June 19, 2015

The Sunlight Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting transparency in government, is losing four of its staffers within the coming weeks, Poynter has learned.

Gabriela Schneider, The Sunlight Foundation’s communications director, announced to staffers earlier this week in an email she was leaving to join Issue One, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging the passage of campaign finance reform.

The foundation is also losing senior fellow Bill Allison, who is leaving to take a job at Foreign Policy as a reporter covering transnational corruption. Allison, formerly the foundation’s editorial director, changed jobs after a restructuring earlier this year that saw the combination of the nonprofit’s reporting arm and communications team.

Also leaving Sunlight is James Turk, the head of the nonprofit’s open-source community devoted to using technology to transform government. Before becoming director of Sunlight Labs, Turk led the foundation’s Open States and Open Civic Data projects, according to his staff bio.

“I’ve been here for eight years and felt that it was probably time to move on,” Turk said in an email to Poynter Friday.

Evan Mackinder, a digital engagement manager at the Foundation, announced on Twitter Thursday that today would be his last day:

In an staff email announcing her exit, Schneider praised her colleagues and the work of the foundation, setting the departure date for Tuesday.

“I feel lucky and am grateful that an opportunity landed in my lap to continue to advocate for democracy for all of us, not just the wealthy elites who can afford to bankroll candidates for elected office,” Schneider wrote.

In his email to staff, Allison said that the decision to leave the foundation was a hard one after years of employment there.

“I cannot tell you all what a difficult choice this was,” Allison wrote. “When I started to seriously consider taking the dream job I was offered, I also realized how fortunate I have been to work with all of you.”

The departures come months after some big transitions for The Sunlight Foundation. Kathy Kiely, previously the managing editor at the nonprofit, was laid off in January after leading Sunlight’s reporting group for several years. Two other employees also left the foundation after its reporting team was folded into its communications arm.

Each of the departures follow the appointment of a new president at Sunlight, Chris Gates. Gates, who succeeded Sunlight Foundation co-founder Ellen Miller in September, told Politico he wanted further the foundation’s mission of shining a light on how decisions are made in government.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Gabriela Schneider’s first name. This article also inaccurately described Allison’s recent job change as a “demotion.” He still oversees the day-to-day management of Sunlight’s editorial operation.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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