GRAND RAPIDS – VoiceGR, Grand Rapids’ community survey, is expanding to become countywide thanks to a new partnership between the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and the Kent County Health Department. As VoiceKent, the survey will gather critical public health information from all areas of Kent County’s more than 600,000 residents.

The larger data collection area means that more valuable information will be available to community partners and nonprofits seeking to learn about the needs of Kent County’s many diverse communities beyond the Grand Rapids area. 

The survey is available online at

“This partnership with the Kent County Health Department allows us to expand the data-collection area of the survey and explore public health with greater depth, as well as increase the usefulness of the survey within our community,” said Jodi Petersen, director of the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute (CRI) which conducts the survey each year. “This year’s survey results will build upon previous years’ data and provide access to more information for local stakeholders to inform their decision making.”

The survey, which collects responses from June-October, connects demographics with the opinions, attitudes and perceptions of Kent County residents on topics such as employment, education, racism and discrimination, ability to meet basic needs, access to health care and neighborhood safety. The data gathered from the survey will help create a baseline for conversations on these important community issues.

“This is a large, community-wide effort that will involve the participation of many Kent County agencies,” said Chelsey Saari, public health programs supervisor for the Kent County Health Department. “The KCHD and Healthy Kent are excited to partner with the Johnson Center on this project.”

By partnering with the Kent County Health Department and Healthy Kent, the Johnson Center hopes to increase the number of collected responses to more than 6,000. 

Survey results will be released in spring 2018 and will help neighborhood associations, schools, nonprofits, funders, local government and businesses better plan their programming. 

The survey is available online at and is open to all residents who live, work, or do business in Kent County.

The survey, originally called the Greater Grand Rapids Community Survey, began in 2001 as a phone survey to the owners of 500 randomly selected landline telephone numbers in the city of Grand Rapids. The methodology was revised in 2013, and the survey, renamed VoiceGR, grew to collect responses from more than 3,000 Grand Rapids area residents through a combination of paper and online surveys.

Healthy Kent is a collaborative effort to identify and address public health issues with the goal of improving community health through community action. 

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