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Guiding Light Maintains Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

The Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information on U.S. nonprofits, is the highest level that can be bestowed.

About Guiding Light

Founded in 1929 as the West Fulton St. Mission, Guiding Light has grown into a robust recovery and re-engagement community designed to help those living at society’s margins fulfill their God-given potential. The nonprofit has been building on a near century of compassion and celebrated 90 years of serving Grand Rapids in 2019. Through its Back to Work, Recovery and Iron House programs, Guiding Light works with men struggling with addiction and homelessness to return to society. Since 2017, Guiding Light has earned a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, which underscores our commitment to accountability and transparency. For more information, visit

/Guiding Light

Guiding Light has again been awarded a Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of information on U.S. nonprofits.

The Platinum designation is the highest level bestowed by GuideStar, an honor shared by less than two dozen of the more than 2,300 nonprofits GuideStar tracks in the greater Grand Rapids area. The Platinum rating is GuideStar’s “highest level of recognition and an opportunity for nonprofits to share their progress in a meaningful way,” according to the organization’s website.

“GuideStar is a highly respected organization for measuring and interpreting nonprofits’ progress,” said Stuart P. Ray, executive director at Guiding Light. “The organization’s decision to continue to recognize our commitment to accountability and transparency with Platinum status is an honor.”

Nonprofits ranked by GuideStar can qualify for any one of four designations. Of the nearly 2 million nonprofits the organization tracks nationally, approximately 10,000 are rated Platinum.

In the greater Grand Rapids area, Guiding Light joins 19 other organizations in earning Platinum status, including Acton Institute, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Junior Achievement of the Great Lakes, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Civic Theater and a few others.

GuideStar’s mission is “to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving,” according to its website.

Founded more than 90 years ago, Guiding Light works to engage God’s spirit in partnering with individuals to fulfill their God-given potential through rescue, recovery and re-engagement in the community.

Guiding Light’s Back to Work program focuses on getting men off the streets and into full-time jobs, and its Recovery program addresses men faced with homelessness, substance abuse and spiritual destitution.

Guiding Light also has two social enterprises: The Job Post, a hiring and recruitment firm, and Iron House, sober-living apartments. Both social enterprises support Guiding Light’s mission while also aiding in the financial sustainability of Guiding Light’s four pillars of light. 

In March, Guiding Light voluntarily loaned its facility at 255 S. Division Ave. to Kent County so it can serve as a temporary isolation center for those experiencing homelessness in the Heartside neighborhood who may contract COVID-19.

All the men in the Recovery program were moved to Guiding Light’s sober-living apartments, known as Iron House. Men in the Back to Work program without other accommodations were offered the option to be temporarily housed elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Guiding Light has continued to keep its rescue, recovery and re-engagement programs running while ensuring employees and the men served remain safe and in good health. Group and one-on-one support meetings have been conducted virtually with video conference platforms to help the men stay connected while physical distancing. The Job Post has continued its job placement services remotely to help individuals who are temporarily unemployed or seeking career advancement.

“We made the radical decision to quickly move our programming off-site and turn our building over to the county rent-free to help address an outbreak of coronavirus among the vulnerable population in our area,” Ray said. “While adapting to meet changing needs throughout this unprecedented time, we continue to adhere to our strong protocols and commitment to full transparency.”

For more information, visit or contact Starla McDermott, Guiding Light’s development director, at [email protected] to make a donation.

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