ECFA recently sent a letter [click to view letter] to GuideStar, admonishing them for their recent consideration of labeling certain organizations as “hate groups” at the recommendation of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Many of our members and their donors regularly use GuideStar as a resource for obtaining objective information about specific exempt organizations. GuideStar has become a credible resource, precisely because of its neutral and objective approach to providing information. The practice of labeling any 501(c)(3) organization as a hate group undermines GuideStar’s credibility among nonprofit leaders as a neutral, fact-based source of information about the nonprofit sector.
We were pleased that GuideStar apparently reversed its course on the labeling decision, at least to some extent, but we still felt compelled to express our deep concerns regarding GuideStar’s consideration of this practice or any kind of similar practice in the future.
ECFA is not alone in our apprehension; more than 40 nonprofits, most falsely labeled by GuideStar, sent separate letters to the organization late last month. One mislabeled nonprofit has even filed a federal lawsuit against GuideStar over the “false and defamatory ‘hate group’ label.” GuideStar then removed the label from the pages of the nonprofits on its site, yet released a statement saying the organization will continue to provide the "hate group" information upon request and is considering other methods of disseminating that information.
ECFA will monitor the situation and alert members of new developments.