FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

June 8, 2015 12:24 PM

Hackers are not usually associated with the civil sector, but a hackathon organized by the Civic Data Alliance on Saturday brought together coders, designers and non-profits to create data projects for the public good.

As part of the national Code for America Day, more than two dozen volunteers hunkered down for eight hours of designing, coding and sifting through publicly available data at Code Louisville, 252 E Market Street. Representatives from the non-profit sector and Louisville Metro Government, including Mayor Greg Fischer, also participated in discussions about how apps and data could improve the flow of information and resources to the public.  Continue>>>


September 26, 2014 8:13 AM

Miami-Dade County will work with three Code for America app developers to solve civic problems, the county announced Tuesday. The developers will create apps to help the county's Regulatory and Economic Services department make more data available to residents and streamline its services.

The county was one of seven governments chosen from 40 applicants. The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invested $75,000 to help the program launch in Miami.

ìForging strong partnerships between entrepreneurs, technology innovators and government can make a major impact in Miami,î said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. 'It will both enhance the county government's ability to connect with residents and open new paths for people to shape the future of our city as a place where ideas are built.' Continue>>>

May 12, 2014 9:52 AM

The open government movement has become super-charged over the last year. Largely in part to the people and organizations on the front lines. At the 2013 Code for America Summit held in San Francisco, California, I got a chance to speak with some of the people who are volunteering their time, finding better ways to make government work for us, and bridging the gap for citizens to access and participate in their government.

I asked them some questions to gather insight into why we’re experiencing more interest in civic hacking and civic participation. I also wanted to hear from Code for America brigade captains and fellows as well as civic community leaders to get a better understanding of what makes a great Code for America project.

Next, I focused on how these folks strive to create a culture of innovation in government both great and small. They shared some excellent wisdom with me. Like, Chase Wilson, from Code for Kansas City: he says the three keys to successful government innovation are hunger, awareness, and permission. Or, like, Abhi Nemani, from Code for America, who advises citizens to just keep asking questions. Continue>>>

February 8, 2014 11:00 AM

Three fellows from Code for America – the “Peace Corps for Geeks” – arrived in Lexington today to begin a 10-month partnership focused on improving neighborhood quality of life through more effective and interactive city government.

Winning a highly competitive selection process, Lexington is one of just 10 governments nationwide to get the opportunity to participate in Code for America this year.

Lexington was selected for the 2014 fellowship because “the city’s leadership is forward looking, committed to open government and innovation,” said Luke Norris, government relations director of Code for America. He added that Lexington has “a track record of engaging with its community to help solve problems.” Continue>>>

January 23, 2013 1:39 PM

From CNET News:

The U.S. government is hoping that hackers can help make the nation a better place.
The White House announced ... that it will kick off a "National Day of Civic Hacking" on June 1 and 2 and is inviting those with tech know-how to use their coding skills to improve communities across the country.
"Civic Hacking Day is an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans," the White House wrote in a statement.
The National Day of Civic Hacking was put together by a coalition of organizations, companies, and government agencies that includes Random Hacks of Kindness, Code for America, NASA, Department of Labor, and the U.S. Census Bureau.


January 26, 2012 9:09 AM

From Tech President:

San Francisco’s a town with a lot of mobile apps that can help its residents to navigate everyday life in the city. Routesy provides real-time transit information; Mom Maps helps both residents and tourist parents alike quickly locate kid-friendly places to hang out; Zonability helps make local zoning rules more accessible.


Earlier this month, Mayor Ed Lee announced that the city is partnering with digital age civic group Code for America to create an “accelerator,” where young programmers will be given the opportunity to peer at the innards of city government, and to imagine commercially viable solutions that could help San Francisco, as well as other city governments, to be more efficient. Google is seeding the project with $1.5 million, and the Kauffman Foundation is also providing an unspecified amount.

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