Far from shutting down, the Sunlight Foundation is busier than ever - Technical.ly DC

Civic

Jan. 30, 2017 8:03 am

Far from shutting down, the Sunlight Foundation is busier than ever

In which we get some answers on what happened after that confusing announcement in September.

Open data isn't enough by itself.

(Photo via Twitter)

Back in September, Sunlight Foundation cofounder and Board Chairman  published a blog post to the open gov nonprofit’s website suggesting a somewhat uncertain future for the foundation.

After an unsuccessful search for a new executive director, the organization had decided to “explore alliances with other organizations similarly motivated, perhaps merging with one of them, in an arrangement that advances and preserves Sunlight’s mission and identity with increased efficiency and effectiveness,” he wrote at the time. The public outcry, from open gov advocates and journalists and more, was immediate and vociferous.

Then, in December, a new post appeared — “Sunlight will endure,” the headline read. “Sunlight will continue its role as a nonpartisan advocate for open government under the leadership of Executive Director John Wonderlich.”

So what changed?

Alexander Howard, a longtime open gov activist and reporter, who joined Sunlight in April 2016, told Technical.ly that the initial communication from September was intended as “a marker” — at that point Klein truly believed that the best path forward for Sunlight was some sort of merger.

But, following the response to this announcement, Klein “decided that he wanted Sunlight to endure as an independent institution.” Of course, there’s also the matter of what happened between September and December on the federal stage (ahem, Donald Trump) and the opportunity the various actions of the new administration pose for the kind of work Sunlight does.

Advertisement

Yes, Sunlight did shut down Labs, the orgs tech tools arm, and yes, Sunlight did let go of some staff. “We did go through a very difficult existential period,” Howard told Technical.ly. But that existential period was just that — a moment in Sunlight’s continued quest to “preserve and defend an open government by, for and of the people” (as Klein and Wonderlich put it in their “Sunlight will endure” post).

Wonderlich actually served as Sunlight’s interim executive director during the search for a candidate last year, so he has now just taken this role on more permanently, Howard said. And Howard himself got a promotion — he’s now the Sunlight Foundation’s deputy director. “I’m very proud to be leading Sunlight right now,” he said.

“We are smaller than we were, and now we’re thinking about how to grow from here.”

You must appreciate accurate, relevant and productive community journalism.  Support this sort of work from professional reporters with seasoned editors.  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month -30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

Phone2Action landed a growth investment from a North Carolina-based equity firm

Civic technologists: Propose a session for the 2019 Code for America Summit

Byte Back raises more than $10,000 in #GivingTuesday campaign

SPONSORED

DC

Building a data acquisition system? Don’t make this mistake

Washington, DC

SmartLogic

Account Executive (DC)

Apply Now
Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Full Stack Developer

Apply Now
Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Senior Full Stack Software Engineer

Apply Now

Byte Back wins $775,000 grant to expand to Baltimore in 2019

CommonLit nabs $3.5 million grant from Google

Tech Lady Hackathon changes name to ‘Tech, Rebalanced’

SPONSORED

DC

This fast-growing SaaS company aims to be a force for change in the energy industry

DC

EngagedMD

Full Stack Software Developer

Apply Now
Alexandria, VA

The Motley Fool

Software Developer

Apply Now
DC

TransitScreen

Account Executive

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Dc

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!