GuideStar Announces Plans to Acquire Innovative Startups Philanthropedia and Social Actions

Acquisitions Add Critical Impact Data to GuideStar's Outstanding Knowledge Base and Further the Organization's Long-Term Strategy of Helping Donors, Institutional Funders, and Those Working with the Nonprofit Sector Identify and Engage with High-Impact Nonprofits
Release date: March 17, 2011

Washington, D.C.—GuideStar, the nonprofit industry's leading resource for nonprofit data, today announced plans to acquire two innovative social impact organizations, Philanthropedia and Social Actions. GuideStar's addition of both organizations will strengthen its leading role in the nonprofit industry by adding to its growing knowledge base of tools, data, and information designed to advance transparency within the nonprofit sector.

Philanthropedia and Social Actions are aligned with GuideStar's new strategic plan, which puts expanded emphasis on increased transparency in legitimacy, reputation, and performance information about the nonprofit community.

"The acquisition of Philanthropedia and Social Actions will further our ability to better serve both donors and nonprofits with tools, knowledge, and data to inform best practices within the nonprofit sector and to encourage and inspire well-informed giving from donors," says GuideStar president and CEO Bob Ottenhoff. "GuideStar has built a strong record of growth by expanding our expertise in collecting, displaying, and creating tools and services with nonprofit data we gather from a growing list of sources."

GuideStar to Integrate Philanthropedia's Expert Review System into Offerings

Using an open-source technology platform and a team of skilled professionals, Philanthropedia's network of over 1,400 experts has evaluated 1,700 nonprofits in 15 different cause areas. The organization's proprietary research methodology was created to help direct funding to groups of high-impact organizations in specific mission areas. GuideStar's acquisition will keep the Philanthropedia team intact to scale their expert review system and integrate it into GuideStar's existing data platforms.

"We are very excited to become a part of GuideStar and help further the missions of nonprofits all over the country," said Deyan Vitanov, CEO and co-founder of Philanthropedia. "Integrating our expert review system into the GuideStar solution set will help realize Philanthropedia's vision of empowering donors to pick a cause with their hearts and then an organization with their minds." Howard Bornstein, Philanthropedia chair of the board and co-founder, adds, "At the end of the day, giving to charity is about people coming together to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Philanthropedia is excited by the possibilities of this merger to make it easier for people to come together in their charitable pursuits."

Under the integration plan, Vitanov will become manager of GuideStar data assets, and will supervise TakeAction@GuideStar, GuideStar's cause-oriented Web site launched last year, as well as overseeing the integration of GuideStar's acquisition of Social Actions. Until the integration is complete, Philanthropedia will operate as a separate organization, working primarily out of its Silicon Valley headquarters, which will also serve as GuideStar's new West Coast office.

Social Actions Acquisition Enables People to Make More Informed, Targeted Funding Choices

Social Actions is the leading aggregator of peer-to-peer giving opportunities and other actionable resources from dozens of high-quality online philanthropic platforms. Social Actions has pioneered and continues to oversee the development of an open database that supports a thriving ecosystem of innovative Web applications and widgets, connecting donors and volunteers with unique opportunities to make a difference. GuideStar launched the micro-site TakeAction@GuideStar, created with similar open-source technology, in March 2010 with the goal of continuing to aggregate all kinds of nonprofit data that both the general public and professionals can use to make more informed and targeted funding choices. Adding Social Actions allows for seamless data aggregation and broad distribution that helps people to make and take action on philanthropic decisions.

"Since 2007, Social Actions has striven to redefine what it means to be an informed and proactive philanthropist in a world transformed by social technology," said Peter Deitz, founder and co-director of Social Actions. "We view this acquisition as an incredible opportunity to embed Social Actions' mission into the sector's leading repository of philanthropic data. At a more practical level, we're excited to see the GuideStar and Philanthropedia teams take Social Actions to the next level by supporting our partners, engaging the developer community, and activating all kinds of donors in new and creative ways."

Over the next several months, Deitz and his fellow co-director, Christine Egger, will support the integration of Social Actions and related programs.

The Social Actions acquisition will be complete later this month, and the Philanthropedia acquisition is slated to be complete by mid-April.