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Our Mission

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all. We do so by creating tools, open data, policy recommendations, journalism and grant opportunities to dramatically expand access to vital government information to create accountability of our public officials. Our vision is to use technology to enable more complete, equitable and effective democratic participation. Our overarching goal is to achieve changes in the law to require real-time, online transparency for all government information, with a special focus on the political money flow and who tries to influence government and how government responds. And, while our scope began with only a focus on the U.S. Congress, we now are defining open government on the local, state, federal and international level.

We believe that information is power, or, to put it more finely, disproportionate access to information is power. Indeed, we are committed to improving access to government information by making it available online, indeed redefining "public" information as meaning "online."

We approach our work in a number of ways. We work with thousands of software developers, local transparency activists, bloggers, on and off-line active citizens and journalists, involving them in distributed research projects, hackathons, targeted lobbying and training. Sunlight's Policy team pushes for improved transparency policy through NGO efforts like, and through traditional lobbying of government. Our reporters cover political influence stories both through reporting and through close collaboration with technical staff, leveraging computer-assisted reporting and data visualization techniques. And in Sunlight Labs, our team of technologists and designers create apps and websites to bring information directly to citizens, as well as building and maintaining APIs that power the applications of others.

These efforts have produced real results. To date, we have served more than 2.4 billion API calls (and counting), indicating how much the data we liberate is needed. Our reporting is frequently cited by the world's preeminent journalists. Our research has led to congressional hearings, and our tools have stripped problematic measures from bills. But we know that as government grows ever-more complex, we will all need better tools to navigate it to ensure democracy thrives.

Get involved in helping us open up government, one data set at a time.