Community Data and Research Lab

Put your data to work.

Since 2001, the Community Data and Research Lab (CDRL) at the Johnson Center has provided research and data tools to support equitable community change.

  • CDRL’s objective research elevates the voices and experiences of community residents to identify needs, inequities, and resources.
  • Our accessible data and mapping tools inform systems change efforts by helping organizations and individuals visualize and understand current landscapes and change over time.
  • And our focus on equity advances social justice by bringing to the fore an understanding of how differences in race, gender, socioeconomic status, ZIP code, and other factors differentially influence experiences and outcomes in communities.

Our team is comprised of an experienced and multidisciplinary group of research and technology professionals with diverse backgrounds in the social sciences, public health, statistics, and the design and development of community information and visualization tools, including online data management and geographic information systems.

With our combined expertise and the anchoring infrastructure of the university, the Community Data and Research Lab bridges the gap between the information community members need and the changes they want to make. Our work helps change-makers measure progress over time and ultimately maximize impact.


Not sure how to get started?
Request a consultation.
Interactive Tools for Using Data

Data offers a powerful way for you and your partners to better understand your neighborhood, plan for your community’s future, give more effectively, or evaluate what’s working in your organization’s strategies. But making sense of data, using it to plan new strategies, to secure or evaluate grants, and to track change over time is not always easy.

That’s why we created a series of tools to help close the gap between the story your data tells and the outcomes you want to see. These tools include original data collected by the Community Data and Research Lab, as well as data from government agencies, local organizations, community members, educational institutions, health systems, and other sources.

Community Profiles

A look into Michigan counties, cities and neighborhoods to show key demographic, housing, economic and other important data.

Go to the tool.
Community Profiles 2.0

A deeper dive into key demographic, housing, economic and other important data through interactive mapping, customized charts, and access to data for any customized user-defined neighborhood.

Go to the tool.
Community Profiles Data Portal

Access the data that populates our Community Profiles tools and download it for use in your own visualization tools, or statistical or mapping software.

Go to the tool.
VoiceGR / VoiceKent

VoiceGR/VoiceKent is an evolving community survey, designed uniquely to connect demographics with opinions and perceptions of greater Grand Rapids area residents.

Go to the survey.

Online Tools

  • LearnPhilanthropy

    A marketplace of knowledge, tools, and connections for newcomers. Navigate the field, learn with peers and thought leaders, and improve your grant making.

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  • Our State of Generosity

    An online platform to share Michigan’s philanthropic history. Discover milestones that made the state a leader, and get tools for effective philanthropy.

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  • Community Profiles 2.0

    Explore housing and economics data in Grand Rapids with this interactive mapping and demographic snapshot tool.

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  • VoiceKent & VoiceGR

    An annual community survey designed uniquely to connect demographics with opinions and perceptions of Grand Rapids and Kent County residents.

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Johnson Center Blog

  • Photos of current and former Detroit Innovation Fellows. Top row (L to R): Shamayim ‘Mama Shu’ Harris, Juan Carlos Dueweke-Perez, Phillis Judkins, and Nicole Lindsey. Bottom row (L to R): Jackson Koeppel, Rebecca “Bucky” Willis, Tanya Saldivar-Ali, and Ali Dirul.

    The Power of Investing in People: 6 Lessons from the Detroit Innovation Fellowship

    The Power of Investing in People: 6 Lessons from the Detroit Innovation Fellowship by Pamela Lewis This blog was produced as a part of Field Focus: Inclusive Strategies for Prosperity, a digital series to explore philanthropy’s role in inclusive economic development and community prosperity. In 2017, my colleagues and I

  • Members of the Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil) at the State Capitol in Jackson, Miss in 2018. Photo courtesy of Nina Robinson/The Verbatim Agency/Getty Images. Some rights reserved.

    As Donors and as Causes, Women are Taking the Lead in Philanthropy

    As Donors and as Causes, Women are Taking the Lead in Philanthropy by Kate Pew Wolters Last month, Melinda Gates announced her pledge to spend $1 billion over the next decade to help close the gender equality gap — to put more women in positions to make decisions, control resources, and

All Blog Posts

Partners