VoiceGR is an annual survey conducted by researchers at Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Johnson Center at GVSU has announced that the VoiceGR survey is expanding to include surveys for Byron Center and Muskegon this year with an emphasis on questions focusing on racial equity and neighborhood change.

The new programs, known as VoiceMuskegon and VoiceByronCenter, will serve the same purpose as the established VoiceGR program, which is to gather information about how residents of each city rank aspects of their lives on topics ranging from neighborhood safety and education to food availability and leisure activities.

The primary goal of the surveys is to provide objective data to residents, nonprofits, governments, businesses and other decision makers regarding the perceptions and needs of their community. They connect demographics with opinions and perceptions. The surveys are meant to stimulate conversation.

The surveys will run through October 31. The results will be shared at a year-end Community Research Summit where nonprofit program managers, public officials and community leaders will be able to use the data.

Jodi Petersen, senior researcher of the Community Research Institute at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, talks about a new focus for the survey in Grand Rapids.

This year there has been a focus on informing key city leaders; including the Mayor, city commissioners, Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Grand Rapids Police Department about the data. The hope is to provide easily accessible data to inform decisions.

The Johnson Center hopes to have 7,000 surveys taken in Grand Rapids this year.