Small, blue folded paper pyramids scattered on a surface coming together to form a larger shape

Collaboration and Consolidation in Philanthropy’s Infrastructure

by Teri Behrens and Tory Martin

A desire for greater impact and partnership is driving more of philanthropy’s infrastructure organizations to combine their efforts — and sometimes their staff. However, research suggests another possible motive for these changes: a lack of sustainable, significant funding for the work. Behrens and Martin explore …

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Why do foundations struggle with evaluation?

by Teri Behrens

This post was originally published by our friends at PEAK Grantmaking. View the original post here.

There’s a longstanding tension about the role of evaluation in foundations.

While there’s been a great deal of discussion about the need to document the results of foundation grantmaking, there is actually not a …

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Map of the United States

In the Time of Coronavirus: What is the risk to nonprofits nationwide?

by Jeff Williams

How many charitable, 501(c)(3) nonprofits have two or more months of cash on hand to cover normal, average monthly expenses?

In our first two posts in this five-part series, we focused on risks facing nonprofits and likely cash on hand. While that data …

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Capacity Building for Resilience Part 2: Adapting to a VUCA Environment

by Tamela Spicer

I had a strange experience around week nine of the stay-at-home order here in Michigan. Things felt normal.

I had finished a productive week of work, finding new ways to effectively serve nonprofit organizations through training and consulting online. I enjoyed some time outside …

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How the Johnson Center Has Been Affected by COVID-19: A Perspective From One Learning Services Team Member

by Emily Brenner

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in people and organizations being more honest and transparent about how they are really doing, and how the crisis is affecting them. In a way, it can be …

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Photo of the Bicycle Factory in Grand Rapids, Mich. accompanied by the Johnson Center logo

Our Work Toward Equity

by Teri Behrens

Earlier this month, I called on the philanthropic sector to start putting our weight behind bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice. I’d like to share how we at the Johnson Center are reflecting on our own work, our role in the sector, and how we will work …

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Black & white photo of a crowd of protesters wearing face masks and holding signs that read "Black Lives Matter"

The work is hard, but the direction is clear.

by Teri Behrens

I first started working full time in philanthropy in 2001 as an evaluation manager at a foundation. A common reaction among my friends and family was something along the lines of it being a cushy job — how hard is it to give away money?

The …

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Photo of a plant sprouting out of a glass jar filled with coins

Inclusive growth requires urgent collaboration and deliberate patience.

by Juan R. Olivarez

States across the U.S. are beginning to reopen their economies, but with significant changes — business-as-usual has gone out the window. As we redesign workplaces and public spaces in the wake of COVID-19, we must place equity at the center of our recovery efforts to …

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In the Time of Coronavirus: Can nonprofits and foundations use their endowments as a resource for recovery?

by Jeff Williams

In our first two posts, we focused on risks facing nonprofits and their likely cash on hand, especially in Michigan, but with findings representative of nonprofits nationwide. In this third post, we pivot to looking at endowments …

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Black & white photo: Closeup of a man's face with a medical mask on

What will we learn from our collective vulnerability?

by Leslie Starsoneck

I joined the staff at the Johnson Center at the beginning of April as director of learning services, amidst a pandemic. I’m getting to know my colleagues and the Center’s work remotely. It has its challenges, but nothing that comes close to what most Americans are …

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