PEAK members and superstar volunteers Jina Freiberg of Katz Amsterdam Foundation, Kelly Costello of Rose Community Foundation, and Suki O’Kane of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund talk about the value of finding their people, centering on equity, and making deep connections with peers.
Jina Freiberg, Katz Amsterdam Foundation: I first met the PEAK community back in 2014. I was at the time working for a small family foundation and found this community of other grants management professionals.
Kelly Costello, Rose Community Foundation: My predecessor at my first position in grants management was the one who strongly encouraged I joined PEAK Grantmaking. And I will say that the grants management 101 pre-conference session was really the foundation for how I learned how to do my job.
Suki O’Kane, Walter & Elise Haas Fund: I found my PEAK community when I couldn’t do something. I realized there was an online community that I could log into and be my ignorant self and everyone would come warmly to me and say, “Take a look.”
Freiberg: One Peak principle that I try to put forward on my day to day work as a grants manager is narrowing the power gap. I think it’s important, as a grants manager, to work closely with the grantees, providing all the support that they need and the guidance, especially for smaller organizations that may not have full-time development staff.
Costello: The nice thing about the way PEAK Grantmaking is structured is that there really are some overarching issues that the field of philanthropy and specifically grants management will be looking at, especially around issues of equity and access.
O’Kane: Philanthropy is ready to pick up some values because of what was happening to us with global pandemic and with racial justice reckoning. The fact that PEAK was already there really made sense to me and to everyone around me in the field.
Freiberg: I think one of the ways that the PEAK community is uniquely generous and supportive is through the sharing of resources.
Costello: We have members who are in other states and who are not necessarily able to join us in meetings, but they are getting our emails and they are able to tap into the other larger resources that the national organization is able to provide.
Freiberg: I was happy to share my time and my experiences implementing an online grant payment system, because I know that I’ve also taken advantage of the resources that other PEAK community members have offered me.
Costello: I think it was at that first conference that I really started to understand that the community of PEAK Grantmaking just felt so different and deeper and more personal than a lot of other work gatherings. I have been able to connect with a handful of people who really are my go-to people when I have any questions.
O’Kane: PEAK starts as a place of refuge. You need some place where you’re understood. If you really use those tools, you can make a lot of change, not only in your organization, but everywhere.
Freiberg: I want to wish PEAK a happy 25th anniversary. I cannot wait to see what the next 25 years will look like.
O’Kane: My hopes for PEAK’s future is that it starts to behave like a musician, an ensemble player, someone who listens 70% of the time and does things about 30% of the time. And it can recognize the opportunity to be a thoughtful and inspired soloist.
Costello: Happy anniversary PEAK. Thank you so much for all of the support and the encouragement and friendship over the last 10 years. And looking forward to the next 25.