Community Research Institute at the Johnson Center

We can help you put data to work.

The Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute offers a guiding approach and a variety of trusted research tools. Since 2001, we have equipped more than 200 organizations and community groups to use data for effective philanthropy and informed community change.

If your organization or group is new to using data, we can introduce you to good practices and tools that make it easier to sustain data-driven projects. If you are looking to go further with data to plan an initiative, track community indicators, or present original research to your community, we can provide consultation, platforms to collect and analyze data, training, and more.


Interactive Tools for Using Data

Data offers a powerful way to better understand your neighborhood, plan for your community’s future, give more effectively, or evaluate what’s working in your organization’s grantmaking strategies. But making sense of data and using it in planning, grantwriting, and more is not always easy.

That’s why we created a series of tools to help close the gap between the data that community members need and the change that they are working to make. These tools include data from government agencies, local organizations, community members, educational institutions, health systems, and other sources.


Not sure how to get started?
Request a consultation.

Online Tools

  • LearnPhilanthropy

    A marketplace of knowledge, tools, and connections for newcomers. Navigate the field, learn with peers and thought leaders, and improve your grant making.

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  • Our State of Generosity

    An online platform to share Michigan’s philanthropic history. Discover milestones that made the state a leader, and get tools for effective philanthropy.

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  • Community Profiles 2.0

    Explore housing and economics data in Grand Rapids with this interactive mapping and demographic snapshot tool.

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  • VoiceKent & VoiceGR

    An annual community survey designed uniquely to connect demographics with opinions and perceptions of Grand Rapids and Kent County residents.

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Johnson Center Blog

  • My Foundation for Community Engagement

    My Foundation for Community Engagement by Kyle Caldwell Kyle Caldwell, Executive Director of the Johnson Center, was recently named to the Board of Trustees of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF). Kyle took this opportunity to reflect on his long history with GRCF and the importance of community foundations in

  • How to Find Data for Nonprofit Research

    How to Find Data for Nonprofit Research by Huafang Li To conduct research on nonprofit organizations, we need data. But where can we find data that suit our research purposes? Some researchers seemed to hold the idea that the scarcity of data is one of the biggest challenges for making

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