James Edwards, Ph.D.
Title: Executive Director
Program: Johnson Center
Dr. James Edwards is the executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Under his leadership, the Johnson Center delivers grantmaking curriculum to foundations across the nation, provides research and data to local and regional nonprofits, publishes the only peer-reviewed journal for foundations, and delivers technical assistance and trainings to nonprofits in Michigan.
Edwards joined the Johnson Center as director of the Community Research Institute. His work focused on providing data to support the work of the philanthropic and nonprofit sector. This included the expansion of web-based, community information systems to assist foundations and nonprofit organizations in making data driven decisions, the evaluation of out of school time services, youth criminal offenses, and dropout prevention programs, and an examination of the early childhood education system. Previously, he held roles as assistant professor and director of Field Education in the School of Social Work at Grand Valley State University. Prior to moving into higher education, he had over thirteen years of human service and nonprofit experience in child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, and substance use services. He earned his doctorate in social work from Michigan State University.
Edwards is a native of Grand Rapids and was a member of several local boards. He is the board secretary for the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), which is comprised of over 52 universities and colleges worldwide. Edwards has led numerous trainings and lectures.
Edwards is currently writing an article, Disruptive Community Data: How Foundations and Nonprofits Receive and Process Increasingly Granular Community Information.