GuideStar Blog

How We Became Candid and What It Means for You

Seven Candid employees with orange lines linking them

We hope you saw yesterday’s announcement that Foundation Center and GuideStar have joined forces to create a new nonprofit named Candid. (If not, surprise!) Here’s a quick summary:

  • Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Learn more at candid.org.

  • The name Candid reflects our commitment to be upfront and honest. We’ll speak honestly about what we do, what works, and what can be improved. We’ll put that principle before all others.

  • For now, it’s business as usual for our collective products and services. We’ll keep you posted as activities and offerings evolve.

  • Brad Smith is president of Candid and Jacob Harold is executive vice president of Candid. They published a blog post yesterday that’s worth reading.

How We Became Candid

Over the years, starting around GuideStar’s inception in 1994, a colorful cast of characters (from past leaders to long-time program officers to students learning about the sector for the first time) wondered why Foundation Center and GuideStar were in fact separate. Our organizations seemed to be working toward analogous (or at least complementary) missions. And, in parallel, staff regularly observed that our stakeholders—be they training attendees, database-hunters for grants, or those looking for funding gaps and partnerships to capitalize on—conflated the two organizations, which muddled the information-finding landscape. In 2012, the organizations more formally investigated the idea of joining forces and decided it wasn’t the right time—combining operations could be a good idea at some point, but not then.

In the years since, we have tested the waters. We partnered on various projects to see how efficiently and effectively we could work together. We shared the costs of obtaining and posting nonprofit data; we collaborated on an ID system for entities working to promote social good; we led conversations about the importance of using data to drive smarter work.

During this time, too, the nonprofit information landscape changed. Probably the biggest development was the expansion of available (but mostly messy) nonprofit and foundation data. We also saw more organizations sharing information and embracing social media and other digital platforms. And everybody was asking nonprofits to provide information—online giving sites, companies providing nonprofit discounts, grantmakers, state charity officials, media ... you get the idea.

So in 2017, Foundation Center and GuideStar looked again at combining operations. We commissioned an expert study, met with past donors, and engaged our board in exploring whether joining forces was possible and smart. The unanimous conclusion: Yes.

The bottom line of that exploration: our organizations could accomplish so much more together than they could apart. The boards came together to work through questions of governance, funding, leadership, and sustainability. As they say, the rest is history.

For the last six months, a cross-organizational group has worked to develop the new organizations identity and launch it to the world. Starting yesterday, together, GuideStar and Foundation Center are Candid.

What Candid Means for You

As we begin to integrate operations, it will mostly be business (and mission) as usual for our respective platforms and users. Our goal during this transition period is to ensure that our stakeholders receive the same level of support that we have been delivering for a combined 85 years. You’ll still find comprehensive information about grantmakers on Foundation Center’s website and extensive profiles of nonprofits on GuideStar. You can still improve your grantseeking skills with GrantSpace and update your organization’s information on GuideStar. And you’ll still access Foundation Center and GuideStar products and services the way you always have. We’ll dig into this more on a webinar this month.

There will be some more immediate changes though. Our updated social media presence will be the quickest platform to evolve, and over the next few weeks and months, you’ll notice tweaks to our logos and some of how we write and look.

What you see launching today is only the beginningit will continue to evolve and be shaped through essential conversations with our board, our staff, and, most importantly, with you. We’ll let you know as these developments happen. But for now, it’s business as usual for the Foundation Center and GuideStar products and services you rely on. (And, all of our friends and family, who were never sure if we worked for GuideStar or Foundation Center because they felt like one and the same, can sleep easier!)

Launching Candid is only the first step. Now comes the real fun—meshing the activities of more than 200 employees. We—and our colleagues—will keep you posted.

Jen BokoffGabe CohenJen and Gabe worked with a small staff group and Open, our brand consultants, for the past five months to create the new Candid brand and identity. They will lead implementation of the brand across Candid’s many offerings over the next year and look forward to connecting with our many stakeholders as part of evolving the work. They also ask for your forgiveness in advance if you happen to get the wrong announcement email, no email at all, or some other sort of communications mishap.

Topics: Candid
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