Frey Foundation Chair for
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy (Johnson Center)
is an externally-oriented academic center of Grand Valley State
University. The center works with nonprofit and foundation
practitioners, scholars and students, and partners in business and
government to bridge the gap between the information and skills
communities need and the change they want to make.
The Johnson Center was established at GVSU in 1992 with support
from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Through our professional
education offerings; research, evaluation, and strategic services;
and bold thinking to advance the field, we support a philanthropic
ecosystem defined by effective philanthropy, strong nonprofits, and
informed community change.
The Johnson Center now seeks nominations and applications for
the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy.
The Chair was established at the Johnson Center in 2008 as the
world’s first endowed chair for family philanthropy. The Chair is a
leading voice on family philanthropy issues, trends, and
innovations while serving as a resource for all who seek to advance
the many elements of family giving and engagement. Working in this
dynamic field, the incoming Chair will develop and implement a
creative and comprehensive applied program of research, thought
leadership, service, and teaching designed to explore and advance
the field of family philanthropy, broadly defined, and to actively
advance the dissemination of their scholarship.
Ideal candidates will have a passion for and a deep
understanding of the intricate ecosystem of philanthropy, as well
as a distinctive combination of academic credentials and
senior-level career experience within philanthropy and the
nonprofit sector. They will combine not only a nuanced
understanding of the history and evolution of philanthropy,
particularly family philanthropy, but also its current practice and
evolution, including its equity-focused work. A doctoral-level
degree is required.
The Johnson Center is committed to inclusion and equity and
encourages candidates with diverse lived experience and
perspectives from underrepresented communities to apply. The ideal
candidate will have experience working effectively across a diverse
and broad range of stakeholders, must be comfortable navigating in
complex environments, and must be able to demonstrate how they can
contribute to and help extend a culture of inclusivity within our
organization and the broader field.
Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
In the early 1990s, Dr. Russell Mawby (president and CEO of the
W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 1970-1995) and Arend D. Lubbers (president
of GVSU, 1969-2001) shared a vision to establish an anchor
institution of higher education and applied research on
philanthropy in Michigan. The center of excellence they established
at GVSU in 1992 as the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit
Leadership was renamed for Dorothy A. Johnson (trailblazer and
founding president of the Council of Michigan Foundations) in
For more than 30 years, the Johnson Center has served as a
bridge between research and practice, ensuring that changemakers
have access to the cutting-edge knowledge, guidance, and supports
they need to build a world where everyone can thrive. Today, the
Johnson Center’s areas of expertise, partnerships, and audiences
extend well beyond Michigan to communities and countries around the
The Johnson Center is home to the nation’s first endowed chairs
in both family (Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy) and
community (W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair) philanthropy,
as well as the first and only peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy
(The Foundation Review) and annually publishes the 11
Trends in Philanthropy illuminating where and how the sector is
moving. Our groundbreaking research on giving circles,
donor-advised funds, nonprofit leadership demographics, and other
studies provide transformative insights for the field. And
unparalleled professional development offerings – especially The
Grantmaking School and programs for nonprofit board members –
elevate practice nationwide.
Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University (GVSU), established in 1960, is a
four-year public university attracting more than 22,000 students
with its high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities.
GVSU provides a fully accredited liberal undergraduate and graduate
education and has campuses in Allendale and Grand Rapids, and
regional centers in Detroit, Muskegon, and Traverse City, Michigan.
The Johnson Center is located on GVSU’s Pew Campus in downtown
GVSU serves students from every state in the Union and numerous
foreign countries with undergraduate and graduate degree programs
in 300+ areas of study. Especially relevant to the work of the Frey
Foundation chair for Family Philanthropy, GVSU currently offers
undergraduate degrees in Public and Nonprofit Administration, a
graduate certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, and a masters in
Philanthropic and Nonprofit Leadership.
The university is dedicated to individual student achievement,
going beyond the traditional classroom experience with research
opportunities and business partnerships. GVSU employs more than
3,000 people and is committed to providing a fair and equitable
environment for the continued success of all.
Frey Foundation Chair for Family
The Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy was
established in 2008 by a generous gift from the Frey Foundation of
Grand Rapids, Michigan. In late 2023, the Frey Foundation and an
anonymous donor made landmark commitments towhich
will fully endow this role in order
to firmly position the incoming
Chair for their next era of impact. Working in the
dynamic field of family philanthropy, the incoming Chair will
create and implement a creative, comprehensive program of research,
thought leadership, services, and teaching designed to explore and
advance the field of family philanthropy, broadly defined. The
program will be developed to be in line with the incoming Chair’s
own areas of expertise and interest and will continue to promote
research and practice at this highly dynamic and exciting time for
The contributions of the Frey Foundation Chair for Family
Philanthropy to improving the understanding and practice of family
philanthropy have been well established on an international scale
under the leadership of Founding Chair Dr. Michael Moody, who
served in that role from 2010-2023. With committed partners and a
foundational body of work in place, the Johnson Center is now
poised to welcome a new Chair.
OPPORTUNITIES AND EXPECTATIONS
The incoming Chair will have the opportunity to:
- Plan, devise, and execute applied research projects and
- Develop and implement avenues for speaking engagements; media
placements; thought leadership; advising and consulting projects;
professional development and training; and other field-building
efforts for diverse local, national, and international
- Serve as an active member of the Johnson Center leadership
team, helping develop and support the center’s overall vision,
growth, and impact.
- Be an active collaborator with other programs and initiatives
of the Johnson Center and the University.
- Contribute to learning and professional development programs of
the Johnson Center, including The Grantmaking School, workshops and
webinars, and The Foundation Review
- Help solicit and secure external funding to support the
center’s projects and initiatives.
- Teach one 16-week course each year in a degree-granting unit of
The incoming Chair will bring his/her/their own interests to the
role and will have the opportunity to work on exciting emerging
areas of practice such as:
- How will the historic transfer of family wealth and the
emergence of a new and distinct generation of donors that we are
experiencing today impact nonprofits, communities, and giving
practice? What new or familiar methods of engagement, measures of
impact, or other indicators will emerge from new donors?
- How can we better understand and strengthen the philanthropic
engagement of families locally, nationally, and
- How is family philanthropy changing in a globalizing world? How
is family philanthropy evolving to meet the challenges of a divided
nation and a digital world?
- What approaches show the most promise as family philanthropy
seeks to address issues of dignity, equity, and belonging?
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
Ideal candidates will first and foremost demonstrate a
commitment to building the field of family philanthropy and bring a
distinctive combination of academic credentials and relevant
senior-level career experience to the work. The Frey Foundation
Chair for Family Philanthropy must have the knowledge and expertise
to participate meaningfully as a scholar and intellectual mentor in
a university setting, while also possessing the skills and
experience to engage as a reflective practitioner, advisor, and
partner with other leaders in philanthropic practice.
- Doctoral-level degree required.
- Minimum of five years of relevant experience in family
- Record of scholarship and/or reflective practice in the field
of family philanthropy, including publication in relevant
scholarly, philanthropic, public administration, business journals,
- Commitment to applied research, and to building bridges between
scholarship and practice.
- Outstanding research, writing, and communication skills.
- Proven ability to work across organizational lines and in a
team-oriented setting, and also to supervise graduate
- Demonstrated commitment to inclusion and equity (i.e., personal
commitment to knowledge-building, work with diverse communities,
projects that support and further the advancement of equity).
- Willingness to travel nationally and internationally and to be
a resident of West Michigan.
- Experience teaching, developing new curriculum, and serving as
a faculty member.
- Training and/or experience in raising funds to support applied
research, convenings, or other programs.
- Experience leading project teams and supervising diverse
students and/or staff.
Salary: Compensation package with attractive
benefits package; Minimum starting salary of $120,000; commensurate
Department/Division: Dorothy A. Johnson Center
for Philanthropy, Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence
Campus: Pew Campus, downtown Grand Rapids,
How to Apply: Apply online at jobs.gvsu.edu and select "Apply
now". Please include a cover letter and resume. The online
application will allow you to attach these documents
electronically. On the application, you will be required to provide
names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for three professional
references. If you have questions or need assistance, call Human
Resources at 616-331-2215.
Application Deadline Date: Review of
applications will begin immediately, and the deadline for applying
is February 4, 2024.
Anticipated Timeline: The Committee will review
applications and invite selected candidates to participate in
virtual interviews in March, 2024, with finalists to attend
in-person interviews in April. We anticipate making an offer by May
1, with the start date of the new Chair to be negotiated. Note:
these dates are subject to change and reflect our current best
Allendale, Michigan 49401 - (616) 331-5000
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