The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology, open data, policy analysis and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all. Our vision is for 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. And, while our work began in 2006 with only a focus on the U.S. Congress, our open government work now takes place at the local, state, federal and international levels.
We believe that information is power, or, to put it more finely, disproportionate access to information is power. 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 and training. Sunlight’s Policy team pushes for improved transparency policy through NGO efforts like OpeningParliament.org, and by working directly with governments at all levels. Our writers cover political influence and government transparency using data journalism techniques.
These efforts have produced real results. Over the past decade, we served more than 4.2 billion API calls (and counting), indicating how much the data we liberated was 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. We won a major victory when, at our urging, the federal government agreed to begin the process of releasing all datasets held by federal agencies. We were part of a coalition that passed historic reforms to the Freedom of Information Act, the DATA Act, fundamentally changing how the public is informed about federal spending, and now is pushing for the passage of the OPEN Government Data Act.
Get involved in helping us open up government.