Understanding, Strengthening, and Advancing Philanthropy

by Kyle Caldwell, Executive Director of the Johnson Center

Modern philanthropy is complicated. Donors, nonprofits, and foundations bring diverse views for determining and serving the common good. These forces sometimes compete and can make finding a cogent and clear sector-wide strategy nearly impossible. Yet, as someone once said of democracy, it is …

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The Board Recruitment Dilemma: A community problem that needs a community solution

by Matthew Downey, Director of Nonprofit Services

One can argue that most nonprofit organizations across the U.S. struggle in some way with recruiting the right leaders to fill board roles. Too often, those of us in the sector hear stories of individuals who have had …

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VoiceGR community survey becomes VoiceKent, will cover entire county in 2017

VoiceGR, Grand Rapids’ community survey, is expanding to become countywide thanks to a new partnership between the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). As VoiceKent, the survey will gather critical public health information …

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Global Engagement: Reflections from Saudi Arabia

by Kyle Caldwell, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

If you could turn back the hands of time and observe the formation of U.S. philanthropy, what would you see? An opportunity similar to that came in an email I received from the King Fhad University for Petroleum and Minerals in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. …

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Opinions in the Field:
Why We Must Protect the Johnson Amendment

by Dan Cardinali, Independent Sector, and Vikki Spruill, Council on Foundations

Nonprofits engaged in deep community change often lead efforts in advocacy, civic engagement, and lobbying. This is a time-tested pillar of our democracy, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, protected in case law, and codified in federal legislation. A strong …

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Exit Strategies for Foundations

By Teri Behrens, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning

Since 2010, there has been a significant shift toward creating foundations that have a defined endpoint. According to one estimate1, about 19 percent of family foundations established between 2010 and 2014 plan to spend out …

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VoiceGR 2016 Survey Results Released

by Jodi Petersen, Ph.D., Director, Community Research Institute

The Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Community Research Institute has released its VoiceGR results for 2016. The VoiceGR survey seeks to inform local decision makers and stakeholders utilizing data on the opinions, attitudes, and perceptions of local residents. The survey asks about prominent issues such …

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Family Donors Gather to Discuss Enduring Challenges in Philanthropy

by Michael Moody, Ph.D.  //  Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy

The passions and goals of donors matter a lot in philanthropy, especially family philanthropy. Donor interests not only motivate giving, but often direct where much of that giving goes and which causes, organizations, and strategies get the …

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Johnson Center teams help Bosch Community Fund evaluate its impact and funding

by Amber Erickson, M.S.W.  //  Community Research Institute

The Community Research Institute (CRI) and the Institute for Foundation and Donor Learning (IFDL) have partnered for a project with the Bosch Community Fund (BCF). BCF was established in 2012 and has granted more than $11 million …

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11 Trends for 2017
What are the trends that will be affecting your work in 2017?

Drawing on our local, national, and international research, tool development, training, and data work, leaders from the Johnson Center have identified 11 key trends that will impact the work of both grantmakers or nonprofit leaders in the months and …

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