Learn more about the research initiatives and partnerships we’re currently working on.
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.
National Study on Donor Advised Funds
Johnson Center researchers co-lead the Donor Advised Fund Research Collaborative (DAFRC) and are conducting the National Study on Donor Advised Funds. This national study draws on transaction-level data from over 100,000 DAF accounts at more than 100 DAF-sponsoring organizations to provide the most accurate and insightful view of this giving vehicle available to date. The project is generously supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and pursued in partnership with GivingTuesday Data Commons.
2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative
This partnership between the Johnson Center and Philanthropy Together aims to find and survey collective giving groups in the U.S. to better understand their impact across race, gender, and sexual orientation. This research — generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Lodestar Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — will build on the groundbreaking 2016 report, "The Landscape of Giving Circles/Collective Giving Groups in the U.S." conducted by the Collective Giving Research Group. Dr. Michael Layton co-leads this project with Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos of Colmena-Consulting.
Family and Community Philanthropy in Mexico
The evolution and growth of philanthropy in Latin America is at a crucial moment. Increasing wealth concentration, the preponderance of family business ownership, and a nascent culture of formalized philanthropy mean that the philanthropic infrastructure in many countries is developing steadily, particularly in the use of institutions such as community foundations for channeling local giving by donor families. With support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, Dr. Michael Layton and Dr. Michael Moody are exploring the intersections of family and community philanthropy in Mexico — how and why donor families give in local communities, what can explain the success or failure of philanthropic institutions, and how this connection of family and community philanthropy can be strengthened — with the hopes of doing similar studies in other Latin American countries in the future.
Fundraising and New Types of Donors: Challenges and Recommendations
Fundraisers today face the challenge of engaging not only traditional donors but also connecting with new and emerging donors who are typically younger, less likely to have a prior relationship with the institution, and prioritize impact and innovation in their giving. To help with this challenge, the Johnson Center’s Michael Moody, Aimée Laramore, and Mandy Sharp Eizinger are pursuing new research funded by the GivingUSA Foundation. The research will gather data from both development professionals and new types of donors themselves to develop recommendations for how fundraisers can best cultivate and support these new donors.
Support Original Research in Philanthropy
The Johnson Center relies on the support of philanthropists like you to power research and inquiry in philanthropy. We are grateful to the many individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors who make our work possible. Become a part of our mission and make your donation today.