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  //  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 or …

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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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Photo: Detroit skyline on a cloudy day

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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Photo: Roll of "I Voted" stickers

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

by Greg Cameron

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 our elections. …

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Photo: Woman looking at cell phone

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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Photo: Job Candidates

Recruiting and Retaining Staff Through Better Benchmarking Data

by Brittany Kienker

Foundations across the country are looking for ways to use data to make sound decisions, show impact, and be better stewards of their own resources. Likewise, nonprofits are using data to justify their operational and programmatic costs, even as they become increasingly lean and efficient to …

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Photo: 2018 Neighborhood Leadership Academy participants

In Their Own Words: Graduates of the Inaugural Grand Rapids Neighborhood Leadership Academy Speak About Their Experiences

At the Johnson Center, we see community engagement itself as a form of philanthropy: a giving of time, talent, and treasure for the betterment of society and your neighbors.

And we’re not alone in this philosophy. This past January, the …

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