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GuideStar Blog

From the President's Office, February 2009

Dear Friend:

I'm sure our country's economic situation is your chief concern as you read this article today.

A paragraph by Ben Stein in the New York Times caught my attention: "We are more than our investments. We are more than the year-to-year or day-by-day changes in our net worth. We are what we do for charity. We are how we treat our family and friends. We are how we treat our dogs and cats. We are what we do for our community and our nation. If you had $100 million or $100,000 a year ago and now you have a lot less, you are still the same person. You are not a balance sheet, at least not one denominated in money."

Those are good words to remember as we set our personal priorities and think about how we want to invest our time and energy.

But we know that money does matter when it comes to running our nonprofit organizations. In this time of economic stress we hear of many organizations where demand for services is at an all-time high while revenue is harder than ever to generate. That's important to remember as we set our own personal giving priorities.

Another issue causing concern is one I've heard Peter Goldberg of the Alliance for Children and Families speak eloquently about. That is the difficulties that direct service agencies are having in being reimbursed for their work. We applaud the efforts of Independent Sector and others to find ways to create bridge loans to help ease cash flow concerns. We hope their initiative will stimulate more interest in the sector in creating new sustainable sources of capital for nonprofit organizations.

Here at GuideStar we welcome your thoughts on what we can do to help you.

One way we can help is by increasing the visibility of your organization and the good work you do. We encourage you to send us updated information about your organization's services, your financial needs, and the people that you serve. We'll try to get your message to as many people as possible. Find more information

For those in the academic community, we want to remind you of our GuideStar for Education program. This is the program through which GuideStar gives academic researchers, instructors, and their students free access to GuideStar Premium. Learn more about GuideStar for Education On-line or by e-mailing us at

I've always believed that crisis brings opportunities to do things in new ways. Breakthrough innovation only comes when we are open to change in what we do and how we do it. I hope you find this thought as inspiring as I do.


Bob Ottenhoff
President and CEO

Topics: Economy