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.


Principal Researcher, Community Research Institute
Click here to learn more and apply online.

Graduate Assistants, Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning
The Johnson Center is seeking 2 to 3 new Graduate Assistants for the 2018-2019 academic year. GAs will work within the Institute for Foundation & Donor Learning (IFDL) and have the opportunity to work with other staff throughout the Johnson Center, but will work directly IFDL’s senior leaders including Dr. Teri Behrens, the Director of the Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning; Dr. Jason Franklin, WK Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair; and Dr. Michael Moody, Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy.

Each GA will work on a number of research and writing projects, as well as other activities within the Institute including collaborative projects with internal and external stakeholders. Specific tasks will vary depending on the project, and will range from research tasks (e.g., data analysis and summaries, field scans and issue reviews, case studies and bio backgrounds, library searches and lit reviews, etc.) to coordination tasks associated with projects (e.g., participating in research and project planning, helping arrange interviews or research contacts, helping manage editing and publication processes).

Required Qualifications:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Close and continuous attention to detail, even under deadline
  • Analytical thinking, curiosity, openness to new knowledge/diverse perspectives
  • Ability to work independently, and manage time effectively to handle multiple simultaneous projects
  • Familiarity with online, library, and other research databases
  • Professional phone, email, and in-person communications skills
  • Ability to comprehend and summarize scholarly and other writing
  • Familiarity with Word suite software (esp. Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and/or grantmaking
  • Some experience or training in qualitative methods skills including interviewing, content analysis, focus groups, observations, survey design, and/or archival methods
  • Some experience or training in statistical analysis and software (SPSS or SAS)

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to Tara Baker, by April 20, 2018. All applicants will be considered for all Graduate Assistantships, but if you have interest in a particular philanthropy issue, please indicate that in your cover letter.

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