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Johnson Center appoints new CRI director, associate director

  • Beverly Grant (left) and Jodi Petersen (right)

Posted on May 02, 2016

Grand Valley's Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy has appointed a new director of the center's Community Research Institute and a new associate director. 

Jodi Petersen – Community Research Institute director

Petersen will lead the Johnson Center’s efforts to provide information for leaders and community members to engage in data-informed decision making. Peterson will focus on collaboration with local, regional and national stakeholders who seek to improve communities through the nonprofit and philanthropy field.

Under Petersen’s leadership, CRI will continue its efforts to serve as a research generator, community informer, tool builder and data hub. Petersen’s responsibilities include oversight of a team of researchers, analysts and technology experts to advance a portfolio of applied research and evaluation design, as well as community data and indicators. 

Petersen joined the Johnson Center in 2012, initially serving as senior researcher and then interim director of the Community Research Institute. Prior to the Johnson Center, Petersen provided research consulting for implementing risk assessment measures for juveniles.

“Jodi brings to the role an important mix of passion for the sector and a deep belief in the power of data-informed decision making,” said Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Johnson Center.

Petersen also has background in higher education, having served as an adjunct assistant professor at Alma College in the areas of psychology, social work, social action and nonprofit administration. 

She has presented internationally at conferences on psychology, social justice and criminology. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and the Society for Community Research and Action. 

Petersen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in crime and justice from the University of Michigan, as well as both a master’s degree and doctorate in ecological community psychology from Michigan State University. 

Beverly Grant – associate director

Grant returns to the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy as associate director.

She is responsible for operations of the Johnson Center and for partnering with the senior leadership team to implement the center’s strategic initiatives.

Grant initially joined the Johnson Center as the associate director in 2014 before accepting a one-year appointment as Grand Valley’s interim assistant vice president of Inclusion & Equity. She returned to the Johnson Center in April to resume her role as associate director.

Grant's previous work included serving as the program officer for the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation; deputy director of program services for Network180; and director of operations, quality assurance and strategic management for Bethany Christian Services.

Grant serves on several boards in the West Michigan community, including the Michigan Community Service Commission, D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s, and the Early Learning Opportunities Network.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Grambling State University and master’s degree in social work from Atlanta University.