Candid (organization)

Founded 2019; 2 years ago (2019)
Type Non-profit Organization
Registration no. 13-1837418
Focus Nonprofit Information
  • New York, New York, U.S.
Area served
United States
Product Nonprofit Analysis Solutions
Key people
Jacob Harold
Evan Paul
James Dobrzeniecki
Debra Snider
Mizmun Kusairi
Adrian Bordone
Formerly called
Philanthropic Research, Inc., GuideStar, Foundation Center

Candid is an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies.[2][3] In 2016, its database provided information on 2.5 million organizations.[4] In February 2019, GuideStar merged with Foundation Center to become Candid.[5][6]



GuideStar was one of the first central sources of information on U.S. nonprofits[7] and is the world's largest source of information about nonprofit organizations.[8] GuideStar was founded in Williamsburg, Virginia in September 1994 and received tax-exempt status in 1996,[9] the same year the company began posting nonprofit organizations' financial reports to the World Wide Web.[10]

GuideStar also serves to verify that a recipient organization is established and that donated funds go where the donor intended for individuals looking to give in the wake of disasters.[11]

In 2013, GuideStar announced major changes to its GuideStar Exchange program, which allows nonprofits to supplement the public information that is available from the IRS.[12] GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles implemented three seals based on the information a nonprofit provides in its profile: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.[13] In 2016, a new seal that allowed nonprofits to share progress and results for their mission, GuideStar Platinum, was introduced.[14]

  • 1994: Arthur "Buzz" Schmidt founded Philanthropic Research, Inc. in Williamsburg, Virginia as a company providing nonprofit information.[15]
  • 1996: Philanthropic Research, Inc. officially received tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity, and in July, published the GuideStar Directory of American Charities, a CD and printed index that presented full reports on 35,000 charities and partial reports on 7,000 other charities.[16] That fall, Philanthropic Research, Inc. officially launched its GuideStar website, allowing it to update the data more frequently and provide more extensive information.[17] The organizations began doing business under the name, "GuideStar," although its official name remained Philanthropic Research, Inc. until September 2008.[18]
  • 1997: GuideStar began posting information on all 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the IRS Business Master File. By December, the database held information on more than 600,000 nonprofits.[19][20]
  • 1998: GuideStar provided digitized 990 data on its website's individual public charities pages.[21] In January 1998, GuideStar received an award for Nonprofit Web Site Excellence from Philanthropy Journal, with an honorable mention for "Service to the Sector" for its searchable database of (at that time) more than 620,000 U.S. nonprofit organizations.[22]
  • 1999: In October, GuideStar began posting 501(c)(3) public charities' annual information returns, known as IRS Forms 990 and 990-EZ.[23]
  • 2001: GuideStar began publishing an annual Nonprofit Compensation Report.[24] The first edition was derived from compensation data reported to the IRS by nearly 75,000 charities.[25] In response to 9/11, GuideStar expanded the database to include non-charitable organizations eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions, along with special 9/11 funds and programs.[26] GuideStar also collaborated with the New York State Attorney General’s Office, providing data for the WTC Relief Info site.[27] In November 2001, TIME named Schmidt one of seven innovators in philanthropy for the new millennium.[28] At the end of the year, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office launched an on-line Charities Research Service based on a customized version of the GuideStar database and search engine.[29]
  • 2002: In February, former PBS Chief Operating Officer Robert G. Ottenhoff[30] took on Schmidt's role as president, and Schmidt became Chairman of GuideStar's board.[31] At the end of the year, GuideStar released the results of its first annual nonprofit economic survey.[32]
  • 2003: As part of the May launch of "Operation Phoney Philanthropy", the U.S. Federal Trade Commission encouraged donors to research charities’ legitimacy on GuideStar before giving.[33] That October, GuideStar received a U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Opportunities Program grant to create a system through which state charity regulators could share information.[34]
  • 2004: California Attorney General's Office modified its Charities Search to one based on a customized version of the GuideStar database and search engine.[35]
  • 2005: In March 2005, the Interim Report of the Panel of the Nonprofit Sector delivered to the Senate Finance Committee cited GuideStar’s contributions to nonprofit transparency.[36] In June, GuideStar launched a new Web site that included all tax-exempt organizations registered with the IRS, expanding the database by more than 340,000 nonprofits.[37]
  • 2006: GuideStar modified its search engine to make it easier for users to find data.[38]
  • 2007: GuideStar added online donation capabilities to its site; long-time partner Network for Good processed the donations.[39] To further connect nonprofits with current and potential supporters, GuideStar launched a beta version of the GuideStar Exchange.[40]
  • 2008: GuideStar released a new report on characteristics that drive foundation spending patterns.[41]
  • 2009: GuideStar partnered with GreatNonprofits to add stakeholder reviews to organizations' profiles for individuals to communicate their experiences with nonprofits.[42] GuideStar also launched CEO Compensation Checkpoint to analyze nonprofit CEO compensation.[43]
  • 2011: In April, GuideStar acquired Philanthropedia and Social Actions.[44] In May, GuideStar, in partnership with BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Independent Sector, launched "Charting Impact"[45] to provide a common platform for nonprofits to discuss their impact and results, and share that information publicly.
  • 2013: The new GuideStar Exchange featured bronze, silver, and gold participation levels based on the amount of information they share with the public via GuideStar.[46] Also in June, GuideStar partnered with Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance to launch the Overhead Myth Campaign.[47] In September 2013, GuideStar and the Foundation Center announced a strategic partnership to deliver much-needed data and resources to the social sector.[48]
  • 2014: On Monday, February 24, 2014, GuideStar hosted its first Impact Call, to expand the definition of nonprofit transparency and provide results in a timely and inclusive manner.[49] In June, GuideStar released its new strategic plan, GuideStar 2020: Building the Scaffolding of Social Change.[50] In October, in partnership with the D5 Coalition and Green 2.0, GuideStar released a tool for nonprofits to compile demographic data on their board members, employees and volunteers, including optional information input on gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability to share for public distribution.[51] In November, GuideStar announced its goal to raise $10 million in transformational capital between 2014 and 2016 to help expand three essential functions: data innovation, collection, and distribution.[52] The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed to a $3 million grant structured as general operating support over three years to align with the strategic plan.[53]
  • 2016: In January, GuideStar upgraded GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles to allow users to more easily identify an organization’s geographic reach, results, sources of funding, financial stability, and leadership.[54] The redesign shifted emphasis from charity overhead costs to programs and results, a reflection of a broader debate in the nonprofit world about measuring and communicating impact.[55] In November, GuideStar’s position as a leading source of nonprofit information was reinforced when the Washington Post reported that the Trump Foundation had admitted to self-dealing after a 2015 IRS tax filing was uploaded to GuideStar’s website by the Trump Foundation’s law firm.[56]
  • 2017: In June, GuideStar entered into a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center to flag SPLC-identified "hate groups" on their web site. Critics of the SPLC objected to this measure as a highly political move. William Boykin, chair of the Family Research Council, one such group which was flagged, said that "at this point, they are becoming an arm of the ultra-left."[57] GuideStar then announced it was removing the labels for the time being.[58]
  • 2019:The new organization is committed to providing access to data and increasing transparency in the social sector.[59]

A charity watch investigator compared Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, Better Business Bureau, Combined Federal Campaign and Great Nonprofits. The investigator praised GuideStar for offering "information rather than making judgments".[60] After GuideStar placed a notice on the pages of some charities that were listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) "hate group list", one of the groups sued GuideStar for defamation.[61] A Federal District Court Judge found in favor of GuideStar and dismissed the lawsuit on January 23, 2018.[62] Liberty Counsel's appeal was denied on September 11, 2018.[63] The request for an en banc rehearing was denied on November 20, 2018. The District Court's judgment took effect on November 27, 2018.[64]

Foundation Center

"Foundation Center" was an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in New York City, New York. The Center’s stated mission was "to strengthen the social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy in the U.S. and around the world."[65]


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  3. ^ Walzer, Philip (2010). "Williamsburg's GuideStar pushes quiet revolution", The Virginian-Pilot, 21 October 2010
  4. ^ Wyland, Michael. "GuideStar Introduces Program Metrics Section for Nonprofit Profiles." Non Profit News For Nonprofit Organizations | Nonprofit Quarterly. N.p., May 11, 2016. Web. April 3, 2017.
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  9. ^ GuideStar History
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  27. ^ Editors (February 18, 2002). "IRS CLEARS CREATION OF CHARITIES, LITTLE OVERSIGHT, NO FOLLOW-UP SINCE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS". Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved July 27, 2011.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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  65. ^ About Us, Foundation Center web site

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