Resources & Tools
Our blog serves as an accessible platform for the kind of content that supports innovative thinking and solutions-driven dialogues.
Interested in contributing? Ask a question. Make an argument. Share a lesson. Offer a reflection.
We invite you to share your own original research, professional expertise, and/or exploratory thoughts on the field with our network of philanthropy enthusiasts as a guest author.
It’s on all of us to consider more than one voice, more than one data point, more than one anecdote as we seek to better understand, strengthen, and advance philanthropy.
When we look to learn — about the sector itself, or about the work we do — it helps to find a variety of resources, stories, and perspectives already gathered in one place.
That’s what you’ll find in our collections — a wealth of related blog posts, research reports, videos, webinars, and more that can help you get a handle on a new topic or area of expertise with information and insights you can rely on.
Many of these trends trace back to a central question: what is the role of philanthropy in a democracy? Across our sector, in politics, in business, and in our communities, people are asking who has the responsibility — or the right — to tackle complex problems like poverty and climate change. How are our societies changing, and how are nonprofits and funders evolving in response to community needs and global crises?
These questions and others — about the value and use of data, about trust in our relationships, about philanthropy’s role in advancing equity — both shape and are shaped by larger, dynamic forces in our world and our work. Each 11 Trends in Philanthropy report is meant to help you anticipate and embrace what’s next.
11 Trends for 2021
11 Trends in Philanthropy
We have published an annual 11 Trends in Philanthropy report every year since 2017. More than 20,000 readers have accessed the individual articles and full reports shared in this collection.
Looking for a speaker on trends in philanthropy?
Philanthropy can be a substantial driver for prosperity in communities by supporting strategies for economic inclusion and access in our cities, towns, and regions. In this collection, we explore the factors that make up a healthy local and regional economy, one that strives to be inclusive and innovative. Voices from across the sector consider the roles that donors, foundations, and nonprofits can play in creating a regional inclusive growth ecosystem, and share examples of where this work is taking root.
Inclusive growth initiatives will only be brought to scale when collaboration, long-term investments, and systems change are achieved at the local level. These resources aim to arm you with the information you need to move forward.
In this collection, you’ll find original blogs, articles, and author videos from The Foundation Review, as well as other resources produced to support inclusive growth initiatives.
A Short Documentary
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Giving circles and other collaborative giving groups are made up of individuals who collectively donate money and sometimes unpaid time to support organizations or projects of mutual interest. Members have a say in how funding is given and which organizations or projects are supported.
Collective giving was a research focus of Jason Franklin, Ph.D., the inaugural holder of the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair. Jason conducted the research included in this Collection with collaborators in the Collective Giving Research Group: Jessica Bearman (Bearman Consulting), Julia L. Carboni, Ph.D. (Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University), and Angela Eikenberry, Ph.D. (School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha).
The Landscape of Giving Circles
& Collective Giving Groups
Collective giving groups are an increasingly significant philanthropic force, engaging a greater diversity of donors, including women, people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, and donors of all wealth levels.
Looking for more on community philanthropy?
A donor’s journey deeply influences that donor’s giving, values, strategies, knowledge, skills, and ultimately, impact. As a field, we need to learn more about what goes into a successful donor journey, and actively share these lessons with family donors of every sort.
The Donor Journeys Initiative is an integrated suite of projects produced by the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy over several years. Each element of the initiative looks to evaluate and analyze donor journeys, advancing family philanthropy’s understanding and maximization of diverse donor journeys in specific and complementary ways.
The Donor Journeys Initiative
This initiative is led by the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy, Michael Moody. As more work is completed on this initiative, more articles, research reports, and other resources will be added to this collection.
The Donor Journeys Initiative includes a number of other planned projects and products, including:
Donor Journeys Book
Work on the Donor Journeys Initiative book is already underway. The project features stories from a diverse set of donors chronicling their unique journeys and the real-world lessons they’ve learned along the way. The book will provide practical guidance for donors on their own journeys and draw connections through common questions, challenges, and successes.
Donor Journeys Case Study
The Frey Chair will research and write a case study of a family or community foundation that has committed itself to donor learning in a sustained way, and that can be used to draw lessons for the field. Topics/themes can include: Next gen learning and life-long trustee learning, learning with peers, the benefits and costs of different learning vehicles, or other dynamics. This case study would be used for teaching and professional development, research/scholarship, field learning, and more. It would also be integrated into other Johnson Center learning platforms as appropriate, such as LearnPhilanthropy.org, The Grantmaking School, and The Foundation Review.
Toolkit: My Philanthropic Autobiography
Building on informal exercises conducted over several years, past writing about the topic, and new innovations in designing tools for personal reflection, the Frey Chair will develop and formalize an engaging and user-friendly tool for donors of all sorts called “My Philanthropic Autobiography.”
Webinars are an ideal platform to explore more specific or small-scale questions, findings, individual family scenarios, and more, and the Johnson Center’s platforms already have a growing national and international audience of family philanthropists, field-wide professionals, and thought leaders. Over the course of the initiative, the Frey Chair will develop and produce three webinars concentrating on issues raised by donors participating in the initiative, findings from new donor learning research, and other topics of interest and use to the broader philanthropic field.
Support the Donor Journeys Initiative.
Gen Xers and millennials with a high capacity for giving — whether from inherited or earned wealth — have unprecedented financial resources and big ideas for how to wield their financial power in new ways. They plan to disrupt the traditional world of charitable giving, and they want to do so now, not after they retire to a life of philanthropic leisure.
For several years, our Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy, Michael Moody, has teamed with Sharna Goldseker, founder of the consulting organization 21/64, on first-of-its-kind research on next gen donors. This work has resulted in several reports as well as the best-selling book, Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving.
Book: Generation Impact
Research & Tools for Engaging Next Gen Donors
This collection is led by our Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy, Michael Moody. View original research, blog posts, articles, videos, and other resources on the topic of next generation donors.
Looking for more on family philanthropy?
We have to learn; and we have to be prepared to use what we learn to improve our programs, our giving, and how we measure change.
Philanthropic infrastructure organizations — like the Johnson Center — exist because of our sector’s deep desire to understand and strengthen the work we do so that we can advance our missions. That’s a goal we all share, and there are nonprofits, foundations, and donors everywhere who are committed to using learning for good.
In this collection, we present content that considers the value and practice of learning in philanthropy.
Learning for Good
The resources in this collection are designed to support organizational and personal learning in philanthropy. They represent the perspectives and expertise of diverse voices and organizations across the field.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Degree Programs in Philanthropy
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The Johnson Center has deep roots in West Michigan, where we have lived and worked since our founding in 1992. This collection includes blogs from local authors, region-specific reports and tools, and projects to support thriving neighborhoods.
West Michigan: At work in our neighborhood
RESOURCES & TOOLS
RESOURCES & TOOLS
How can we help?
The Johnson Center conducted its first community-wide survey, the Greater Grand Rapids Community Survey, in 2001. Since then, collaborations with numerous community partners and updates in methodology led to VoiceKent, a paper and online survey last conducted in 2017 about residents’ views and experiences related to health and well-being, discrimination and inclusion, and overall quality of life in Kent County.
Launched at the Johnson Center in 2009, The Foundation Review is the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy, written by and for foundation staff, boards, and those who work with them.
With a combination of rigorous research and accessible writing, journal content can help you and your team put new ideas and good practices to work for more effective philanthropy. Members of the Editorial Advisory Board are experts in grantmaking and program evaluation.
The journal is indexed in SCOPUS and the Web of Science Emerging Sources Citation Index, and is housed on ScholarWorks, an external research and scholarly content site and service of the Grand Valley State University Libraries.
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