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PEAK Grantmaking

Relaunching the PEAK Journal

25 YEARS OF PEAK

Relaunching the PEAK Journal

The opportunity to guest-edit PEAK’s Journal gave me the space to look at field-level issues and to bring influential voices—including smaller voices that aren’t always amplified—into a necessary conversation….the Journal put our aspirations out there and modeled change in a really creative way.

Jane Ward, Grants Director, Meyer Foundation and PEAK Grantmaking Board of Directors member

For more than 25 years, PEAK Grantmaking members have contributed to grants management and philanthropy’s thought leadership. Books,white papers, research reports, and guides are part and parcel of PEAK and its thriving community of grants professionals.

The Journal holds a special place in PEAK’s publishing history. It is a document that has changed significantly over the course of the last decade, and though its medium, content and expression have evolved, it remains a steadfast representation of our members’ ideas and values out into the world.

An Evolving Resource for Philanthropy

The Journal began online in 2012 under the name GMNsight, which took inspiration from panels and discussions between members at the Grants Managers Network (now PEAK) annual conference. Its inaugural issue, “Brave New World,” focused on the unfamiliar technologies, processes and grantmaking developments of the new decade. Early articles such as “Grantmaking in the Cloud” and “Big Data Barges In” reflected the technological changes members were beginning to face in the workplace at the time.

What started as a humble five-article issue evolved into a compendium of 15 issues and 75 articles about grantmaking and the future of philanthropy. The website became PEAK Insight Journal, following the organization’s name change, and soon grew to reflect PEAK’s expanding membership and role within philanthropy. By 2018, the Journal had generated a robust collection of conversations about technology, philanthropy, reporting, national and international issues, and social justice.

In 2019, the PEAK team decided to evolve the Journal as the premier source of content for grants professionals by reimagining its format and composition. The team migrated the website’s content and relaunched the Journal as both a print and digital publication that created new and innovative ways to engage members, provide thought leadership on the most critical challenges facing philanthropy, and highlight how grants professionals are leading the way through evolving practices. “With each issue, we strive to immerse readers through a presentation that is powerful, provocative, and dynamic, visually and graphically,” said PEAK Grantmaking Communications and Marketing Director Betsy Reid.

Past PEAK Journals

Fun fact: PEAK Grantmaking partners with artists, designers, and nonprofits, including Amplifier and Liska + Associates, to create the Journal’s stunning graphics and design.

PEAK debuted Black Voices in Grants Management, the first edition of the reenvisioned journal, in February 2020. Black Voices introduced the practice of having two co-editors from the PEAK staff and a guest editor from the PEAK community develop the content. For that issue, Roland Kennedy Jr., Bloomberg Philanthropies, experienced firsthand the process of collecting and sharing membership stories with the larger community. He asked, “How can we incorporate more Black voices in this Journal, even if we cannot have full page articles and stories from each person?” PEAK turned to the community, posed a series of questions to the membership, and featured their anonymous responses in the issue. “Even though we could only source a handful of those contributions, we received hundreds of answers to those questions, and I read each and every one,” said Roland.

A few short months after the release of Black Voices, the nation witnessed the murder of George Floyd. The sixteenth issue of the Journal became a powerful and timely resource as the philanthropic community held conversations about racial justice and equity across the country. “Having that Journal be the first issue of the reimagined PEAK Grantmaking Journal project was a very proud moment, not only for myself but hopefully for many others to be able to feel like PEAK saw them, heard them and gave them a platform to tell their own stories,” said Roland. Our 2020 member survey showed that the Black Voices issue has become one of PEAK’s most-shared resources, as Organization Members continue to share the journal with colleagues at their respective organizations.

Fun fact: In 2021, PEAK Grantmaking celebrated Black History Month by opening up the “Black Voices” issue for anyone to access online.

Since the release (and re-release) of Black Voices, the Journal has continued to elevate the voices of grants professionals by providing intentional space for individual and collective storytelling in its successive issues, Reimagining Grantmaking and Career Journeys in Philanthropy. For grants managers, it has become a platform for advocacy and a place to showcase thought leadership around important issues.

Betsy describes the biannual publication as a living, breathing document, and hopes that members will experience its contents in different ways and become inspired by their peers’ stories. “The Journal is an all-in collaboration, co-created with our members, that raises up voices from across our community to challenge us all to question norms and transform practices, she said.

Read our groundbreaking "Black Voices" Journal, open to the community.