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GuideStar Blog

From the President's Office, September 2004

Dear Friend:

Three days ago, GuideStar celebrated an important milestone—our 10th birthday. A decade ago, a dedicated group led by Buzz Schmidt gathered in an office in Williamsburg, Virginia, intent on improving the nonprofit sector by making charity information available to the public.

As Chuck McLean, our vice president for research and one of those founding employees, says, "Before GuideStar, giving to charity was like trying to buy stock without a stock exchange." We are proud that we have changed that reality.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us revolutionize philanthropy with information during the past decade:

  • The funders who took a chance on this upstart endeavor, who supported us along the way, and who are helping us continue the revolution today.
  • The nonprofit organizations that embraced transparency and accountability by updating their GuideStar Reports and encouraging their peers to update as well.
  • The grantmakers who promoted transparency and accountability in the sector by encouraging applicants to update their information on GuideStar.
  • The state and federal regulators who collaborated with us to create an authoritative, comprehensive database; who have come to rely on GuideStar as a valuable resource; and who continue to work with us to make it easier for charity officials to share information and to make charity reporting less burdensome for both regulators and the nonprofits.
  • The individual donors who used GuideStar for their due diligence, demonstrating that philanthropists large and small want to know about the work of the nonprofits they support.
  • The providers of services to nonprofits and individual donors who purchased our products and promoted us to their clients.
  • The members of the media who researched nonprofits on GuideStar and cited us as a resource for information on charitable organizations.
  • The academic researchers who incorporated GuideStar data into their research and directed their students to the GuideStar Web site.
Thanks to all of you. Without you, this grand experiment could not have succeeded. Please join us as we continue the revolution.


Bob Ottenhoff
President and CEO, GuideStar