Last week, 2ndVote released a list of Bank of America’s contributions to Planned Parenthood citing the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s IRS Form 990 from 2017, the most recent available disclosure. The document showed Planned Parenthood affiliates received over $50,000 from the foundation that year.
Just days following the release of this information, 2ndVote’s research team was informed that the foundation’s profile appeared to disappear from GuideStar’s database of non-profit organization. Indeed, GuideStar’s search function, sorted by relevance, displays the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund, a donor-advised fund for charitable giving accounts, as the first result.
However, on the very last page of GuideStar’s search results—the very last result, actually—is the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Bank of America corporation’s charitable giving arm.
Again, when sorting by relevance, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and its more than $50,000 in donations to Planned Parenthood, is the 221st result for GuideStar’s search function. Apparently, GuideStar’s algorithm finds the National Diaper Bank Network and 220 other non-profits to be more “relevant” than Bank of America’s own foundation when searching for “bank of america.”
Perhaps GuideStar’s search algorithm isn’t perfect. However, incidents in the past have certainly raised eyebrows.
In 2017 GuideStar implemented a “hate group” tag on conservative organizations like the Family Research Center based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation. The practice was later discontinued after conservative organizations objected as SPLC’s “hate group” has been shown to be a disingenuous tool for smearing political opponents.
The near disappearance of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s profile from GuideStar’s search function does raise new questions. Did GuideStar purposefully bury the foundation in the search results to take the heat off of Bank of America? And, can GuideStar be trusted to impartially distribute information on non-profits and their giving practices?
It does seem that someone at GuideStar, and possibly Bank of America, would rather not have easily found evidence linking the bank to Planned Parenthood’s abortion business.
Editor’s note: the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s filing also showed over $20,000 in contributions to SPLC in 2017.