Citizen access to public records is the law of the land in all U.S. states and territories, and in the District of Columbia.
Unfortunately, that does not mean those access rights aren’t frequently threatened or that freedom of information (FOI) principles – manifested in both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state FOI laws – are strictly followed.
It takes diligence and persistence to ensure that that those rights are neither violated nor weakened, and NFOIC is always there to fight that fight.
In the states and across the nation, NFOIC and its coalitions stand guard as responsible stewards to your right to open, transparent and accessible government and other public institutions against attempts to diminish your access to your public information and public officials.
NFOIC is a nonpartisan alliance of nonprofit, citizen-driven state FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys working together to protect your right to open government and create greater government transparency.
Our member coalitions fight government secrecy at the state and local level all over the country.Our mission is to make sure every state and local government has laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.
NFOIC extends an invitation to all national or regional FOI organizations, FOI committees of both state or national journalistic societies, and nonprofit state, regional or national organizations with an expressed concern for open and transparent government and freedom of information to join NFOIC. Attorneys specializing in First Amendment issues and individual citizens with a concern about First Amendment issues are also invited to become supporters.
See a map of states with open-government coalitions. If your state doesn’t have a coalition, consider starting one.
Active Membership includes any state-level or regional Freedom of Information or First Amendment organization in the U.S., including any academic center or organization associated with an academic center, that receives the approval of the NFOIC Board of Directors. Active member benefits and services include:
Internal communications and online collaboration with other transparency advocates across the country, including webinars on FOI topics
Access to a national network of FOI supporters to help rally around challenges or issues in your state.
Sustainability and project matching grant opportunities for state coalitions to help support their programs, education and other services, and the opportunity for a startup grant for new coalitions.
Knight FOI Litigation Fund: NFOIC administers the fund, which offers financial support in open government lawsuits, fueling and assisting the pursuit of important FOI cases. While the grants are available to anyone who qualifies, each affiliate is asked to review applications from their states to keep them connected and possibly involved with the litigation in their jurisdiction.
Annual FOI Summit: NFOIC conducts the annual two-day event that focuses on topics and trends in FOI, state and local government transparency and open government legislation and tips for transparency advocacy. NFOIC provides travel vouchers to offset costs of attending the annual FOI Summit to each state coalition.
Opportunity to nominate your state’s transparency hero for induction into the Open Government Hall of Fame.
Participation in the Biennial Open Government Survey: The survey primarily polls journalists and attorneys about their dealings with local, state and federal governments, quasi-public governing bodies, public universities, police departments and local school boards to identify issues, challenges and trends in FOI requests.
Media relations: NFOIC receives media inquiries and we reach out to our members to respond to those requests and when appropriate pair them with inquiring journalists.
Education and training: Directly or through our affiliate member organizations, NFOIC provides education and training services to public sector groups and government agencies to administer transparency and FOI requirements.
Frequent news and information from local, state, national and international news sources of stories, studies and announcements on FOI policies, open government, open data and government transparency topics.
If your organization would like to be considered for membership by the NFOIC Board of Directors, please fill out this form. In addition to basic contact information, you will need to upload copies of your bylaws, proof of your non-profit status and proof of incorporation.