Meet Our Team

We bring passion and experience to our work, drawing on expertise in a variety of fields, including social science research, organizational development, and adult education.

Trish Abalo

Research Associate

Trish Abalo

Research Associate

Trish Abalo joined the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy in September 2020. As a research associate, she supports data collection, ...

Alexandra Akaakar, M.S.

Data Analyst

Alexandra Akaakar, M.S.

Data Analyst

Alexandra Akaakar joined the Johnson Center as a data analyst in January 2022. In this role, she supports data collection, presentation, and ...

Kallie Bauer, M.B.A.

Director, Strategy and Planning

Kallie Bauer, M.B.A.

Director, Strategy and Planning

Kallie Bauer joined the Johnson Center in 2008 and currently serves as a director of strategy and planning. In this role, she is responsible ...

Crisol Beliz

Research Associate

Crisol Beliz

Research Associate

Crisol Beliz joined the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy in April 2023 as a research associate. In this role, she supports ...

Emily Brenner, M.P.A.

Program Manager

Emily Brenner, M.P.A.

Program Manager

Emily Brenner joined the Johnson Center in 2018 and currently serves as program manager. In this role, she helps develop and manage ...

Sherry Collver

Operations Assistant

Sherry Collver

Operations Assistant

Sherry Collver joined the Johnson Center in 2012 and currently serves as operations assistant. In this role, she supports the executive ...

Julie Couturier, CPA

Director, Operations

Julie Couturier, CPA

Director, Operations

Julie Couturier joined the Johnson Center in 2006 and currently serves as the director of operations. In this role, she is responsible for ...

Emily Doebler, M.P.P.

Research Associate

Emily Doebler, M.P.P.

Research Associate

Emily Doebler (she/her) joined the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy in April 2023 as a research associate.

Most recently, ...

Emily Dorn Jex, M.S.

Data Analyst

Emily Dorn Jex, M.S.

Data Analyst

Emily Dorn Jex joined the Johnson Center as a data analyst in January 2022. In this role, she assists with data acquisition, cleaning, ...

Jana Einfeld

Office Coordinator

Jana Einfeld

Office Coordinator

Jana Einfeld joined the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy in May 2023 as office coordinator. In this role, she manages office ...

Brian Herron

Senior Web Developer

Brian Herron

Senior Web Developer

Brian Herron joined the Johnson Center in 2016 and currently serves as senior web developer. In this role, he works in close collaboration ...

Karen Hoekstra

Marketing and Communications Manager

Karen Hoekstra

Marketing and Communications Manager

Karen Hoekstra joined the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in 2015. As marketing and communications manager, she leads the design and ...

Aimée A. Laramore, M.B.A.

Limited Life Philanthropy Strategist

Aimée A. Laramore, M.B.A.

Limited Life Philanthropy Strategist

Aimée Laramore joined the Johnson Center in May 2022 and currently serves as limited life philanthropy strategist, managing the work of the ...

Jennifer Lawson, Ph.D.

Project Director

Jennifer Lawson, Ph.D.

Project Director

Jennifer Lawson joined the Johnson Center in May 2024 as a project director. In this role, she is responsible for creating and implementing ...

Michael D. Layton, Ph.D.

W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair

Michael D. Layton, Ph.D.

W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair

Michael Dennis Layton joined the Johnson Center in September 2020 as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, the nation’s first ...

Tory Martin, M.A.

Director, Communications and Strategic Partnerships

Tory Martin, M.A.

Director, Communications and Strategic Partnerships

Tory Martin joined the Johnson Center in October 2017 and currently serves as director of communications and strategic partnerships. In this ...

Pat Robinson, M.P.A.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Pat Robinson, M.P.A.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Pat Robinson joined the Johnson Center in 1997 and currently serves as associate director for special projects and associate editor of ...

Jill Roof, M.P.A.

Research Manager

Jill Roof, M.P.A.

Research Manager

Jill Roof joined the Johnson Center in February 2024 as a research manager. She has a background in nonprofit work and is passionate about ...

Mandy Sharp Eizinger, M.S.

Program Manager

Mandy Sharp Eizinger, M.S.

Program Manager

Mandy Sharp Eizinger joined the Johnson Center as a program manager in April 2020. She facilitates sector-wide learning and professional ...

Lesley D. Slavitt, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Lesley D. Slavitt, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Lesley D. Slavitt joined the Johnson Center as executive director in April 2023. Through vision and collaboration, she leads our work to ...

Melyssa Tsai O’Brien, M.P.H.

Research Manager

Melyssa Tsai O’Brien, M.P.H.

Research Manager

Melyssa Tsai O’Brien joined the Johnson Center in 2014 and currently serves as a research manager. In this role, she plans, manages, and ...

Jeff Williams, M.A., M.B.A.

Director, Community Data and Research Lab

Jeff Williams, M.A., M.B.A.

Director, Community Data and Research Lab

Jeff Williams joined the Johnson Center as the director of the Community Data and Research Lab (CDRL) in February 2020. In this role, he ...

Joe VanDoornik, M.S.A., PMP

Project Manager

Joe VanDoornik, M.S.A., PMP

Project Manager

Joe VanDoornik joined the Johnson Center in January 2024 as a project manager. In this role, he supports administrative requirements of ...

Aaron Yore-VanOosterhout, Ph.D.

Research Manager

Aaron Yore-VanOosterhout, Ph.D.

Research Manager

Aaron Yore-VanOosterhout designs and carries out community-based research to help nonprofits, schools, and other organizations better serve ...

Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief of Special Issues, The Foundation Review

Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D.

Editor-in-Chief of Special Issues, The Foundation Review

Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief of special issues for The Foundation Review. As part of the journal’s 15th anniversary, ...

Meet our Leadership Council

The Johnson Center’s Leadership Council advises our strategic direction. We would like to thank the members for providing their time and expertise to help shape the center’s direction.

Dan Cardinali

Senior Fellow, PolicyLink & Board Member, The Bridgespan Group

Dan Cardinali

Senior Fellow, PolicyLink & Board Member, The Bridgespan Group

Dan Cardinali joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2017. Dan joined Independent Sector, a national membership ...

Rob Collier

Trustee, Russell and Annabelle Woodard Family Fund

Rob Collier

Trustee, Russell and Annabelle Woodard Family Fund

Rob Collier joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2008. Rob was president and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations ...

David Egner

President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

David Egner

President & CEO, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Dave Egner joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2008, and currently serves as co-chair. In 2016, Dave was appointed ...

Mae Hong

Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Mae Hong

Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Mae Hong joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2019. Mae opened the Chicago office of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in ...

Dorothy A. Johnson

President Emeritus, Council of Michigan Foundations

Dorothy A. Johnson

President Emeritus, Council of Michigan Foundations

Dorothy (Dottie) Johnson joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2008. Dottie, the center’s namesake, served for 25 ...

Donna Murray-Brown

Vice President of Strategy & Development, National Council of Nonprofits

Donna Murray-Brown

Vice President of Strategy & Development, National Council of Nonprofits

Donna Murray-Brown joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2018. In 2022, she joined the National Council of Nonprofits as vice ...

Isaiah Oliver

President, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

Isaiah Oliver

President, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida

Isaiah M. Oliver joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2022. As president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, he ...

Robert P. Smart, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Research Administration, GVSU

Robert P. Smart, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Research Administration, GVSU

Robert P. Smart, Ph.D., is vice provost for research administration and the founding executive director of the Center for Scholarly and ...

Akilah Watkins, Ph.D.

President & CEO, Independent Sector

Akilah Watkins, Ph.D.

President & CEO, Independent Sector

Dr. Akilah Watkins joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2023. A 25-year national thought leader, convener, and nonprofit ...

Kate Pew Wolters

President, Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation

Kate Pew Wolters

President, Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation

Kate Pew Wolters joined the Johnson Center’s Leadership Council in 2017, and currently serves as co-chair. Kate was reappointed for a ...

Interested in joining our team?

Here at the Johnson Center, you’ll 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. Professionals at the Johnson Center enjoy the benefits and human resource offerings of Grand Valley State University.