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PEAK Grantmaking

Equity has always been at the core of this organization, from its founding in 1996 until today. At our inception, we used different terminology, but we were organizing to push for recognition that our roles were distinct and they deserved the job description that aligned us appropriately within our organizations, including ensuring that our pay was commensurate with the complexities of the work. Moreover, we needed to form a community of peers so that we could learn, share, and evolve together and – as a collective – positively impact philanthropy.

When PEAK Grantmaking’s Board of Directors made the decision in 2016 to weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into our vision, mission, and strategic plan, it was to call it out explicitly –  and it came from both the staff and Board aligning in our desire to make an active contribution, as a profession, to advance equity in philanthropy. We embedded this work in our definition of what makes an expert in grants management, continued to elevate the importance of demographic data collection, and asked our members to help us better understand the diversity of the grants management profession.

Since that time, our understanding has grown about how structural racism – and other “isms” that divide us – are rooted in policies and practices that advantage some people and disadvantage others. Philanthropic policies and practices aren’t immune, and we are seeking to understand disparities caused by grantmaking practice and identify opportunities to make grantmaking more equitable. We know that many of our member organizations are grappling with what “equity” means to them, and our goal is to be as supportive as possible across the spectrum of liberation movements, racial equity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion goals that our members are embracing.

Grants management, the home of philanthropy’s policies and practices, must play a significant role in implementing practices that advance equity in every grantmaking organization. Grants managers, those who lead the process of how grants are made, are in a unique position to identify disparities and suggest more equitable practices. Grants managers serve as a key link between data on the people, nonprofits, and geography their organization serves and their organization’s strategies and priorities. Grants managers also can be strong internal champions in supporting and influencing their organization’s culture and equity practice.

Our members have been leading the way as we’re developing the Principles for Peak Grantmaking, an effort to transform the practice of grantmaking and build support for courageous practice change that will help create a more just and equitable world.

In July 2020, we released a suite of resources specifically designed to help grantmakers Drive Equity in grantmaking practice by reducing bias across all stages of the grantmaking lifecycle and collecting and using the demographic data that will help them determine if they’re being successful in directing more support to traditionally marginalized and under-resourced leaders and communities.