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PEAK Grantmaking

25 Years of PEAK

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Presenting our 2021 Annual Report

It was a year full of turmoil, heartbreak, and immense need. It was also a time when PEAK Grantmaking rallied our community around a call to action: How can philanthropy do better? Explore what we accomplished together, as we reflected on PEAK’s first 25 years and embarked on our next chapter.

Grants Professionals as Change Agents for Operationalizing Equity

A 25th anniversary highlight: A dynamic CEO panel of PEAK’s Satonya Fair, Kresge Foundation’s Rip Rapson, Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker, and GEO’s Marcus Walton reflects on philanthropy’s evolution and challenges ahead, and discusses how grants professionals can lead the way as change agents for operationalizing equity.


Watch the video

A Transformative Gift

PEAK receives a transformative gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in June 2021. Read President and CEO Satonya Fair’s note to gratitude.

PEAK’s Next Chapter

At our 2021 annual meeting, President and CEO Satonya Fair and the Board of Directors announced plans for PEAK’s “next chapter,” guided by a new strategic framework that will define our goals and guide our work in the years ahead

We also articulated what “PEAK” stands for—Principles, Equity, Advocacy, Knowledge—and unveiled evolved branding that keeps PEAK’s visual identity in step with our bold aspirations to transform philanthropy.

PEAK Reaches 6,000 Members

PEAK membership totals 6,000, with 1,000 in the original Northeast chapter. PEAK now represents over 2,000 organizations in its network.

PEAK’s First President

Satonya Fair, JD, joins as PEAK’s first president and CEO.

Salary Report Released

PEAK releases 2020 Grants Management Salary Report. First started in 2003 as the Salary Survey, the report shows the evolution and growth of the profession as key to organizational strategy. Key findings explore differences in pay within gender, race, education, sexual orientation, job band, and more.

PEAK2020 Moves Virtual

Just days before attendees were set to arrive in Seattle, the PEAK2020 conference is canceled in March due to the emergence of the novel coronavirus.


Event tote bags are donated to the local food bank. While a record 975 people had registered to attend in person, the event takes place virtually a few months later, with 1,132 attendees. The organization reaches 5,000 total members.

Journal Is Reimagined

PEAK launches a re-envisioned member magazine with the first issue raising up the often-unheard voices and experiences of Black professionals in philanthropy. Read about the evolution of PEAK’s Journal.


Another Membership Milestone

PEAK reaches 4,000 total members.

Principles for Peak Grantmaking

With the 2019 launch of the Principles for Peak Grantmaking, PEAK issues a clarion call for action to transform the practice of philanthropy into the practice of principled grantmaking, helping grants professionals lead the way with a values-driven, equity-centered, practice-based roadmap for change.


The first iteration of the Courage in Practice white paper is presented at the Denver conference.


Later that year, the Principles initiative expands with an online hub and the release of its first of five suites of resources and tools: Tie Practices to Values.

Competency Model Is Released

PEAK releases the Grants Management Professional Competency Model, which defines the professional knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of grants management professionals regardless of area of specialization, the size of organization, or role within the field. The competencies provide a comprehensive look at the profession. In just three years, the model is downloaded nearly 2,000 times by members.

GMN Becomes PEAK

GMN (Grants Managers Network) changes its name to PEAK Grantmaking to more boldly and persuasively convey the strategic value of grants management professionals and practices in realizing philanthropy’s full potential to fuel change for good.

Membership Grows to 3,000

The organization reaches the 3,000-member mark, signaling an exponential growth in membership and resources.

First Conference Site Visits

The annual conference, in New Orleans, has 775 attendees. It’s also the first time that members go on site visits during a conference to see the work of partner nonprofits.

First Leadership Summit

GMN holds its first Leadership Summit for Chapter Officers at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C During the meeting, Sara Davis of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and consultant Daniel Weinzveg  presented a workshop on the evolution of grants management. Chapter officers discussed strategies for growing chapters and ways to design better learning sessions for members.

Online Portal Is Introduced

MY GMN online portal is launched. The website features forum discussions, a knowledge database, job postings, and a membership directory. Two years later, CONNECT online communities are launched.

First Conference Chapter Meetings

GMN hosts its annual conference in San Diego, with nearly 675 attendees. It’s also the first time there have been chapter meetings at a conference.

A Membership Milestone

GMN reaches 2,000 total members.

GMNinsight Is Published

GMN publishes the first issue of GMNinsight, themed Brave New World. The quarterly online publication was designed to share key knowledge of grants professionals gained through years of experience in grants management; explore the trends and practices of modern grantmaking; and drive forward thinking and progress that will shape new approaches to delivering mission-critical funding and support services.

Bill Gates Sr. Addresses Seattle

GMN hosts its sixth annual conference in Seattle, which is themed Brewing Bold Ideas for an Innovative Future. Over 450 attendees hear Bill Gates Sr. deliver the keynote address.

Project Streamline Begins

Grants Managers Network launches Project Streamline, a field-wide effort led by GMN. The project publishes Drowning in Paperwork, Distracted from Purpose, a study of the burdens of applications and reporting. In 2013, Project Streamline produces the Practices That Matter report.  


To support Project Streamline, GMN introduces Dr. Streamline to answer—in a sassy, fun way—questions from members about the project. 

Staffing Guide Is Published

GMN publishes Staffing Grants Management. The guide is pivotal for grants managers to help senior staff at foundations understand their work. Many grants management professionals use the guide to advocate for additional staff and title changes.

First Executive Director

Michelle Greanias joins GMN as the organization’s first executive director and its first paid staff member.

First GMN Conference

About 250 people attend GMN’s first conference on April 2-4 at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, designed as an annual event. The theme: Taking Grants Management to New Heights.

Nonprofit Status

GMN celebrates its 10th anniversary. The organization is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) public nonprofit.

GMN Responds to Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina destroys New Orleans and damages much of the Gulf Coast and southeast United States, creating a humanitarian crisis.


In response to this and other natural disasters of magnitude, GMN streamlines processes to help move large amounts of money for relief.

GMN Adapts to New Regulations

Congress passes the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, adding new, strict financial reporting and auditing requirements for publicly traded companies in response to several high-profile scandals.


Many foundations also adopt these regulations, putting grants managers at the forefront of compliance.

New Chapters Join

The Midwest region joins GMN. Over the next decade, the organization expands across the country. By 2012, 14 chapters cover the entire United States and its territories.

National Expansion

GMN expands nationally with support from the Rockefeller Family Fund. This funding allowed the organization to begin a growth spurt and conduct more widespread fundraising, hire contractual support, launch a website and online community, and finally hold the first-ever conference.

GIGI Is Introduced

Group Intelligence on Grantmaking Information (GIGI), GMN’s first online community, launches. The message board acts as a resource for GMN’s members to communicate, collaborate, and share important documents. GIGI sets the stage for GMN’s (and subsequently PEAK’s) visionary use of technology.

9/11 Prompts Refocus

Following the attacks on the United States on 9/11, President George W. Bush signs Executive Order 13324, designed to prevent the funding of terrorism overseas.

GMN shifts focus to protecting foundations from inadvertently funding terrorism by providing clear guidance on compliance with the Treasury Department and Office of Foreign Asset Control.

Best Practices Guide Is Published

The group publishes Best Practices in Grants Management, developed with leadership of the GMN Best Practices Manual Committee and support from the Council on Foundations and funders.

GMN Is Officially Formed

Grants Managers Network (GMN) is formed, initially focused in and around the New York region. By 2000, the organization holds three group meetings annually in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Los Angeles.

First GMN Meeting

GMN holds its first group meeting in New York, with 11 people attending. By 2000, the organization holds three group meetings annually in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Los Angeles.

The Original Idea

Two grants managers, Ann Gael and Margaret Egan, have lunch in New York at Cafe Un Deux Trois. Their discussion and desire for a comprehensive, organized resource to help grants managers leads to the founding of the Grants Managers Network. The following year, the group holds its first meeting in New York with 11 people attending. Read more…

Two Ways to Contribute

Your story is our story. Be a part of PEAK Grantmaking history by contributing a video or submitting stories and images to our growing story archive.

Be a Part of Our
Anniversary Video Series

All you need is a phone or computer! We invite our members and partners to celebrate PEAK by recording a brief “selfie” video. Share a favorite memory or tell us about your big dreams for PEAK’s future.

How to share
Record your short video in a well-lit room and upload it to social media or add it to a shareable Dropbox folder or other file-sharing platform. Then, share the link via our submission form.

Get inspired by our videos!

Submit a Memory or Image Telling Our Story

Help us build an archive that is as vibrant as the PEAK community. Share a PEAK memory that makes you smile. Contribute an image or historical document you’ve held onto. Snap a photo of your PEAK swag at your desk, at the beach, wherever you are. Link to a social media post. We’d love to share it all with our community!

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    We are a community with a shared vision to transform philanthropy and lead equitable grantmaking practices.

    Where We've Been

    Explore the history of PEAK and evolution of grants management.



    Grants managers Ann Gael and Margaret Egan discuss the need for a network.



    The Grants Managers Network (GMN) is born and expands nationally.



    GMN changes its name to PEAK Grantmaking.



    PEAK now has more than 6,000 members in its network.

    Thank you to our 25th Anniversary Sponsors