About Us

The Community Research Institute (CRI) operates on the belief that better information leads to better communities. We do this by:

Collaborating with community agencies to access and gather explicit data

Conducting original research to gather, analyze and interpret data in a range of socio, economic, and demographic conditions and trends

Applying advanced technology to gain new data and insights that improve local decision-making

Measuring results and reporting outcomes of investments in community change

Mission

Empowering communities with quality research and data.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Grand Valley State University have joined forces to create the Community Research Institute (CRI), which is housed in the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. The Institute monitors changing local and regional social conditions and provides this information to the local nonprofit and philanthropic community. CRI's goal is to be the "one-stop shop" for data about the Greater Grand Rapids community.

The Institute helps organizations understand the evolving needs of the community, document these needs for grant applications, and measure the success of their various programs. The CRI taps local experts in various areas such as hiring patterns, education, housing, and race relations. CRI also employs researchers with expertise in social research, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and community outreach. Associate researchers, faculty consultants, graduate assistants, student interns and clerical support also contribute to the effort.

CRI also provides education opportunities for Grand Valley's students. They learn how to work with community-based organizations as well as gather and analyze data.

Community Information System

CRI is committed to building a growing "data sharehouse" for the region, and thus improve the democratic decision-making capacity in our local communities and the effectiveness of their civic, philanthropic, and grassroots leadership. Through collaborations and negotiations, CRI accesses information owned by various government and nonprofit agencies. Through partnerships with community organizations, CRI monitors changing local and regional social conditions. Through its web site and reports, CRI disseminates information in aggregated form, always with consideration for the privacy of individuals and households. Through its project work, CRI helps local nonprofit organizations analyze the evolving needs of the community, document these needs for grant applications, and measure the success of their various programs.