years, Sunlight will use the Knight Foundation support to make more government data accessible, build tools to bring that data to the public and share with the growing open government community lessons learned from our work. These funds are the second-largest foundation grant received by Sunlight since its founding in 2006.
“While the ‘open data ecosystem’ is doing exciting things and expanding rapidly, there still remains a disconnect among the public and private sectors,” said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. “Knight’s commitment to help strengthen this community allows Sunlight to play a fundamental leadership role integrating all who work in this sphere from policy makers and data providers to civic hackers and government reformers to newcomers not yet part of this movement.”
“This investment goes one step further in applying technology to help people get the information they need and break down barriers to participation,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation. “Sunlight’s work will help improve access to government data, but also create a standard for turning that data into valuable information.”
The grant covers four main activities of the Sunlight Foundation’s work in supporting the open data ecosystem:
1. Improve data sets and tools
The grant will allow Sunlight to improve the interoperability, usability and expand how we gather and use data around legislative committee activity in Congress, state spending records and local government proceedings, just to name a few.
2. Strengthen partnerships
From established groups to regional organizations and other nonprofits and media outlets, Sunlight will build partnerships with these key actors and conduct trainings and provide hands-on expertise in how to nurture open government activities at the municipal level.
3. Build knowledge base
The grant gives Sunlight the ability to develop a team of designers, software developers, journalists and policy experts to evaluate the successes and failures of practices and tools within the field of open government data.
4. Share best practices
Through this grant, Sunlight will share the best practices and human-centered design lessons learned from this work and set priorities for the opengov community.
Sunlight is a nonpartisan, nonprofit supported by foundations and individuals, including Omidyar Network, Rockefeller Family Fund, Hewlett Foundation, Google.org and co-founder Mike Klein. This is the third grant received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; previous support was for a series of National Data Apps.
The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.