Research & Initiatives
Family foundations and other family donors play an essential and increasing, yet often unheralded, role in addressing social challenges and enhancing the quality of life in communities across the globe.
The Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Johnson Center is the first of its kind in the nation. The Chair works with a network of partners to pursue a comprehensive, international program of applied research, speaking and writing, professional education and teaching, and other activities.
The Chair was made possible by the vision and generosity of the Frey Foundation, one of Michigan’s largest family foundations, which was established in 1974 in Grand Rapids by Edward J. and Frances T. Frey.
More Resources on Family Philanthropy
Founding Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy
Community foundations and donors play an essential and increasing, yet often unheralded, role in addressing social challenges and enhancing the quality of life in communities across the globe.
The W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, established at the Johnson Center in 2015, was the first endowed chair in community philanthropy in the country. The Chair partners with a network of community and public foundations, collective giving groups, and national and international communities to support, research, and lift up the practice of community philanthropy.
This Chair honors the philanthropic legacy and civic investment of W.K. Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Company and W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Kellogg Chair was established with a gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kellogg Company 25-Year Employees’ Fund.
2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative
2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative
Practiced in cultures all around the world, collective giving brings people together to pool their resources, including time, talent, treasure, testimony, and ties — often referred to as the 5 T’s. Groups like giving circles, SVP chapters, giving projects, and fundraising circles have long served as democratic and philanthropic learning hubs — bringing traditionally marginalized voices into philanthropic decision-making spaces, challenging preconceived notions of who is considered a philanthropist, and elevating members as integral actors in our sector’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in giving. Learn More.
Dr. Michael Layton is pursuing this research in partnership with Philanthropy Together and co-researcher Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos. Generous support for this project is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Lodestar Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Family and Community Philanthropy in Mexico
In the past two decades, Latin America has seen important progress in the development of its philanthropic infrastructure — particularly in the use of institutions such as community foundations for channeling and growing local philanthropic engagement. Today, growing wealth concentration, the preponderance of family business ownership, and the nascent philanthropic culture combine to create a crucial moment in the philanthropic development of the region.
However, research on philanthropy in Latin America is relatively sparse and does not yet offer the guidance needed to understand these dynamics — such as promising trends in collaborative and place-based giving — and take advantage of this vital moment. Dr. Michael Layton and Dr. Michael Moody of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University are collaborating on a project to explore the intersections of family and community philanthropy in Mexico — with the hopes of doing similar studies in other Latin American countries in the future.
This research is generously funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
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Researchers and scholars at the Johnson Center pursue a variety of original research questions about the evolving nature and current state of philanthropy. Supported by the generosity of philanthropic funders — both individuals and institutions — we pursue these questions with one another and in partnership with peers and organizations around the world.
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We hold a core conviction that the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion form the bedrock of thriving communities and must be integral to the everyday practice of philanthropy.
Still, our field suffers from the same systemic issues of racial inequity, injustice, and white privilege that afflict every sector of our society. Countless individuals and organizations have called on all of us to do better. These calls come from the same place as philanthropy itself: a love for humankind.
We are committed to continuing this work with intentionality, humility, and persistence. Research, competency-based professional development, and community engagement efforts lead the way.
The Juan Olivarez Learning Equity Endowment
Research and Initiatives for
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our teams strive to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our work — through applied research, competency-based professional development, resources, and tools to advance your philanthropy.