The Transparency Fund

The Transparency Fund supports efforts to increase government transparency and accountability at the state and federal levels. The fund envisions an engaged public with equal access to information and institutions, and active participation in democracy and public life. We primarily support efforts that will have a national impact. The program will consider letters of inquiry from organizations or projects with a local or regional focus only if the proposed activities have a clear and demonstrable potential for national impact and/or replication in other localities or regions.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund primarily supports efforts that will have a national impact. The program will consider letters of inquiry from organizations or projects with a local or regional focus only if the proposed activities have a clear and demonstrable potential for national impact and/or replication in other localities or regions.

  • advocacy groups
  • community groups
  • scholarly or research institutions whose work advances policy goals
  • government agencies
  • nonprofit business associations or initiatives

The program encourages proposals that reflect collaboration between groups working on similar issues or between public and private entities.

Ineligibility Criteria

The fund does NOT provide funding for:

  • Programs or direct services
  • Lobbying activities
  • Start-up costs or seed monies
  • Annual fundraising drives
  • Projects undertaken by individuals
  • General support (for first-time grantees)
  • Capital costs, including equipment or real estate purchases/renovations
Purpose and Priorities

The Transparency Fund provides funding for a wide range of policy advocacy strategies, including:

  • Ensuring that national, state, and local governments operate transparently; increasing public access to information; and protecting the internet as an open, democratic communications infrastructure for speech, civic engagement, and knowledge exchange.
  • Strengthening accountability journalism on critical open society issues at the state and local level, with a focus on criminal and racial justice; revitalizing, expanding, and bringing greater diversity to the public media sector; and increasing and improving the production, distribution, and reach of international reporting for U.S. audiences.
  • Realizing equal access to the ballot for underrepresented and marginalized constituencies through national and state voter registration reform; state and local election administration reform; campaign finance reform; and redistricting.
  • Guaranteeing fair, impartial, and diverse courts at the state and federal levels; promoting greater diversity of thought, background, and experience in federal and state court benches; and bringing new and underrepresented ideas into debates about the role of law, the courts, and the Constitution in our democracy.
  • Building greater state and local advocacy capacity on transparency and integrity issues.
Guidelines

To be considered for funding from the Transparency Fund, applicants must first complete a letter of inquiry as indicated below. Letters of inquiry should be up to four (4) pages in length, including a project budget. Please do NOT submit supporting materials, such as brochures, press clips, newsletters, and annual reports.

All letters of inquiry must include:

  • Full contact information, including principal contact name, mailing address, phone, fax, and email;
  • A description of the organization that would undertake the proposed project;
  • A description of the project for which funds are sought, including a specific description of how the project's goals will be achieved;
  • A description of how the project would advance one or more of the fund's priorities; and
  • A preliminary project budget and amount requested.

The fund requests that all materials be submitted electronically in Word (.doc), Excel (.xls) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Incomplete inquiries will NOT be considered.

Please email your letter of inquiry and preliminary budget to samantha.lee@opensocietyfoundations.org.

The Transparency Fund accepts inquiries on a rolling basis. You will be notified within two to four weeks that your request has been received.