PEAK in 2021 has been continuously engaged with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking leaders in the field of philanthropy via our ongoing interview series led by PEAK President and CEO Satonya Fair, a keynote event at PEAK2021 Online, and a spectacular panel discussion in September. The discourse at each event iterated time and again how grants management professionals will be the ones to operationalize the equitable practices that will transform the field. We couldn’t have asked for better ways to celebrate PEAK’s 25th anniversary and our community. As we reflect on 2021 and how much grants management has evolved over 25 years, here are some of the words that have stayed with us and will inspire us as we begin a new year. We think they’ll inspire you, too.
“When I came into this field, people didn’t even know what the heck we were talking about when we said ‘grants manager’ or ‘grants management’ or ‘grants associate.’ … We knew that there was a lot of work that needed to be done to evolve how we were positioned within our organizations.” —Satonya Fair, President and CEO, PEAK Grantmaking
“To build an organization that is first and foremost respectful of our grantees, we must also be first and foremost respectful of our grants managers and the way our grants managers work.” —Robert Bank, President and CEO, American Jewish World Service
“These are serious jobs where we endeavor to imagine freedom. You need to look at your grant recipients, your team, your board and say, we have an opportunity to plant the seeds of what the future looks like. What does public repair look like? How do we build the internal organization so that it projects out to the world what we want the world to look like and where we’re in that.” —Crystal Hayling, Executive Director, The Libra Foundation
“[G]rants management professionals are the interface that most of us have with community and with community residents. And we would be wasting a huge resource and asset were we not to call on their perspective, their expertise and their insight in helping figure out how we shift as the times shift. … And it’s just so multidimensional that I think we sometimes lose sight of that.” —Rip Rapson, CEO, The Kresge Foundation
“I often say that grants management is the guts of the enterprise that enables our operation to run efficiently and to serve our grantees and our stakeholders in the most effective way. … When you think about the role of grants management in terms of data management, in terms of creating feedback loops, and in terms of putting practices in place that best serve those that we partner with, PEAK plays such an important role in all of that.” —Jim Canales, President and Trustee, Barr Foundation
“Grants managers have… been reservoirs of information that haven’t always been appreciated and leveraged for what they can do to actually bring superpower to grantmaking’s ultimate impact. Information is power.” —Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation
“There has always been disaster in certain communities. Rapid response funds are needed because communities have been neglected for quite some time. We need to move money differently. That’s why grants managers are critically important in this moment. And because we have to help the larger philanthropic sector understand that this is about policies and practices around moving money, there’s no better partner in driving change than grants managers.” —Susan Taylor Batten, President and CEO, ABFE
“The people of PEAK Grantmaking are… change agents in equity and how equity shows up in grantmaking. … Build on this momentum, build on what’s come before, and let’s just keep going. There’s a lot more work to do, but there’s a lot of committed people to do it.” —Michelle Greanias, former Executive Director of PEAK Grantmaking
“PEAK Grantmaking for me, right now, is the beacon on the hill.” —Satonya Fair
To hear more from these and more philanthropy leaders on the role of grants management in transforming the sector, watch the following on-demand presentations.
The Changing Face of Philanthropy featuring PEAK’s Satonya Fair interviewing Libra Foundation Executive Director Crystal Hayling, Marguerite Casey Foundation President and CEO Carmen Rojas, and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation President and CEO Sherece West-Scantlebery
Grants Professionals as Change Agents for Operationalizing Equity featuring featuring PEAK’s Satonya Fair interviewing Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, and GEO President and CEO Marcus Walton
“Philanthropy CEOs Celebrate PEAK,” a short video featuring American Jewish World Service President and CEO Robert Bank, Barr Foundation President and Trustee Jim Canales, Stupski Foundation CEO Glen Galaich, Marguerite Casey Foundation CEO Carmen Rojas, ABFE President and CEO Susan Taylor Batten, and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation CEO Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, PhD