Joel J. Orosz, Ph.D.
Title: Distinguished Professor of Philanthropic Studies Emeritus
Program: Johnson Center
Dr. Joel J. Orosz is a distinguished professor of philanthropic studies at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also the founding director of one of the Johnson Center’s programs, The Grantmaking School, on the faculty of which he continues to serve. Joel joined the Johnson Center in 2001, and has been associated with the Center in various volunteer capacities since its establishment in 1992.
Joel began his career in the museum field as a curatorial assistant at the Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a curator at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in Kalamazoo, Mich. He joined the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., in 1986 as executive assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, was promoted to associate program director in 1989, and promoted again to program director in charge of Philanthropy and Volunteerism programming in 1990. His major achievement at the Kellogg Foundation was the 18-year, $64 million Michigan Community Foundations’ Youth Project, which created 23 new community foundations in Michigan, 86 permanently endowed youth advisory councils, brought full community foundation coverage to the state, and jump-started the national youth philanthropy movement. Joel also made grants to create key pieces of the nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure in Michigan, including the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, the Michigan Community Service Commission, the ConnectMichigan Alliance, and the Michigan Campus Compact.
Joel has served on numerous national, statewide, and local boards in the field, including chairing the Council on Foundations Committee on Legislation and Regulations, the advisory council of the Points of Light Foundation, serving as a founding commissioner of the Michigan Community Service Commission, serving on the public policy committee of the Council of Michigan Foundations, as a member of the board of the Nokomis Foundation, and a member of the endowment committee of the Lakeside Community Learning Center in Kalamazoo. He continues to serve on the education committee of the Giving Forum, the boards of the Guido and Elizabeth Binda Foundation, and the Burton H. and Elizabeth S. Upjohn Charitable Trust, as well as the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. He is also a Fellow of the American Numismatic Society, and a member of the Rittenhouse Society, both scholarly organizations in the world of numismatics.
Joel grew up in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he still lives with his wife, Florence, and their four children. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Kalamazoo College, a Master of Arts in history and museum studies and a doctorate in U.S. social history from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He has written five books and edited another on the topics of museums, numismatics, and philanthropy. His sixth book, Effective Foundation Management: 14 Challenges of Philanthropic Leadership – and How to Outfox Them, was published in 2007.