About us

our Mission

Who We Are

Our Mission

The First Amendment Coalition protects and promotes a free press, freedom of expression and the people’s right to know. Nonpartisan and nonprofit, FAC believes that the broadest range of engaged and informed communities is essential to the health of our democracy – that the values expressed by the First Amendment provide a blueprint for an inclusive, equitable society and a responsive, accountable government. To that end, FAC educates, advocates and litigates to advance government transparency and First Amendment protections for all. (Board of Directors, June 2022)

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

FAC recognizes that our mission can only be achieved by actively cultivating diversity, equity and inclusion, both inside and outside the organization. We believe that in order to realize the promise of the values underlying the First Amendment, we must reach and include as broad a range of voices as possible to inform our policies, priorities and programs. We recognize that systemic inequities rooted in, among other things, race and gender require FAC to take the initiative in seeking out and embracing a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and life experiences. To that end, we commit to actively expanding and diversifying our networks. 

We recognize it is our responsibility to allocate our resources in support of and collaboration with institutions, individuals, organizations and coalitions that reflect the diversity of California and the nation, especially those traditionally excluded from power and resources. Fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive community is both a goal in itself and an integral part of carrying out our organizational mission. Read more about this in the summary of our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.

Read our latest Impact Report.

Our programs

What We Do

Legal Work

FAC’s greatest asset is the legal experience accrued over 30 years of holding governments accountable at the local, state, and federal levels, supporting journalists and citizens in how to enforce their First Amendment rights.

Public Events

FAC holds educational events focused on government transparency, press freedom and various First Amendment topics.

Free Speech & Open Government Awards

Every year FAC honors First Amendment champions who have made outstanding commitments to free speech or government transparency.

Legislative Oversight

FAC monitors legislation in California that would affect free speech, a free press or the public's right to know.

Our Services

What We Offer

The Legal Hotline gives users free access to FAC’s experts for questions about access to public records, public meetings and a range of First Amendment topics. 

A&A is a searchable database of questions posed by users about their rights under open government laws, and first amendment safeguards that have been answered by FAC’s attorneys.

FAC offers a detailed primer on the California Public Records Act, the Police Transparency Guide and numerous sample letters for requesting public records in California or from federal agencies. These resources are free for all to use. 

FAC offers resources on understanding California’s open-meetings laws, including a detailed primer on the Ralph M. Brown Act. 

Subscribe to receive FAC’s news alerts, updates about our legal work, invitations to public events and information about other timely initiatives.

Our Donors

Financial Support

We receive our funding from foundation grants, individual and corporate contributions, membership dues, portions of attorney’s fee awards in select cases, and income from a modest endowment fund.

The Coalition’s principal patrons and benefactors have been Rowland “Reb” Rebele, media consultant and former newspaper publisher, and his wife, Patricia Rebele. The First Amendment has never had more steadfast and supportive friends than the Rebeles.

The Coalition receives significant institutional support from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, First Look Media, Inc., the Hearst Foundations, the James B. McClatchy Foundation, and the Raymond Pryke Foundation.

Major gifts have also been given by Will Hearst, Doug and Carol Melamed, Don Graham. Other supporters include the law firms Troutman Pepper, Davis Wright Tremaine and Sheppard Mullin.

Startup support for the Coalition was provided by the national Society of Professional Journalists and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, among others.