Emily Brenner, M.P.A.

Program Manager

Contact Emily about courses for grantmakers and donors.

Emily is available to help arrange a custom course of The Grantmaking School, answer questions about open courses, or set up institutional subscriptions for LearnPhilanthropy Academy.


Emily Brenner joined the Johnson Center in 2018 and currently serves as program manager. In this role, she helps develop and manage professional development opportunities for the philanthropic sector. Emily’s primary responsibility is the management of The Grantmaking School, where she handles the course calendar, coordinates with instructors, and develops private and custom course offerings for clients. She also helped execute Track 1 of LearnPhilanthropy Academy, helps facilitates workshops, and works on many other projects for the center.

Emily joined the Johnson Center as a student assistant and transitioned to a full-time staff member in 2019. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in nonprofit management and leadership, as well as a bachelor’s degree in global studies and social impact with a minor in Latin American studies, from Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Emily received the Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award from GVSU for her undergraduate major in 2019, and received The Graduate School Citations for Academic Excellence for her Leadership and Service to GVSU in 2022.

In addition to her work at the Johnson Center, Emily serves on the board of directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids. When she’s not working, you can find Emily spending time with her loved ones — fulfilling her role as “Auntie Em” to various pets and small humans — reading a good book, or visiting new restaurants and businesses in Grand Rapids.

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