Ellen posted the following on her blog at Sunlight Foundation today:
It’s time for some personal and professional transparency.
After a long, challenging and very satisfying career in public interest work, I have decided that it’s time to retire. When I was a young congressional staffer, I thought changing the world was going to be a sprint. In the middle of my career, when I launched the Center for Responsive Politics and then started Public Campaign, I thought it was going to be a marathon and you just had to be a long distance runner; so I trained up for that. Now, after eight years building and running the Sunlight Foundation, I now see this process as a relay race — and one where I’m glad to say there are many other great people running alongside me, including the terrific team we have built here at Sunlight. It’s truly extraordinary. And it’s time to pass the baton.
I recently informed the Sunlight board of my intention to step down by the end of 2014. The board has appointed a search committee, and a job description for interested applicants for the Executive Director position will be posted soon. Before I leave, I’m going to make sure that Sunlight is in the strongest shape possible for my successor, because the work we do here is absolutely vital.
Sunlight’s uses of open data and the web have created an exploding interest in civic technologies as tools for accountability. Our mantra around openness and transparency — not just for governments but for society as a whole — have taken root and are becoming the norm. Our open (by default) data, software and platforms have pioneered a new standard for many organizations. And Sunlight’s vision to use technology to enable more complete, equitable and effective democratic participation has inspired many throughout the world.
I couldn’t be more pleased or grateful to all who have worked with me at Sunlight toward all these accomplishments. I especially want to single out and thank Mike Klein, Sunlight’s co-founder, who was an unwavering partner and personal inspiration during my tenure. I also couldn’t be more grateful for all the extraordinary support we’ve received, both large and small, for this work.
I truly believe that open and equal access to information is the bedrock of democracy. Without it, citizens cannot make informed decisions. With it, citizens learn who and what they can trust. This belief has always been the passion of my life as it will always be the Sunlight Foundation’s goal.
Ben Shute said:
Wow! That’s a major change in the nonprofit/advocacy world.
Congratulations to Ellen on a remarkable career.
I just retired – not sure if I’m flunking retirement or not.
All best wishes to you both for the years to come.
Nancy Cedar Wilson said:
Congratulations to Ellen!
What an impressive career! I’m sure she will be missed in that particular marathon!
It’s also a rather discouraging time for transparency-given the make-up of our Supreme Court currently (for just one instance-)
Thankfully, people like Ellen will keep us honest and aware!
Please let Ellen know how much I have always admired her and the Sunlight Foundation. Ellen truly exemplifies a strong, creative exceptional woman. I hope she enjoys her retirement
Bob T said:
OMG (if I may copy kid talk for a moment), is this even allowed? Have you considered that all of us old folks have relied on you to fight all those fights that we’ve sort of backed out of, not to mention it makes us feel a tad younger to have at least one activist friend?!
Of course you deserve to retire and I wish you the best. We’ll get used to it and eventually so will you!
Bill Plitt said:
How timely, given our conversations with others a week ago about your work. While you didn’t speak of the completion of this chapter of your work at Sunlight, you did stress that the foundation was a community of very strong people who were shouldering the burden of leadership. Perhaps that’s your legacy, and if so, what a gift! You will continue with your mission in some fashion
Congratulations on your announcement! BiLL, your greatest fan
Congratulations on “retirement” Ellen. Something tells me that you will still have your hands in the cookie jar, but I look forward to photos from all of your wonderful future adventures.
Larry Makinson said:
Egads! Nothing like going out on top after a brilliant, inspiring, and seriously effective career. (And I was beginning to think this day would never come.) Congratulations, Ellen. Now starts Phase 2…
Land Wayland said:
Knowing you Ellen, this is not retirement but only a shift in career. You have learned so much and thought so deeply about transparency and its essential role in the national dialog that now is the time to write a book that summarizes/expands on these thoughts and points the way to the next steps.
There are many who have not had been closely associated with Sunlight but who would be bold warriors in this quest and who would greatly benefit from an exposition of your thoughts on transparency (the next great page in American political consciousness) and your optimism about its prospects for growth.
Be a long time cheerleader and guide for the next three generations, or at least until another Ellen Miller comes along.
Thank you for working so hard and smart at the perpetual job of saving the American political dream from its enemies, domestic and domestic.
Congrats on your many years of ‘public service’.
You have worked wonders and have laid a strong
Foundation (commitment) for others to stand on….
The BEST is yet to come!
Judy and MikeWhite said:
Like others, Ellen, we don’t imagine you in a rocking chair sipping a latte in your retirement. We know you will in some way still be involved in the work you’ve done for so long. Also like others, we want to express our gratitude for your doing this work for all of us who have been less dedicated. We have loved retirement and wish you the same joy in it. (What do you most look forward to?)
All of you are much too kind and too praiseworthy. My work isn’t about me but about the amazing people I work with every single day and the fights that all of us take on together. I’ve loved my work…just as I will love being away from the day-to-day of it come next December. ‘Til then, I feel rather unleashed. Still 9 months or so to make mischief and change!
Diana Bunday said:
Dear Ellen; I have always been so impressed with just who you are. Like others I want to thank you for all you have contributed to our country and to each of us.
I have enjoyed retirement in some ways and in some ways miss the busy ness of working.
I will be interested in what the next phase of your life is like for you.
All the best,
Hugh Riddleberger said:
Oh, what a “run” you have had, Ellen. Congratulations and much love…and here is to the next nine months…and then to the next with Richard… to mischief and change…Hugh
samuel clovr jr said:
hello mr. and mrs. miller…congrads ellen, retirement is wonderful thing…rick it’s time to talk baseball again sam(exfrosty)