The Sunlight Foundation works to help citizens better understand what government is doing. While Sunlight has traditionally focused on the United States, their international work, initiated in 2013 with a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, supports the work of similar civil society organizations around the world, including those seeking to improve parliamentary transparency and public access to information about how elections are financed.
About the Grantee
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Grants to this Grantee
for the videoconferencing project
A videoconferencing grant to the Sunlight Foundation will improve communication among internal staff and with external partners, in particular with international groups. Sunlight Foundation currently has staff in several locations across the US, including staff at its main DC office, a team in Boston as well as colleagues in New York and Colorado. The need for videoconferencing equipment has also increased as Sunlight has expanded its international work and is increasingly communicating with international partners. The communication needs of Sunlight staff aren’t met by conference calls as staff often want to incorporate websites and online presentations. As a result, staff most often use Google Hangout or Skype to communicate. Even then there are limitation as these types of tools aren’t meant to support presentations or website links. Sunlight staff have found workarounds to address the needs of their meetings, but this drains staff time, and the videoconferences they have patched together run into technical problems and often suffer from poor audio quality. Professionalizing Sunlight’s videoconferencing capabilities with greatly reduce the costs to staff and facilitate better communication and collaboration with partners.
for the development of a new international program to promote government transparency
Over the past five years, the Sunlight Foundation has dramatically expanded access to vital government information for American citizens and journalists, empowering the public with user-friendly tools to engage in online collaboration and dialogue and to pursue accountability with their public officials. Through this new program, Sunlight will work with partner non-governmental groups in a few target countries to sharpen their advocacy strategies to promote government and corporate transparency. Sunlight will adapt its current tools to meet the needs of national-level activists and technologists in other countries, develop new tools, organize staff exchanges, and monitor and analyze governments’ progress.
for development of open-source software that reveals the patterns of influence behind public comments
The Sunlight Foundation promotes transparency and accountability of the U.S. government by using innovative technologies to provide expanded access to vital government information for citizens and journalists. This project focuses on identifying the influencers of the U.S. government’s public comment process, a process by which all federal agencies allow the public to comment on pending regulations. Sunlight recently created a comprehensive database of public comments, and this grant would support the creation of a free tool to identify common sources of these comments. The site would allow users to address questions such as: "What corporate interests were involved in the rulemaking?" "What proportion of the comments came from form letters?" "What rulemakings have been heavily commented on recently?"