Reinvent Albany promotes open, accountable New York State government. Our interest in government transparency and public participation is both practical and idealistic. Around the world, the governments that are the most effective and least corrupt are also the most transparent and accountable.
We strongly support the work of the patriotic New Yorkers who advocate for more ethical and fairer government. We share many of their goals, and we recognize the importance of their work on fair and clean elections. However, we also bring some new and different perspectives. We are particularly interested in the power of the Internet to make our state government more responsive, open and effective. This technology — which includes the “Social Internet,” smart phones and open data is changing everyday life, and has the potential to strengthen our democracy and greatly improve our state government. As co-chair and coordinator of the New York City Transparency Working Group, we bring together civic technology and good government advocates to create a consensus and take advantage of the opportunities technology offers to make NYC government more open and transparent.
Our work is focused on winning:
Online transparency that allows the public to see what our state government is doing, how it spend public funds, and who gets those funds.
Open data laws and directives that put the state’s and city’s vast wealth of digital information online and make that data easy to find and reuse without restriction.
OpenFOIL, an open and online Freedom of Information Law process that takes full advantage of technology so that FOIL works better, is less expensive, and complements Open Data so that the public information revealed by FOIL is available to all.
Online performance measurement for state agencies and authorities accountability, including online publication of clear public goals, priorities and performance measures.
Fiscal honesty, starting with an end to the diversion of dedicated taxes and fees, including MTA dedicated taxes.
Spending Transparency, in particular around off-budget and discretionary spending like business tax credits, which are opaque at risk for corruption, and whose efficacy is difficult to measure. We have an additional focus on the private finance of public infrastructure, which we strongly oppose.
What we have won
Online Transparency and Open Data
Creation of NY State’s “Open NY” / Open Data Initiative via executive order.
Creation of NYS Open Budget website.
Major upgrade to the Attorney General’s NY Open Government.
Major upgrade to the NYS Comptroller’s NY Open Books site.
NYC Open Data Law and fully funded open data initiative.
NYS Transit “Lockbox” bill.
In coalition, we helped stop the diversion of $500m in Clean Water Funds for Tappan Zee Bridge construction.
Reinvent Albany has a small, experienced, professional staff and board of directors. We rely on a large circle of expert advisers from government, academia, business and the public interest world. We use our staff as project managers and enlist top tier consultants as needed to produce reports and original research and to help organize events. We also work closely with established advocacy groups and within coalitions dedicated to government transparency, transportation funding, ethics reform and independent redistricting.
Reinvent Albany was started in January 2010. Its founders include prominent members of New York’s environmental, transportation and urban sustainability movements.
John Kaehny, is the executive director and a founding board member, and is the co-chair of the New York City Transparency Working Group. John is an authority on using technology to increase government transparency. At Reinvent Albany he helped win the creation of the state’s open data initiative, open budget website and contributed to major improvements at the Comptroller’s Open Book New York spending site and the Attorney General’s New York Open Government website. John also helped lead the campaign for a transit “lock-box” to end the diversion of transit dedicated funds. John helped lead the campaign for the NYC Open Data Law, and the NYC Open FOIL bill, and is regularly consulted by city agencies on online transparency issues.
Prior to co-founding Reinvent Albany, John was a transportation policy consultant for leading New York, national and international environmental groups, and was the longtime executive director of Transportation Alternatives in New York City. John is also the co-founder of the national Alliance for Bicycling and Walking and has served on numerous city and state governmental advisory boards. His writing has appeared in many places including the NY Times, NY Daily News, Albany Times-Union, NY Post and NY Newsday, as well as technical and scholarly journals.
Dominic Mauro, staff attorney, is an expert on open data law and policy, and was an important contributor New York State and New York City policies and helped draft the NYC Open Data Law, the NYC OpenFOIL Law and NY State Transit Lockbox. He is a former fellow Institute for Law and Policy and NY Law School
Prudence Katze, policy coordinator, comes to us from the Center for Urban Pedagogy, where she taught classes on housing and public assistance policy. Prudence is a documentary film maker and is currently working on a “City Traced” which examines city development and planning policies from the 1920’s to today.
Board of Directors
Reinvent Albany’s founding board includes prominent members of New York’s environmental, transportation and urban sustainability movements, who were so dismayed by the dismal state of affairs in Albany that they decided to take action.
John Kaehny, founding board member.
Mark Gorton, founding board member, is the president and founder of OpenPlans, which creates civic empowerment software and publishes Streetsblog and Streetsfilms. He is a prominent voice for livable streets in New York City and other American cities. Mark is also the founder and chairman of Tower Research Capital.
Aaron Naparstek, founding board member, is a journalist, and a nationally recognized authority on green transportation and sustainable urban development. Aaron is the founding editor-in-chief of Streetsblog, and recently completed time as a visiting lecturer and scholar at MIT and Harvard.
Reinvent Albany is funded by donations from New Yorkers and charitable foundations. We receive an in-kind contribution of office space from OpenPlans.org. Reinvent Albany receives no funding from government or businesses.
Audits, Tax Returns
Our most recent, 2012, audit, tax return and state filing are available below. This and previous year filings are available at Guidestar.org and NYS Charities Bureau. (We are in the process of redesigning this page and will post 2011 and 2010 filings here shortly. ) Program Please email email@example.com for more information, or to let us know about any errors or incomplete information on this website. Reinvent Albany’s EIN is 27-1624621.
Reinvent Albany was founded in January 2010, and is incorporated in New York State. Reinvent Albany is a non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt charitable organization. It was awarded 501(c)(3) public charity status by the IRS in October 2010. Reinvent Albany will post state and federal reporting documents for 2010 on Guidestar in late November 2011. Our Conflict of Interest Policy, Whistleblower Policy and Document Retention policies are downloadable at these links.
Reinvent Albany is funded by individuals and foundations from across the political spectrum who support our efforts to make New York State and City government more transparent and effective.
Foundations who have given from 2010-2014:
- Democracy Fund / Omidyar Network
- La Vida Feliz Foundation
- Sustainable Markets Foundation
Individuals who have donated more than $1000 since 2010:
- Mark Gorton
- Ken Hirsh
- Aaron Naparstek