Careers at the Johnson Center

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy — one of the nation’s leading academic centers focused on the philanthropic field — is located at Grand Valley State University in the College of Community and Public Service. Professionals at the Johnson Center enjoy the benefits and human resource offerings of Grand Valley State University.

At the Johnson Center, you get the unique opportunity to bridge the worlds of foundations, nonprofits, academics, and practitioners to advance the capacity of professionals and organizations working for the common good. We have on-staff experts in community research, foundation and nonprofit capacity building, family philanthropy, database development, and philanthropic archives — among others — making our mix of staff unique to the world of philanthropic infrastructure organizations. We work extensively in the state of Michigan, as well as nationally and internationally.

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders in Philanthropy

The Johnson Center is proud to play a central role in preparing emerging practitioners to pursue distinguished careers in the nonprofit sector. Alumni of our student positions, graduate assistantships, and fellowship programs are at work today at nonprofits, foundations, and public entities across the country, carrying forward the philosophy of servant leadership and embracing the pursuit of smart, effective philanthropy.

The Johnson Center offers a variety of positions (both academic year and year-round) available to undergraduate and graduate students of all program/degree areas at Grand Valley State University, depending on our programmatic needs and project schedules.

Available Positions:

Part-time Adjunct Project Archivist
As part of our ongoing commitment to document the history of philanthropy in Michigan, we’re seeking a project archivist for foundation records. This position is responsible for all activities related to preserving and providing access to a private foundation client’s records. This position will report to the director of the Johnson Center’s Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning, with project guidance from GVSU’s University Archivist.

The Project Archivist position is half-time, 20 hours per week, and based at GVSU’s Detroit Center. This position is a one year appointment with a possibility of renewal for a second year. We’re looking for candidates with an ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science or master’s degree in a related disciplinary field, with specialization in archival studies. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

To view full details and to apply online, click here.


Part-time Communications and Engagement Student: Development Focus
Our Communications and Engagement department is seeking a student to assist our team 10–20 hours per week. This student will provide assistance in the following areas:

  • Researching potential funders, clients, and partners
  • Researching philanthropy marketing trends and opportunities
  • Drafting and editing donor communications, including appeals, proposals, web stewardship language, etc.
  • Some database maintenance, gathering and entering data
  • Some social media maintenance, including help with e-newsletters
  • Internal communications at the Johnson Center
  • Promotion of Johnson Center events and assistance with event logistics
  • General communications and engagement task support

We’re looking for someone with strong verbal and written communications skills who is detail-oriented, organized, and able to meet deadlines. Our preferred candidate will have knowledge of a variety of social media platforms, as well as digital marketing tools (e.g. MailChimp). Knowledge of Salesforce and/or Adobe programs is a plus.

To view full details and to apply online, log in to Handshake.


Part-time Communications and Engagement Student: Audio/Video Editing & Design
This student assistant will work 10 hours per week with the LearnPhilanthropy team to provide audio/video editing services and some graphic design for the development of high-quality, engaging online learning video lessons for LearnPhilanthropy Academy. The student will be a part of the Communications & Engagement team and report to the Director of Communications & Engagement.

Using Camtasia software, the student assistant will:

  • Edit audio recordings provided by numerous instructors to ensure overall sound quality and lesson succinctness
  • Edit and format slides/graphics, incorporate relevant graphics, and create and add animations as needed to create engaging lessons
  • With guidance, design and create visually appealing slide decks for LearnPhilanthropy Academy videos
  • Synchronize images and audio in order to produce high-quality video lessons
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Additional Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated aptitude with audio/video editing and production
  • Knowledge of design fundamentals; ability to provide examples of prior work
  • Knowledge of PowerPoint required; proficiency with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator a plus
  • Ability to translate written concepts into visual representations
  • Dedication to quality and great attention to detail
  • Willingness to master new software
  • Ability to collaborate with others and incorporate feedback to ensure project success

To view full details and to apply online, log in to Handshake.

Grand Valley State University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution. Applicants from diverse backgrounds and perspectives are encouraged to apply. To view all available jobs at GVSU, visit