Policy Analyst

Open Cities Team, Sunlight Foundation


The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses civic technologies, open data, policy analysis, and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all. 

Sunlight’s Open Cities team is dedicated to making government data and information accessible for community use at the local level. We are a diverse team, passionate about empowering communities and centering them in Sunlight’s work advocating for open government at all levels. Access to information is a cornerstone of a thriving democracy, and we believe that now more than ever, communities and cities armed with information can be breeding grounds for positive change.  

As a Policy Analyst on the Open Cities team, you would be essential in ensuring that citizens have access to public data and information by actively helping cities implement good open data policy and practice. 

Day to day, you’d help support our projects with the What Works Cities Initiative (including the new Economic Mobility Initiative) and conduct community outreach, design research, and open data technical assistance involved in city engagements. You would leverage your open data policy experience in helping the Open Cities Team continually adapt and improve the efficacy of our collaborations with local governments.

You’d also have the opportunity to engage with and become a thought leader in the larger local open government space by representing Sunlight Foundation and the Open Cities Team at conferences, participating in panel discussions, and contributing articles to be published on Sunlight Foundation’s website and social channels.

If you’re passionate about taking a hands-on approach to build better governments that work for communities, we want to hear from you. 


Your responsibilities will include:

  • Supporting US cities in launching open data policies and programs, including acting as a primary point-of-contact
  • Training city staff in Sunlight’s strategies for designing community-centered open data
  • Facilitating partnerships between local governments and community stakeholders
  • Advising city staff on how to draft and enact open government policies 
  • Acting as a local policy subject matter expert and resource for city staff and your Open Cities Team colleagues
  • Generating storytelling content about city progress and trends in our field

Required qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Public Policy, or a related field; or equivalent, demonstrable career experience
  • 1–3 years of experience working directly with local governments 
  • Familiarity with current open data or civic tech trends
  • Ability to independently conduct project tasks including driving weekly city-support calls
  • Strong communication skills, including editorial and policy writing and public speaking
  • An open-minded and empathetic approach to stakeholder engagement
  • Desire to enable communities’ equitable access to information and decision-making
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally

Desired qualifications:

  • Experience developing or advising on policy directly with local governments
  • Experience leading or participating in design thinking workshops for the public sector
  • Experience conducting qualitative research, e.g. focus groups, interviews
  • Ability to think creatively about impactful applications of open data and information
  • Desire to help grow the Open Cities team’s reach and impact


This is a full-time position based at the Sunlight Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office. The Policy Analyst will report to Sunlight’s Executive Director. Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

Paid medical, prescription and dental coverage; disability and life insurance. Retirement plan with matching funds. Generous paid vacation, holiday, sick leave and family and medical leave benefits. Metro benefits and Flexible Spending Account.


How to apply

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with a preference for those submitted by October 25. Please submit your application using this form; you will need a résumé, cover letter, and one or two samples of your work or writing. (If you have any problems viewing or filling out the form, you can instead send this information and these attachments to jobs+opencities@sunlightfoundation.com, with the phrase “Policy Analyst – Open Cities” in the subject line.)

Principals only. No phone calls, please.

The Sunlight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer committed to fostering an inclusive work culture and assembling a diverse staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, veterans, and people from all underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.