Trusted Guidance for Doing Good

Established in 1992, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy is an academic center within the College of Community and Public Service at Grand Valley State University.

Like many academic centers, we offer original research and expertise on the latest theories in our field. Yet when we talk about “doing good,” we mean more than theory. The Johnson Center puts research to work, with and for professionals across the country.

Through professional development services, courses and trainings, philanthropic tools, and more, we support:

  • Effective Philanthropy: Helping donors and foundations adopt best practices in their careers and organizations
  • Strong Nonprofits: Helping nonprofit organizations strengthen their teams, tools, and thinking for better impact
  • Informed Community Change: Guiding nonprofits, foundations, institutions, and neighborhood groups in using data to do good

We have also been proud to spearhead many first-of-their-kind leadership roles and publications that benefit the field of philanthropy. These include the Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy and the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, both of which support original research in the field, such as the NextGen report on new donors. Additionally, the Johnson Center’s quarterly publication, The Foundation Review, is the first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy.


The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy aims to be a global leader in helping individuals and organizations understand, strengthen, and advance philanthropy.


We envision a world with smart, adaptive, and effective philanthropy.

Our Connection to the University

As a center within the College of Community and Public Service, the Johnson Center works closely with the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration in support of the undergraduate and graduate education of the next generation of philanthropic and nonprofit leaders. Being part of Grand Valley State University also means we can access additional resources and diverse expertise depending on your organization’s needs or your professional interests.

Careers at the Johnson Center

View our open positions.