Jacob Harold Begins Tenure as GuideStar's New President and CEO

A New Era Dawns for the Leader in Nonprofit Information
Release date: October 15, 2012

Jacob Harold
Jacob Harold

Washington, D.C.—GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information, today announced that Jacob Harold officially began his tenure as the organization's president and CEO. Harold continues the legacy of former president and CEO Bob Ottenhoff, who stepped down in July to explore other pursuits. Harold brings with him a vast knowledge of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and has already spoken on behalf of GuideStar at key functions, including the White House Forum on Philanthropy Innovation in September. After serving on GuideStar's board for more than two years, Harold brings unique insight into GuideStar's inner workings, and his new role within the organization has garnered widespread support across the sector. Harold is GuideStar's third president in its 18-year history, following Ottenhoff and founder Buzz Schmidt.

"It has been a privilege to work with the board and Bob Ottenhoff over the last few months," said James Lum, GuideStar's CFO and interim managing director. "The current economy is challenging for everyone but particularly for nonprofits. We made huge strides this year improving our financial fundamentals and launching ground breaking analysis tools like Financial SCAN. By representing change, I am confident Jacob will transform GuideStar and in turn transform the entire sector. Jacob will be able to draw on his years of experience as both a former GuideStar board member and grantmaker."

Harold comes to GuideStar from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where he led grantmaking for its Philanthropy Program, which aimed at building a 21st-century infrastructure for smart giving. Prior to his work with the Foundation, he was at The Bridgespan Group, where he served as a strategy advisor to nonprofits and foundations. Before that, he worked as a climate change strategist in New Delhi, India, for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and in the United States for Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace USA. At the start of his career, he was the organizing director for Citizen Works and spent a year as a grassroots organizer with Green Corps. Harold earned his AB summa cum laude from Duke University and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Abroad, Harold studied complex systems science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His parents lead small nonprofits in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"I'm thrilled to be at GuideStar and ready for our adventure to begin," stated Jacob Harold. "Information is the fuel of smart decision making, and GuideStar plays a central role providing that fuel for the nonprofit community. I look forward to building on GuideStar's remarkable history and helping the organization evolve in an ever-changing world."

GuideStar is the nation's expert in collecting and disseminating nonprofit information, providing access to nearly 98 percent of its users for free. GuideStar also has a suite of sophisticated products and services that help turn data and information into knowledge and encourage transparency and charitable giving. Web traffic has grown steadily for GuideStar, with nearly 10 million users projected to visit www.guidestar.org in 2012.

"Jacob's service from both sides of the philanthropic aisle has given him critical insight into GuideStar," said Debra Snider, GuideStar's vice president of operations. "His ideas fueled our strategic plan, and he has already connected with our staff, so we expect his leadership to be virtually seamless as well as exciting. We are poised to move to the next level of excellence, and Jacob is the right person to lead the effort."

For more information or to interview Jacob Harold, please contact GuideStar's communications director, Lindsay Nichols, at lnichols@guidestar.org.

About GuideStar

GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

Media Contact

Lindsay J.K. Nichols (202) 637-7614