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PEAK Grantmaking

The Future of Philanthropy

25 YEARS OF PEAK

The Future of Philanthropy

Satonya Fair is smiling, sitting on a yellow couch, and making a heart with her hands.

This year, we celebrated PEAK Grantmaking’s 25th anniversary and learned just how far our community has come.

We discovered our organization’s origins and reflected on our history of adapting to new technology and growing careers.

We read about iconic initiatives, including our first annual conference and Project Streamline.

We listened as our members shared their stories for future generations of grants professionals. And all the while, we continued to add new milestones to our timeline.

Our organization’s past proves, time and time again, that the PEAK Grantmaking community focuses on the future. So as the anniversary year comes to a close, we can’t help but wonder: What’s next?

This is a moment where philanthropy is needed more than ever to be a force for change and to be a huge contributor in social justice.

PEAK Grantmaking CEO Satonya Fair

Looking Ahead to PEAK’s Next Chapter

We sat down with PEAK Grantmaking CEO Satonya Fair to discuss the next chapter in our organization’s history. She shared four takeaways from the anniversary year upon which PEAK members can reflect as we head into the new year.

1. This is an vital moment for philanthropy

“Some pretty monumental things have happened around us, including a global pandemic, a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, a new strategic framework for PEAK and a transformative gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that will help us actualize these strategic changes.

We have an opportunity right now to act on those events and to be different. As a community, we can set the tone of what is possible from a best practice standpoint—and not like what we’ve done in the past.”

2. Focus on the first principle: Tie your practices to your values

“One of the things that’s so important for our work both internally and externally right now is our principles. At this moment, I am sitting with our first principle, which is to tie your practices to your values in so many ways—both personally and professionally.

Ask yourself: How can you tie your organization’s practices to its principles right now? Rather than hiding behind our organization’s missions, how can we as grants professionals live the lives we say we will?”

3. Our work matters

“The last couple of years have proven that philanthropy has something to say about the future. We as grants managers have an important role to play in what comes next regardless of the size of our organizations. If we get it right, we can truly influence other sectors.

And so—what is that sector space where philanthropy should and could be playing? I think our role as change agents is actually much larger than most organizations feel. So remember, your role is much larger than it feels or than you realize.”

4. We need to act now to achieve equity

Mind the lessons that we’ve learned, and do not go back to what feels comfortable and safe because you feel like the crisis is over. Because there is a community somewhere at all times in a full-blown crisis. And for 400 years, it’s been Black people in this country.

We are often so focused on figuring out how to avoid harming communities that we wait too long to act. If we stall our efforts in the name of perfection, then communities may disappear by the time we show up to help. But if we walk through the door today with questions and inquiry, then at least that’s progress.

It’s not about having all of the right answers. It’s about raising your hand and working with others to come up with solutions.”

Celebrating what’s possible

This anniversary has been about celebrating our members, who for 25 years have reimagined what is possible for philanthropy and grants professionals. We’re a community well-positioned to lead the sector and drive equitable grantmaking forward. The proof lies in our history, which will continue to remind us of what we’re capable of achieving together. As Satonya says:

I'm excited to go into the future with a really keen look into the past, letting it drive us—and drive me—toward a place where people who consider themselves part of our community are well-represented, well-supported and can definitely sit at any table and help the sector get better.

Read more PEAK stories, illuminating milestones in our 25-year journey.