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FounderErik Bengtsson, Howard Bornstein, Chris Herndon, Deyan Vitanov
TypeNon-profit Organization
OriginsSan Mateo, CA
Area served
United States
Key people
Erinn Andrews

Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar, was a crowdsourcing resource which provides information about high-impact nonprofit organizations.[1] The site featured reviews from experts who are interviewed and surveyed.[2] The site also featured rankings based on a combination of in-depth surveys and conversations with experts, including academics, funders, grant makers, policy makers and consultants.[3]



Philanthropedia was incubated at the Stanford Graduate School of Business starting in 2008 with the assistance of the Hewlett Foundation.[2] Initially, the start-up was called Nonprofit Knowledge Network (or NKN).[4] In 2008, NKN launched its first cause, recommending 8 top nonprofits working in the field of education at the national level.[5]

In 2009, NKN officially incorporated as an organization, rebranded as Philanthropedia, under the leadership of Deyan Vitanov as CEO and Erinn Andrews as COO.[2] Also in 2009, Philanthropedia released rounds of research on education, climate change, Bay Area homelessness[4] and international microfinance.[6]

In 2011, Philanthropedia was acquired by GuideStar and continues to run its core research now as a division of GuideStar.[2]

Philanthropedia's methods of ranking nonprofits based on crowdsourced information was criticized by some experts in the field of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), including Marla Smith-Nilson, one of the founders of Water.org.[7]

As of 2022, Philanthropedia is no longer hosted.


  1. ^ Cuberta, Phil. "Dam Busting to Get a Flood of Giving Now". 50 Shades of Grey in Philanthropy. Gift Hub. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Rigoglioso, Marguerite. "Giving Just Got Easier: Philanthropedia Brings the Cream to the Top". Center for Social Innovation. Stanford Graduate School of Business. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Philanthropedia releases microfinance ranking". Philanthropy Management. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b Takagi, Gene. "Philanthropedia". Nonprofit Law Blog. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  5. ^ Stannard-Stockton, Sean. "Philanthropedia". Tactical Philanthropy. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Unitus Endorsed as Top Nonprofit by Philanthropedia". Unitus Labs. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  7. ^ Paulson, Tom (2014-08-13). "Water advocates sour on Philanthropedia's crowd-sourced rankings". Humanosphere. Retrieved 2021-09-15.