The following note was sent March 24, 2022, to members of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Dear coalition leaders and members:
We write today with an update regarding the future operations of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, as it transitions from a university-supported organization funded by one or two large grants, to a stand-alone organization.
In December 2021, we announced that the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, starting July 1, 2022, would handle NFOIC’s administrative duties, including collecting dues and donations, planning the annual FOI Summit, and managing Knight FOI Litigation Fund grants. Preparation for this transition is on pace to be completed in June.
Since then, NFOIC staff, Todd Fettig and Erika Benton, have been seeking large grants and donations, in the hopes of funding NFOIC staff, programming and strategic planning for the next few years.
It’s no secret that six-figure grants and donations are scarce in these times generally and in the open-government arena specifically. And, to date, Todd and Erika have not landed grants and gifts to maintain NFOIC staffing.
At the direction of the Board, staff in the next three months will turn full attention to ensuring a smooth and successful handoff of administrative duties to VCOG and programming responsibilities to the Board, other volunteers and partners.
Plans are taking shape to provide, without interruption, the benefits of NFOIC membership you value most, including hosting an annual FOI Summit, regular roundtable discussions, and conversations on the member listserv. These NFOIC benefits are possible, even without full-time paid staff.
At the start of NFOIC’s fiscal year on July 1, 2022, we expect to have a balance of about $80,000. While not enough to retain full-time paid staff, the balance will provide stability in a time of transition for NFOIC.
We are confident that these next steps are necessary in NFOIC’s evolution. This move returns NFOIC to its roots, as it started more than three decades ago, with administrative support from a member coalition, and with a singular focus of meeting the needs of its members.
We appreciate your understanding and feedback, and we welcome your questions, concerns and ideas. Thanks for all you do to promote government openness and transparency!
Todd Fettig, NFOIC executive director
David Cuillier, NFOIC board president
Megan Rhyne, VCOG executive director
Erika Benton, NFOIC external partnership coordinator