Non-profit

Candid

Website:

candid.org/

Location:

New York, NY

Tax ID:

54-1774039

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

2019

Type:

Nonprofit research group

President:

Bradford K. Smith

Candid is an organization that collects data, conducts research, and publishes news on nonprofit organizations. It was established in February 2019 by a merger of GuideStar and Foundation Center. Candid has offices in New York City, Williamsburg, Washington, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Atlanta.

With a budget of $40 million, Candid has a major position in the field of nonprofit data collection. [1] Though it claims to be ideologically neutral, Candid has been financed and led by left-of-center organizations and individuals. Its predecessor organization GuideStar was criticized for partnering with the left-of-center and highly controversial Southern Poverty Law Center to designate various right-leaning advocacy groups as “hate groups.” [2]

History

In 1956, the Foundation Center was founded as the Foundation Library Center in New York City by John Gardner and F. Emerson Andrews. The organization’s purpose was to collect and publish data on nonprofit foundations for the sake of transparency to defend against federal inquiries, particularly those related to accusations of communist sympathies. The Center’s Funding Information Network would eventually evolve into the Foundation Directory Online. By 2018, the Center had information on more than 7,000 organizations, 13 million grants, and 155,000 grantmakers. [3][4]

GuideStar was formed in 1996 when the for-profit Philanthropic Research Inc., which researched nonprofits for potential donors, reformed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. That year, GuideStar released the first digitally searchable nonprofit database. Over the following decade, GuideStar built up its database with public IRS data to over 2.7 million organizations. The organization positioned itself as a neutral, value-free provider of data to interested parties. [5][6]

Foundation Center and GuideStar first began to share resources in 2009. The possibility of merging organizations was first broached in 2012. In 2013, the organizations entered a strategic partnership under which each agreed to expand its operations in a complementary fashion to the other. [7]

On February 1, 2019, Foundation Center and GuideStar merged to form Candid. Foundation Center president Bradford K. Smith became Candid’s president, and GuideStar president Jacob Harold became Candid’s executive vice president. The boards of the two organizations also merged. The newly formed Candid promised to provide a larger database with more sophisticated search functions and better tools for connecting nonprofits to create new synergies. [8]

The merger and upgrading of Foundation Center and GuideStar’s operations were financed by $27 million raised from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Feasibility studies and legal services were provided by the Lodestar Foundation and Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative. [9]

Politicization

Since its founding in 1996, GuideStar has identified as a politically “neutral” organization. However, GuideStar and Candid have displayed a tendency towards left-of-center bias. [10]

Jacob Harold

In 2012, Jacob Harold became president and CEO of GuideStar and allegedly pushed the organization to become more politically active. [11] Prior to taking the position, Harold was a career activist who worked for numerous left-of-center nonprofits. From 1999-2000, he worked for the Green Corps, an environmentalist alternative to the Peace Corps. In 2002, Harold worked at Greenpeace and then moved to the Rainforest Action Network the following year. After a brief stint as a consultant at the Bridgespan Group, Harold worked for six years at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which would later provide funding for GuideStar’s merger with the Foundation Center. [12] At some point, Harold also worked for Citizen Works, a left-of-center advocacy group. [13]

Harold’s Twitter account and blogging on the Huffington Post indicate ongoing liberal activism. He attended the Women’s March protest in January 2017 against President Donald Trump in a personal capacity. [14]

“Hate Group” Controversy

In 2017, GuideStar partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a controversial left-of-center watchdog of extremist groups. GuideStar labeled 46 organizations as “hate groups” based on the SPLC’s watchlist, which has been criticized for misidentifying organizations and individuals like Maajid Nawaz and Charles Murray as right-wing extremists. [15]

In June 2017, GuideStar was sued by the conservative religious-liberty legal group Liberty Counsel for defamation. Liberty Counsel and 40 right-of-center organizations, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council, had signed a letter to GuideStar asking for the designation to be removed, but GuideStar had refused. [16]

Two days after the lawsuit was announced, GuideStar removed the labels from all groups. [17]

Call for Foundations to Finance Charities

In 2013, GuideStar, the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator released a statement arguing against what it called the “overhead myth,” or the idea that a charity’s success should be evaluated by what percentage of its donations go directly to its cause. They argued that the “overhead” costs of basic operations are crucial for making charities run efficiently and ensuring that money is spent wisely. They also claim that contemporary criticisms of overhead spending and a focus on spending metrics have made charities worse overall. [18]

In 2019, shortly after the Candid merger, the Ford Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation issued a statement advocating for grantmaking foundations to direct more of their grants to basic operating costs in charities. Executive vice president of Candid Jacob Harold publicly endorsed the statement. [19]

References

  1. McCambridge, Ruth. “Candid: The Foundation Center/GuideStar Merger’s Noteworthy Process.” Nonprofit Quarterly. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/candid-foundation-center-GuideStar-merger/. ^
  2. Guidice, Rachel del. “Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups.’” Daily Signal. June 21, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/21/nonprofit-tracker-smears-dozens-of-conservative-organizations-as-hate-groups/. ^
  3. Hall, Peter Dobkin. “Inventing the Nonprofit Sector.” JHU Press. Pages 69-75. 1992. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://books.google.com/books?id=T36LiAL1bGAC&pg=PA69&lpg=PA69&dq=%22strategic+gathering+place+for+knowledge+about+foundations,%22&source=bl&ots=NhilF4q-oT&sig=ACfU3U1ifSVYmNugatUYCA1JvYg6lLd_rw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwilwNmFwMXpAhVMhXIEHTFdC7oQ6AEwA3oECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22strategic%20gathering%20place%20for%20knowledge%20about%20foundations%2C%22&f=false. ^
  4. McCambridge, Ruth. “Candid: The Foundation Center/GuideStar Merger’s Noteworthy Process.” Nonprofit Quarterly. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/candid-foundation-center-GuideStar-merger/. ^
  5. Guidice, Rachel del. “Defender of Religious Freedom Sues Nonprofit Tracker GuideStar Over ‘Hate Group’ Labels.” The Daily Signal. June 29, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/29/conservative-organization-suing-nonprofit-tracker-regarding-hate-group-labels-on-conservative-groups/. ^
  6. McCambridge, Ruth. “Candid: The Foundation Center/GuideStar Merger’s Noteworthy Process.” Nonprofit Quarterly. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/candid-foundation-center-GuideStar-merger/. ^
  7. McCambridge, Ruth. “Candid: The Foundation Center/GuideStar Merger’s Noteworthy Process.” Nonprofit Quarterly. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/candid-foundation-center-GuideStar-merger/. ^
  8. “Foundation Center and GuideStar Join Forces to Become a New Nonprofit Entity Named Candid.” GuideStar. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://learn.GuideStar.org/news/news-releases/foundation-center-and-GuideStar-join-forces-to-become-a-new-nonprofit-entity-named-candid. ^
  9. “Foundation Center and GuideStar Join Forces to Become a New Nonprofit Entity Named Candid.” GuideStar. February 5, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://learn.GuideStar.org/news/news-releases/foundation-center-and-GuideStar-join-forces-to-become-a-new-nonprofit-entity-named-candid. ^
  10. Guidice, Rachel del. “Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups.’” Daily Signal. June 21, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/21/nonprofit-tracker-smears-dozens-of-conservative-organizations-as-hate-groups/. ^
  11. Guidice, Rachel del. “Defender of Religious Freedom Sues Nonprofit Tracker GuideStar Over ‘Hate Group’ Labels.” The Daily Signal. June 29, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/29/conservative-organization-suing-nonprofit-tracker-regarding-hate-group-labels-on-conservative-groups/. ^
  12. “Jacob Harold.” Linkedin. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobharold/. ^
  13. “Leadership Team.” GuideStar. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://learn.guidestar.org/about-us/management-team. ^
  14. “Liberty Counsel Sues GuideStar Over False “Hate Group” Label.” Liberty Counsel. June 28, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/062817-liberty-counsel-sues-guidestar-over-false-hate-group-label. ^
  15. Guidice, Rachel del. “Nonprofit Tracker Smears Dozens of Conservative Organizations as ‘Hate Groups.’” Daily Signal. June 21, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/21/nonprofit-tracker-smears-dozens-of-conservative-organizations-as-hate-groups/. ^
  16. Guidice, Rachel del. “Defender of Religious Freedom Sues Nonprofit Tracker GuideStar Over ‘Hate Group’ Labels.” The Daily Signal. June 29, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/29/conservative-organization-suing-nonprofit-tracker-regarding-hate-group-labels-on-conservative-groups/. ^
  17. Guidice, Rachel del. “Defender of Religious Freedom Sues Nonprofit Tracker GuideStar Over ‘Hate Group’ Labels.” The Daily Signal. June 29, 2017. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/06/29/conservative-organization-suing-nonprofit-tracker-regarding-hate-group-labels-on-conservative-groups/. ^
  18. “The Letters.” The Overhead Myth. Accessed May 21, 2020. http://overheadmyth.com/. ^
  19. Mento, Maria Di. “Five CEOs of Wealthy Foundations Pledge to Do More to Help Charities Pay Overhead.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. September 4, 2019. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/5-CEOs-of-Big-Foundations/247063. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  See an error? Let us know!

Candid


New York, NY