Meet the New Executive Director, Kyle Caldwell

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Grand Valley State University’s Dean George Grant Jr. announced the appointment of Kyle Caldwell to serve as the new executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy beginning August 1.

Caldwell comes to the Center with over 22 years of experience and will provide overall leadership and vision for sustainable growth and strategic objectives of one of the nation’s largest academic centers for philanthropy.

“This is a great opportunity to work with a storied organization under the vision of Dottie Johnson, and I am honored to be a part of Grand Valley State University,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell currently serves as the director of the Pathways to Opportunity grantmaking team at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, where they has been working to develop new education and youth poverty strategies for low-income family and communities. He has served in several leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, including president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and Connect Michigan Alliance. Caldwell’s extensive experience includes serving both former Michigan governors John Engler and Jennifer Granholm as the executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). Additionally, he has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Caldwell will help position the Center for success in pursuit of national and sector prominence in community philanthropy by immediately focusing on the Center’s three main strategic goals, including:

  • Providing accessible community data systems and community-based research with a systems-perspective, designed for learning and action;
  • Delivering applied knowledge for nonprofits and philanthropists, through training, publishing and online platforms, allowing nonprofits to operate more efficiently and help foundations make grants more effectively;
  • Offering specialized expertise in family and community philanthropy grounded in scholarly research and designed for practical application, through transmitting knowledge about, and for, foundations and donors, in order to improve family and community philanthropy.

“Caldwell’s experience will ensure the organization has the strong leadership needed to fulfill its mission and 22-year legacy of developing research, resources and educational opportunities for the philanthropic community,” said George Grant Jr., dean of the College of Community and Public Service.

Dorothy A. Johnson, namesake of the Johnson Center said, “Kyle’s vast experience and entrepreneurial approach will ensure the Center can help Grand Valley State University, donors and philanthropic organizations for years to come.”

Caldwell serves on a number of national and state governing boards including: National Council of Nonprofits, Independent Sector, Points of Light and the Michigan Community Service Commission. He also serves on several advisory boards including Nonprofit Vote Leadership Council, Council of Michigan Foundations Public Policy Committee and the School of Communication Advisory Committee at Western Michigan University. Caldwell, a Michigan native, earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University, where he studied organizational communication.

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. The center offers original research and expertise on the latest theories in the philanthropic field. 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, the center supports effective philanthropy, building strong nonprofits and providing resources for informed community change.


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