NFOIC and its state member coalitions provide a diverse offering of programs and services to support national and state and local initiatives to advance open, transparent and accessible state and local public institutions. NFOIC serves as a hub for state FOI organizations --for connecting members as a central source for communication and coordination, and historically, as a provider of financial and in-kind resources to support programs and projects and sustain staff.
Externally, NFOIC promotes its open government services and programs including:
- The Knight FOI Litigation Fund to provide fees for FOI litigation; identifying and promoting best practices and the development of professional standards around FOI administration in state and local public institutions; and, data research and collection that supports evidence-based policy making in place of ideological-based decision making.
- "Heroes of the 50 States" - the State Open Government Hall of Fame to recognize long-term contributions of individuals to open government in their respective states.
- The annual FOI Summit features the exchange of ideas, experiences and discussions about the latest issues and trends around freedom of information laws, policies and practices at the state and local levels across the U.S.
- The national FOI-L Listserv Internet discussion established by NFOIC and supported and hosted by Syracuse University, The Listserv is a national discussion board to facilitate conversations and provide an large audience to view and discuss posts covering all government levels of FOI, open government, and First Amendment rights.
- Open Government Training and Education is offered by many member coalitions who provide training and education seminars on open government laws applicable in their states.
- The NFOIC State Challenge grant is a new grant program available to eligible, Active state coalition members. The grants require a 1-to-1 financial match by the grantee and can be used for projects that further public access to records, meetings and officials, and also for sustainable purposes that supports the grantee's mission, goal or objectives.
- NFOIC conducts evidence-based research into core topics of state FOI and open government. This data provides accurate descriptions of the challenges of transparency, and helps create the foundation for needed reforms. For example, the 360-degree FOI audit project reviewed state and local government agencies public record fees through a series of public record requests with follow up surveys and interviews. The inconsistency found in the findings across agencies demonstrate a need for better policies and procedures surrounding FOI administrative practices.
Important programs and services administered by state organizations within their jurisdictions show a positive impact on improving open government at the state and local levels. Many of these programs are replicated across other states, however, they are tailored to meet the unique needs for each state. These include:
- Tracking state legislation affecting new or existing FOI laws and policies and issuing reports;
- Writing or signing on to Amicus Curiae briefs, or filing complaints with states regarding transparency violations
- Providing state residents with a central resource for communication, education and instruction (e.g., citizen’s guide) about their state’s FOI laws and policies and assisting the public with open record pursuits;
- Participating in research projects that generates data for use in national initiatives by NFOIC;
- Training and education programs for the journalists, attorneys, residents and for public sector officials;
- Maintaining strong ties with state news media organizations; and
- Participating in state and national annual Sunshine Week activities.