Jason Franklin

PhD - 2014

W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair
Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
Jason Franklin

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

Being in NYC was a critical part of my professional journey, from the chance to help design the 9/11 grants program to help arts groups in Lower Manhattan rebuild to the general access to philanthropic leaders who are concentrated in NYC as a hub for global philanthropy. Living, working and studying in NYC offered a constant stream of connections and opportunities for relationship building and learning that I think I would have been hard pressed to find anywhere else. While I'm excited now to live in a place a little calmer and more affordable (grin!), I am so thankful to have spent over a decade in NYC...it shaped my career and life journey in ways big and small.

How would you describe your experience as a Wagner student?

NYU Wagner was a fabulous place to pursue my doctoral studies. I got wonderful access and support from Wagner faculty, a chance to work with the Research Center for Leadership in Action coordinating the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generation Leadership Network, and wonderful teaching opportunities during my time at NYU. I am especially and forever indebted to several faculty who served as mentors and guides. Wagner's focus on applied research, on making the academy relevant for policy and social change was exactly the orientation that was sought for the first Kellogg Chair. I am constantly drawing on my research, learning from my coursework, and teaching experiences at Wagner in my new role.

Describe your current job.

Today, I serve as the WK Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, the nation's first endowed chair in community philanthropy which is housed at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. In this newly created post, I am focused on establishing a "creative, comprehensive program of research, teaching, service, and thought leadership designed to explore and advance the field of community philanthropy, nationally and internationally." In this role, I will be working with community and public foundations, giving circles, donor networks, funder collaboratives, crowd funding platforms and others who are building and adapting vehicles for collective giving to move the field of community philanthropy forward. Right now, some of my big projects include new research initiatives on the scale and scope of giving circles in the US and on participatory grantmaking, (approaches to engaging local residents and activists in grant decision making) and developing a partnership with the Global Fund for Community Foundations to connect research and practice to build the field of global community philanthropy.