Higher Education and Nonprofits

GVSU creates first-of-its-kind philanthropy position

August 15, 2013
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GVSU creates first-of-its-kind philanthropy position
The GVSU Johnson Center for Philanthropy, established in 1992, focuses on “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the charitable sector.” Courtesy GVSU

Grand Valley State University is the first school in the nation to combine philanthropy and the community into one faculty chair position.

The chair at GVSU’s Johnson Center for Philanthropy is funded for by a $1.5 million gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kellogg Company 25-Year Employee’s Fund, according to a GVSU announcement.

The W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair will honor the legacy of philanthropy and civic investment of W.K. Kellogg, the founder of the Kellogg Company and W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek.

“We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to establish the first chair in community philanthropy in the country,” said GVSU President Thomas Haas. “The Johnson Center is one of the nation’s largest university-based philanthropic centers, and this gift enables it to continue its history of excellence and expand its outreach to communities.”

GVSU said the community philanthropy chair will be responsible for helping communities discover their own philanthropic capabilities and practices.

The chair will partner with both corporate and private donors, as well as nonprofits.

“This is a distinctive chair for the field of philanthropy,” said James Edwards II, director of the Johnson Center. “With the addition of this chair, along with the existing Frey Chair for Family Philanthropy, the Johnson Center and Grand Valley are contributing transformational resources, research and expertise to the sector.” 

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