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British Version of GuideStar Launched


The success of GuideStar has led to the creation of GuideStar UK, a new British charity developed in collaboration with and modeled on its U.S. namesake.
A £2,885,000 grant from the British Treasury's Invest to Save budget funded today's GuideStar UK launch. The grant is equivalent to $4.75 million in U.S. currency.

The GuideStar UK launch culminates a six-month exploratory effort by Buzz Schmidt, chairman and founder of GuideStar in the United States. Schmidt's engagement was conducted under the auspices of London's Institute for Philanthropy, financed by several UK-based funders, and made feasible by the Charity Commission's close collaboration. Schmidt said, "The HM Treasury grant is enormously gratifying because it resulted entirely from the achievements of GuideStar in the United States and proves the universal utility of our model."

GuideStar UK will follow the U.S. model both in the type of information it offers and the way it distributes that data. Information for the U.S. database is drawn both from charitable organizations' IRS filings and from data that the nonprofits provide directly to GuideStar. Thanks to grants from charitable organizations, this programmatic and financial information is made available for free on the GuideStar Web site, Donors, corporate funders, nonprofit-board members, grantmaking charities, government policy makers, and researchers all use GuideStar.

Annual filings made by charities to the Charity Commission will constitute the core data for the GuideStar UK database, and the charities themselves will provide additional narrative information about their respective missions, programs, objectives, and accomplishments. Neither charities nor the public will pay to use the GuideStar UK database, which will be accessible through a free public Web site. GuideStar UK will serve as varied an audience as its U.S. counterpart, enabling all to benefit from the more effective delivery of information about UK charities.

Robert G. Ottenhoff, GuideStar's president and CEO, stated, "We are excited about the creation of GuideStar UK. Many Americans want to support nonprofits outside the United States, and their interest is growing. Our partnership with GuideStar UK will enable us to meet these donors’ needs by providing them with information about non-U.S. charities."

Brian Smouha, chairman of GuideStar UK, said: "This new resource for the UK's charitable sector would not have been possible without the knowledge, expertise and energy of Buzz Schmidt, who generated enthusiasm and support for GuideStar in the UK and without whom we would never have reached this promising stage. The example set by GuideStar is perfectly adaptable to our situation here, and we anticipate that GuideStar UK will have a significant impact on the UK charitable sector. Further, we are eager to work with our American colleagues and hope to share GuideStar-based services with other countries. Information is the best weapon to generate greater philanthropy and more efficient use of charitable resources."

The close collaboration of the Charity Commission of England and Wales was critical to the creation of GuideStar UK. Chief Charity Commissioner John Stoker said, "The government funding of the GuideStar UK initiative creates an exciting opportunity for us and the charity sector. There is much hard work ahead but an opportunity has been created which the sector and we must now seize."

Officials in other countries have already asked Schmidt to explore development of GuideStar information systems for their charitable sectors. Said Schmidt, "We seek to help leaders of several countries establish their own GuideStar systems. These country-focused systems would work in association to share experiences and data and ultimately enable the internationalization of philanthropy."

suzanne-coffman-150x150.jpgThe preceding post is by Suzanne Coffman, GuideStar’s editorial director. See more of Suzanne’s sector findings and musings on philanthropy here on our blog. 
Topics: Opening GuideStar England