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

  • Let’s Stop Talking About Leadership

    Let’s Stop Talking About Leadership by Tory Martin “We’re constantly questioning ourselves. Are you working hard enough? Are you organized enough? Are you the leader these times require?” Tamir Novotny, executive director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), looked out over the crowd of 200 or so young professionals who

  • Series of three photos showing a shelving unit full of archived documents, an open box full of archived documents, and an open folder with a single archived document

    Your Organization’s Archives Could Be a Treasure Trove of Donor Intent

    Your Organization’s Archives Could Be a Treasure Trove of Donor Intent by Brittany Kienker, Ph.D.  //  photo credit: Rockefeller Archive Center In considering how to best navigate modern-day institutional challenges, board members and staff may ask, “What did the founder intend for this program?” or “Is this what the donor really

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