GuideStar CEO Jacob Harold Named One of This Year's 50 Most Influential Nonprofit Leaders by NonProfit Times

Release date: August 6, 2014

GuideStar Board Member and DonorsChoose Founder and CEO Charles Best Also Recognized as Leading Sector Innovator

jacob-harold-100x140.jpgWashington, D.C.—Jacob Harold, president and CEO of GuideStar USA, Inc., has been named to the NonProfit Times (NPT) 2014 Power and Influence Top 50 list. Making his first-ever appearance on the list, Harold is one of 17 new honorees included in the 17th NPT list. Harold is the second active GuideStar president and CEO to be named to the list, following in the footsteps of Buzz Schmidt, GuideStar's founder and original president, who was named to the list in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

The NPT list highlights 50 of the sector's leaders for their "innovation, influence on the broader sector, and for developing organizational models that can be replicated." Harold joins a group of honorees that includes GuideStar board member and founder and CEO Charles Best. Harold, Best, and the other awardees will be formally honored during the 2014 NPT Power & Influence Gala on September 18, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. During the event, one of the honorees will receive the second annual Innovator of the Year Award.

"I'm honored to be named among the NPT Top 50. I hope it goes without saying that this is not about me but about GuideStar. I tip my hat to the broader GuideStar family, especially my predecessors Buzz Schmidt and Bob Ottenhoff, our board, including my fellow honoree Charles Best, and GuideStar's staff and partners," said Jacob Harold. "I remain convinced that we can build a new information scaffolding for social change, one that can help ensure that the nonprofit sector is capable of tackling the great challenges of our time."

Since joining GuideStar as president and CEO in October 2012, Harold has focused on building an industry-wide culture of organizational transparency. The NonProfit Timesnoted, "Harold is leading the sector's data change movement. It's all about actionable data. He's pushing nonprofits to agree on basic data standards that will then move to transparency so donors and sector leaders understand that information regarding a small homeless shelter is not the same as that of a housing authority or healthcare facility."

Before joining GuideStar, Harold spent six years at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leading grantmaking for their Philanthropy Program. While at GuideStar he has used his leadership role to strengthen GuideStar's business model and future trajectory as the core technical infrastructure that weaves together many sources of information in order to enable nonprofit transparency that drives nonprofit effectiveness.

"Jacob is an asset not only to GuideStar but to the nonprofit sector as a whole," statedMari Kuraishi, chair of GuideStar's Board of Directors and co-founder of GlobalGiving. "His passion for creating a social change information infrastructure has transformed the way the nonprofit sector is addressing issues of big data and transparency."

Harold sees GuideStar's 2.3 billion pieces of nonprofit data as an extraordinary resource for the field, one that can help increase the amount and effectiveness of charitable giving. In the 22 months since Harold joined the organization, GuideStar has:

  1. restructured internal operations by realigning staff, hiring a new strategy team, and establishing a strong West Coast presence;
  2. reevaluated the organization's mixed revenue model and set a course to seek $10 million in funding over the next decade;
  3. improved the organization's operating margin by more than $1 million;
  4. demonstrated GuideStar's own commitment to transparency by making its strategic plan, including aspirational financial and programmatic goals, open to the public and hosting quarterly Impact Calls detailing the organization's results; and
  5. supported innovation in its programs and product offerings, perhaps best demonstrated by a 438 percent increase in GuideStar Exchange participation in the past two years.

"Jacob has focused and energized the organization in an innovative and exciting way," said Mizmun Kusairi, GuideStar's vice president of strategy. "He has shifted our organizational culture, focusing on measureable results, which not only increases the efficiency of our workflow but also provides attainable goals and a vision that our entire organization is excited to get behind. He'd be the first to say it, but this is not about Jacob. It's about the work of the whole GuideStar team, which is trying to do something far bigger than any one person."

For more about Jacob Harold or GuideStar's future, visit

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects people and organizations with information on the programs, finances, and impact of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar, a CFC Charitable Organization #75786, serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

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