The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), the NFOIC member organization that co-hosted the 2013 FOI Summit in New Orleans, has won a national award for its new "Sunshine Headquarters" Web portal from the Governmental Research Association (GRA).
GRA is a national organization of individuals and groups who study and make recommendations on state and local policy issues. The award was presented during the annual GRA conference held last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The GRA makes annual awards in three categories. PAR won the top award in the Most Effective Education category for its Sunshine Headquarters portal. The Most Effective Education Award recognizes research and educational activities that are designed to educate the public and public officials on governmental matters.
The goal of the Sunshine Headquarters is to educate citizens on the Open Meetings Law, Public Records Law and Campaign Finance Law in Louisiana. The Sunshine Headquarters portal was launched in March 2013 and can be accessed via PAR’s homepage at www.parlouisiana.org. The portal provides a variety of tools, including educational materials, publications, interactive quizzes and current news related to sunshine laws. PAR also provides an updated Citizens Rights Card, available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The site offers resources for newcomers to this topic and more seasoned professionals. Research Director Alison Neustrom is the project manager of the Sunshine Headquarters.
PAR received funding for the Sunshine Headquarters from the Open Society Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the IMPACT program at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. This project was done in conjunction with the New Orleans Coalition on Open Government.