2017-03-13 striving with all my heart

Constantly Striving

Liz-Donohue-SM-600x500I admit it, I’m still fairly new in my career.   When I took my first job in the field a little over 5 years ago, I had never heard of Grants Managers Network.  I was working for a small foundation and there was no on-boarding and no written operating procedures.  I knew I needed help, yet was not sure where to go.

I am grateful to have discovered the programming that the New York Regional Chapter offered, as it changed the trajectory of my career.  I began to soak up all of the content and really thrive in my position. As time passed, I built my network and became more involved with the group, first as a volunteer and now as a steering committee member. The national organization grew out of grants managers in New York City, and those strong ties showed through the quality programming and the willingness of seasoned members to embrace new members.  As a steering committee member, we have monthly calls with each other to plan the same programs that enhanced my ability to do my job when I first became a Grants Administrator.

Being a member of this organization has really pushed me to change the way in which I see my role as a grants manager.  I continually try to influence change and remove “We’ve always done it that way”, from our vocabulary.  This is why I am so thrilled about the name change to PEAK Grantmaking.  The new name embodies what we all aspire to be.  Being at our best, means constantly striving to balance grantee needs with the needs of our own work and our foundations.  We are chief problem solvers and collaborators: we try to figure out how to make things work more effectively, then we determine if the solutions can be replicated across the field.  We all work to create and implement best practices.

Often times, grants managers fall into their jobs and need support at all levels. PEAK Grantmaking serves as the one stop shop to those of us in the field and inspires us to be more. My network provided me with insights into both my personal and professional development opportunities that will help me to further my career in philanthropy.  Even though we may not be doing the same work on a day to day basis, we are all working toward the same mission of supporting our grantees.  The time I’ve spent relationship-building  with my colleagues has honed my skills in developing relationships with  grantees.

I am hopeful that the new name, PEAK Grantmaking, inspires my fellow grantmakers to change the way in which we see ourselves.  I am now looking to go back to school part-time to take a deeper dive into how philanthropy can lead to shifts in public policy.  What do you plan to do?

Liz Donohue

Liz Donohue is Grants Administrator at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in New York City. Liz joined the Sponsored Projects team at RPA in April 2014 and is responsible for processing grant recommendations for RPA’s clients to grantees around the world. She serves as a resource for due diligence and compliance questions, as well as working with the Sponsored Projects team to ensure procedures reflect grantmaking best practices.