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Research Associate

Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy

Position Location
Grand Rapids, MI
Application Deadline

About the Organization

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University (Johnson Center) was established in 1992 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Our mission is to be a global leader in helping individuals and organizations understand, strengthen, and advance philanthropy, resulting in a smart, adaptive sector that helps create strong, inclusive communities. We put research to work with and for professionals across the country and the world. Through professional education offerings; research, evaluation, and consulting services; and bold thinking to advance the field, we support a philanthropic ecosystem defined by effective philanthropy, strong nonprofits, and informed community change.

Position Description

The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy seeks to understand, strengthen, and advance philanthropy in order to create strong, inclusive communities. 

The Center is seeking two Research Associates to join an interdisciplinary team of social science and information technology professionals.

Both openings are for full-time (40 hours per week) positions with the center’s Community Data and Research Lab (CDRL), located at our offices on the Pew Campus at GVSU, with the opportunity for flexible work arrangements according to the GVSU remote work policy (see Salary and Benefits sections below).

As a Research Associate, you will work on quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation projects and will produce a variety of written content for foundation and nonprofit clients.

The Research Associate works collaboratively with research managers, data analysts, and web developers at the lab as well as staff across the Johnson Center. In addition, the Research Associate supports the CDRL team in building relationships with current and potential clients, as well as assisting with project management, client communications, and preparing material for reports, workshops, presentations, and conferences. Key to the position is maintaining the highest standards of research quality and ethics, as well as the ability to manage a small portfolio of project assignments. 

The Research Associate will regularly meet one-on-one with an assigned CDRL Research Manager who will work closely with you and support you regarding research, client engagement, project management, and analysis/writing. On-the-job training and professional development opportunities will be available. 


  1. Design and implement research projects in collaboration with other team members
  2. Conduct qualitative research (interviews, focus groups) and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data
  3. Write reports for a variety of audiences (e.g., presentations, executive summaries, long form reports) for dissemination via various platforms
  4. Performs other duties as required/assigned by manager


    • Required
      • Bachelor’s Degree
      • Demonstrated interest in studying some aspect of philanthropy (nonprofits, foundations, donors, or organizations that support one of those three audiences)
      • Demonstrated interest in applied research and/or community work
      • Ability to read, summarize, and synthesize large quantities of information
      • Strong oral and written communication skills
      • Strong cultural competence, collaboration, and interpersonal skills
      • Prior experience with electronic research methods (e.g., online journals and reports)
      • Demonstrated experience with Microsoft Word and Excel
      • Ability to work effectively as part of multiple teams
    • Preferred
      • Any four-year degree or more in a field related to philanthropy; justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion studies; evaluation; or policy research
      • Demonstrated understanding and knowledge of both foundations and nonprofits
      • One to three years’ prior experience working in or with the philanthropic sector
      • Some prior experience in applied research and/or community work
      • Experience collecting data through interviews, focus groups, and open-ended survey responses; analyzing that data; and summarizing the results for both general and technical audiences
      • Experience with advanced data collection and analysis software (e.g., SAS, SPSS, Tableau, Qualtrics)

    Salary & Benefits
    Salary Range

    The salary for this position is $45,000-$55,000 depending on experience. The Research Associate position is eligible for the GVSU AP benefits package including paid vacation and sick time, health insurance, and retirement plans. For more information on benefits, please visit…

    How to Apply
    Apply online at 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 address for three professional references. Applicants selected for interviews may be required to submit official transcripts prior to the interview. If you need assistance, call Human Resources at 616-331-2215.

    Grand Valley State University is an EOE which includes protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. See TDD Callers: Call Michigan Relay Center at 711 (in State) or 1-800-833-7833 (out of State)