We can help you put data to work. The Community Research Institute at the Johnson Center 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.

Community Profiles

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


Michigan Demographics

Use the MAPAS platform to create and share color-coded maps across topics such as housing, education, and more.


Community Snapshots

These profiles show key demographic and other data for West Michigan neighborhoods and counties.


Not sure where to get started? Request a consultation.


Upcoming Events on Data & Community Research

All Events

Online Tools

  • Learn Philanthropy

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

  • Community Profiles 2.0

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

  • 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.


Latest News in Data & Community Research

  • Latest Charitable Giving Estimate

    People who donate to charitable causes in Kent County are more generous than individual donors in the rest of the state, according to a new estimated report from the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University. The report shows total charitable giving in the county decreased slightly in

  • Fair Food Network

    Good Works: A Story About Fair Food Network

    Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit founded on the belief that vibrant local food systems can create health and economic opportunity for all. With a diverse network of partners, it develops solutions that support farmers, strengthen local economies, and increase access to healthy food—especially in underserved communities.

All Blog Posts