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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan, non-profit institution that seeks to achieve its mission of increased government transparency by funding and building web-based technologies.

It was cofounded in 2006 by Ellen S. Miller, a longtime government employee and “advocate for disclosure of campaign finances,” and Michael Klein, a former securities lawyer who donated $3.5 million to the initial project.

In addition to making small and mid range grants to organizations and projects dedicated to uncovering connections between politics and money and liberating government data, Sunlight also creates its own tools for transparency via its team of technologists at Sunlight Labs, and produces original reporting.

Miller, who serves as the executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, also founded the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Campaign. Sunlight also started a small social network and organizing arm, the Sunlight Network.

The Foundation is governed by a six-person board of directors, and its advisors include Jimmy Wales, Yochai Benkler and Lawrence Lessig. It is funded by donation, and all of their donors — from corporations to individuals to philanthropic institutions — are made public, along with the size of their gift. Sunlight has reported over 800 million requests for their data, and says their original reporting has led to significant alterations to congressional proceedings.

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Primary author: Caroline O'Donovan. Main text last updated: June 12, 2014.
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