N.C. Open Government Coalition Wins Grant
The North Carolina Open Government Coalition was recently awarded a $35,000 operations grant from the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The funds will be used to support the work of the coalition for the next three years while it works to secure an endowment to support permanently the operations of the coalition's Sunshine Center. The Sunshine Center, which is part of the School of Communications at Elon University, works to improve community awareness of the state's open meetings and open records laws through education and outreach. The Sunshine Center also works to provide resources to citizens and other open government stakeholders.
The National Freedom of Information Council is housed at the University of Missouri and provides annual support to citizen drive efforts to establish freedom of information coalitions and organizations that protect the First Amendment.
"The North Carolina coalition has joined the ranks of vibrant, free-standing state groups, and we at NFOIC couldn’t be happier," said Charles Davis, executive director of the NFOIC and professor at the University of Missouri. "The grants program is aimed at growing and sustaining state FOI groups, and North Carolina has now taken the next major step forward, securing a permanent home. We couldn’t be happier."
The NFOIC also hosts an annual conference that brings the state coalitions and other stakeholders together to create a collective voice on the issue. A grant from the Knight Foundation supports the work of the NFOIC.
The funds from the NFOIC will allow the NC OGC to have a part-time director dedicated to the long term goals of the coalition, one of which includes hosting Sunshine Day.
"These operating funds are critical to our organization as we work to create a permanent presence in the state related to open government," said Jim Hefner, president of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition. "This financial support of open government work is a tribute to those in our state and elsewhere who hold dear the principles of good, effective, open government. The North Carolina Open Government Coalition is dedicated to these very principles. This funding toward the Sunshine Center will go a long way in protecting and expanding those principles as we move forward."
The NFOIC grant provides operating funds for two years and included a request that the coalition reapply for funding in the third year as it works to achieve its endowment goals. The coalition has an endowment goal of $500,000.
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