NFOIC and its state member coalitions provide a diverse offering of programs and services to support national, state and local initiatives to advance transparency and access in 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 resource provider to support programs, projects and sustainability. These include:
- FOI Policy Priorities – NFOIC and its network of state FOI coalition members identify and pursue open government legislative and policy reforms in state and local public institutions to improve the laws, judicial remedies and practice of public information dissemination.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) – NFOIC is working to integrate new voices into the government transparency world, recognizing that information is critical to empowering marginalized groups, and that new perspectives are essential to healthy civic engagement and democracy.
- Tracking Transparency Legislation – NFOIC hosts an umbrella account with BillTrack50 that allows all member coalitions to use this usually-paid service to identify, track and analyze state transparency-related legislation introduced in their state and across the country.
- Evidence-based research – presenting facts and data to challenges and solutions to the open, transparent and accessible government and the public’s right to know.
- Open Government Training and Education – provided by state coalition members to residents, organizations, journalists and attorneys to improve understanding of state open government laws and strategies to access public records and proceedings in their respective states.
- The annual National FOI Summit – a three-day exchange of ideas, collaboration and networking to strengthen efforts to improve government transparency and accountability in state and local public institutions.
- The Knight FOI Litigation Fund – a revolving loan fund that provide fees for FOI litigation by helping to defray upfront costs such as filing fees, depositions, court costs and other expenses associated with legal actions.
- The State Open Government Hall of Fame – a/k/a the “Heroes of the 50 States” that recognizes long-term contributions of individuals to open government and freedom of information.
- The national FOI-L Listserv – a NFOIC asset for 25 years, the national FOI-L listserv is a national discussion board to facilitate conversations and posts covering federal, state and local government FOI, open government, and First Amendment issues.
- Supporting the good work of others in the FOI Community – with our unique infrastructure of state FOI coalition members supported by a national outreach effort, NFOIC and members represents many interests and talents in the open government and FOI community.
Programs and services administered by state coalition organizations in their jurisdictions make a positive impact on improving open government. Many of their programs are replicated across other states, yet, they are tailored to meet the particular circumstances existing in each state. These include:
- Tracking state legislation affecting new or existing FOI laws and policies and creating calls to action;
- Writing and signing on to Amicus Curiae briefs;
- 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 press, broadcast, and independent news media organizations; and
- Leading their state’s involvement in the annual national Sunshine Week activities.