GuideStar President and CEO Bob Ottenhoff to Depart

After 10 years of leadership, Ottenhoff says it's time for his next adventure as search committee is assembled to find successor
Release date: March 20, 2012

Bob Ottenhoff

Washington, D.C.—Bob Ottenhoff, whose leadership has helped GuideStar become the leading source of nonprofit information, today announced plans to resign as president and CEO. GuideStar's board of directors has established a search committee and hired a national search firm, SpencerStuart, to help them find the next leader. Ottenhoff will step down at the end of the year, once his successor is in place.

In his statement to board and staff, Ottenhoff stated, "This coming September will mark my 10th anniversary as President. It's been an exhilarating opportunity during a period of tumultuous changes in the world of philanthropy and new technologies. It's time for GuideStar to find a new leader to take it to the next level."

In the decade that Ottenhoff served as president he successfully created a national model for nonprofit sustainability, generating sufficient reliable earned revenues to offset operating costs while still providing most of GuideStar’s services at no charge and meeting GuideStar’s mission “to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice.” Ottenhoff successfully created a national model for nonprofit sustainability, generating sufficient reliable earned revenues to offset operating costs while still providing most of GuideStar's services at no charge. Ottenhoff's leadership also led GuideStar to become the nation's experts in collecting and managing nonprofit data, developing new products and services that help turn data into information and knowledge and encourage transparency and charitable giving. During his tenure, Ottenhoff led the acquisition of two exciting nonprofit organizations, Philanthropedia and Social Actions, and created the next generation of DonorEdge for community foundations. Web traffic has grown steadily for GuideStar, with nearly 10 million users projected to visit this year.

"We are grateful to Bob Ottenhoff for his service to GuideStar and the entire nonprofit sector," said Feather Houstoun, chair of GuideStar's board of directors and senior adviser to the Wyncote Foundation. "I speak for the entire board when we say we are thankful for this leadership and we understand his wish to move on. GuideStar is poised for great success, and we are confident that the board will find a replacement over the course of the remaining nine months, though Bob's shoes will be hard to fill."

Ottenhoff has 25 years of management experience in public broadcasting and high-tech companies, including 9 years as chief operating officer of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He currently serves on the board of Vision TV, Grameen Foundation USA, Link TV, and Write on Sports. He previously served on the board of the AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy. Bob holds a bachelor's degree from Calvin College and a master's degree in planning from Rutgers University. He is a sought-after writer and speaker on nonprofit and philanthropic issues, and he has been frequently quoted in television, radio, and leading publications such as the New York Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

"We are truly saddened to see Bob Ottenhoff step down. Bob came to GuideStar at a critical point in our evolution and under his leadership helped to create a strong, sustainable organization," said Debra Snider, GuideStar's vice president of operations. "Bob leaves us with a legacy that includes great service, innovative thinking, and a strong commitment to our customers, clients, and partners. So, while it is business as usual at GuideStar, we will certainly feel Bob's loss."

Ottenhoff added, "Although it's never easy to leave a work in progress, GuideStar is in the best shape it has ever been in, thanks in part to our supportive funders who believed in our work. I feel privileged and humbled to have worked with this stellar staff and worked with more than 50 trusted partners. Now I'm ready for my next adventure."

For more information, please contact Lindsay Nichols at

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, 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