11 Trends for 2018
What are the trends that will be affecting your work in 2018?

Drawing on our local, national, and international research, tool development, training, and data work, leaders from the Johnson Center have identified 11 key trends that will impact the work of both grantmakers or nonprofit leaders in the months and …

Continue reading

Understanding Differences in Cultures, Faiths, and Origins through Philanthropy

by Hassan Jaber and Shariq Siddiqui

Understanding other cultures and the ways they give of their time, talent, and treasure through their faith, can help strengthen and advance philanthropy. Philanthropy is a cornerstone to many cultures and religions and helps to define many of our rituals and rites of …

Continue reading

Our Evolving Sector: A Conversation with Nonprofit Leaders

by Kyle Caldwell and Matthew Downey


A few weeks ago, the Johnson Center’s Executive Director Kyle Caldwell and Director of Nonprofit Services Matthew Downey traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the annual U.P. Nonprofit Conference to engage in a dialogue about the evolving nature of the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofit organizations and …

Continue reading

The Continued Rise of Collective Giving

by Jason Franklin, Ph.D., W.K. Kellogg Chair for Community Philanthropy

Collective giving groups, often known as giving circles, have tripled in number since 2007 and are an increasingly popular way for donors from diverse backgrounds to amplify the impact of their giving. This growth is noted in a new report released …

Continue reading

Logo: Our Common Future (Detroit)

Our Common Future: Philanthropy Comes to Detroit

by Kyle Caldwell

Nearly ten years ago, there was a gathering of hundreds of nonprofit leaders from around the globe who came to learn from each other and the community that hosted them — Detroit, Michigan. The Great Recession had begun and the conjoined conference of the Council of Michigan …

Continue reading

Understanding, Strengthening, and Advancing Philanthropy

by Kyle Caldwell, Executive Director of the Johnson Center

Modern philanthropy is complicated. Donors, nonprofits, and foundations bring diverse views for determining and serving the common good. These forces sometimes compete and can make finding a cogent and clear sector-wide strategy nearly impossible. Yet, as someone once said of democracy, it is …

Continue reading

The Board Recruitment Dilemma: A community problem that needs a community solution

by Matthew Downey, Director of Nonprofit Services

One can argue that most nonprofit organizations across the U.S. struggle in some way with recruiting the right leaders to fill board roles. Too often, those of us in the sector hear stories of individuals who have had …

Continue reading

VoiceGR community survey becomes VoiceKent, will cover entire county in 2017

VoiceGR, Grand Rapids’ community survey, is expanding to become countywide thanks to a new partnership between the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). As VoiceKent, the survey will gather critical public health information …

Continue reading

Global Engagement: Reflections from Saudi Arabia

by Kyle Caldwell, Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

If you could turn back the hands of time and observe the formation of U.S. philanthropy, what would you see? An opportunity similar to that came in an email I received from the King Fhad University for Petroleum and Minerals in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. …

Continue reading

Opinions in the Field:
Why We Must Protect the Johnson Amendment

by Dan Cardinali, Independent Sector, and Vikki Spruill, Council on Foundations

Nonprofits engaged in deep community change often lead efforts in advocacy, civic engagement, and lobbying. This is a time-tested pillar of our democracy, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, protected in case law, and codified in federal legislation. A strong …

Continue reading