Photo: Two women standing side by side wearing "volunteer" t-shirts

Local Action: Philanthropy’s Answer to “Where Do I Start?”

by Tory Martin

There are countless organizations dedicated to helping individuals begin their philanthropic journeys. Sites like VolunteerMatch and DonorsChoose make taking action simple and fast, while national programs like Teach for America, City Year, and AmeriCorps provide immersive experiences on a grand scale.

Many of the places we …

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Photo: Mariah (student intern)

A Student’s Take on What Philanthropy Really Means

by Mariah Otlewski, Communications & Engagement Intern, Spring/Summer 2018

In August 2015, I finished packing up my childhood room, said goodbye to my dog, and drove west to my new home — Grand Valley State University. I came from a small town on the east side of Lansing, …

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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 gathered in Detroit, Mich. two weeks ago …

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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

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 wanted?” Whether you are looking forward …

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Photo: Juan Olivarez talking with Tory Martin

Meet the Johnson Center’s New Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Juan Olivarez

Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D. joined the Johnson Center in July 2018 as Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Before he began his position, Tory Martin, Director of Communications and Engagement, sat down with Dr. Olivarez to hear …

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Data Goes Hyper-Local in Grand Rapids

by Steve Wilson

My early career experiences with nonprofits leading local community and economic development created a perfect pathway for me to enter place-based philanthropy. Back then, I often looked to local foundations to provide both support and leadership as we envisioned future infrastructure needs.

Nearly 15 years ago, as I rode …

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Unnatural Disasters: Can Nonprofit Governance Promote Recovery in Detroit and Flint?

by Davia Cox Downey

Over the past two years, my research partner, Sarah Reckhow of Michigan State University and I have explored the concept of disaster, whether natural or man-made, to examine how these types of events impact collaboration between local government and nonprofit organizations and …

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The Giving USA 2018 Report is Out, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Could Reshape 2019’s Results

by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University

Giving USA is the longest-running, most comprehensive annual report on charitable giving in the United States. The report was first created in 1956 by the American Association of Fundraising …

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Data Shows Nonprofits Can Be Real Power Hitters When It Comes to Voter Engagement

by Greg Cameron, Nonprofit VOTE

Much like baseball — where the metrics of wins, losses, and averages become the fodder for fan clubs and arguments across the nation — data and numbers also play a big a role in how Americans talk about …

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Just Another Lab Mouse: Choosing Social Media Metrics that Matter

by Tory Martin

Social media has become a tool of nearly incalculable value to nonprofits and their causes. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer a cost-effective way for us to reach the people we serve, the communities we hope to shape, and the donors and volunteers …

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