Washington, DC—At GuideStar, our ongoing mission is to provide our users with valuable information about nonprofits in order to help them make educated and informed decisions. We develop profiles based on information from a number of government and private sources. We also actively encourage any nonprofit in our database to update their profile for free—allowing them to present themselves to our users on their own terms.
Earlier this year, in order to provide even more information to our users, we noted that 46 of the 1,676,746 active nonprofit groups we track had been flagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a long-standing civil rights advocacy organization.
In the weeks and months since, we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address—and identify—hate groups.
Dismayingly, a significant amount of the feedback we’ve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership.
With this development in mind—driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staff’s wellbeing—we have decided to remove the SPLC annotations from these 46 organizations for the time being. This change will be implemented during the week of June 26, 2017. In the meantime, we will make this information available to any user on request.
At the same time, we view this as an opportunity to refine how we present and curate this type of information, as we do believe that it is in line with our mission to provide as much information about nonprofit organizations as possible. We hope to engage in a constructive dialogue with experts from across the political spectrum to help us determine the best way to fulfill this need.
We want to thank the many users who have constructively expressed their opinions on this situation. We will take this feedback into account as we consider how to continue to provide the most helpful information about the nonprofit community.