On Friday, GuideStar announced that for the time being, it would remove annotations from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) included in the profile information of 46 501c3 charities that designated those organizations as hate groups. This is a decision The Philanthropy Roundtable applauds as these designations are not only highly controversial and strongly disputed, they also risked the reputation of GuideStar by making it appear as a biased advocate for a particular ideological point of view rather than a source of objective information.
However, GuideStar also factored in a disturbing element in its decision. Criticism it had received regarding its decision to include the SPLC designations shifted from constructive to threatening for its staff and leadership. GuideStar wrote:
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.
Expressing disagreement over a decision should never cross the line of harassment or intimidation. We are dismayed such actions were taken against GuideStar and its staff.
The Philanthropy Roundtable remains committed to working with GuideStar, sector leaders, and other officials to reduce polarization, ensure accurate and objective information is available to the public, and secure a robust nonprofit sector to serve our civil society.