Welcome to PEAK Year 26
As we embark on our next chapter as an organization, we begin by extending our gratitude to the PEAK community for coming together in remarkable ways in 2021. Cheers for participating in our virtual gatherings, taking on volunteer roles, leaning into difficult conversations, seizing opportunities to champion equity, and finding the deep value and joy of community. Through PEAK’s 14 chapters, the CONNECT online forum, PEAK2021 Online, our Grants Management 101 cohorts, affinity groups, and communities of practice, our membership continues to grow (now approaching 7,000 people) and be more engaged than ever in learning and evolving together to transform philanthropy.
Read on to explore the latest news, starting with a look back at our 25th anniversary campaign, featuring reflections from members of our community.
Guided by our 25th anniversary committee, informed by focus groups and interviews with founding members, and thanks to member and partner submissions of videos, images, documents, and stories, we were able to delve deep into PEAK’s rich history in 2021. The results: an anniversary website rich with multimedia storytelling about our first 25 years. More than an archive for our organization, we now have a living history portal to document PEAK’s evolution and chart our progress in transforming philanthropy.
Across three milestone events, we reflected on how much grants management has evolved and how far our organization has come. Colleagues and partners from around the sector helped us to recognize our accomplishments and identify the priorities for our next chapter. We kicked off in April at our annual meeting where we unveiled our refreshed vision, mission, and purpose and a new strategic framework to guide our work in the years ahead. We also unveiled a new visual identity, highlighted how PEAK has grown and continues to diffuse knowledge through the sector, and explored the strategic framework that will guide us in the years to come.
Last September, hundreds of individuals from across the sector joined us for a dynamic CEO panel conversation with PEAK’s Satonya Fair, Kresge Foundation’s Rip Rapson, Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker, and GEO’s Marcus Walton to explore the role of grants professionals in operationalizing equity.
An early December celebration of community brought us together for some joy, self-care, and holiday season togetherness. We lauded members and volunteers, heard about aspirations for the future from peers in our membership, and enjoyed a fun networking happy hour.
Through a yearlong storytelling project, members and partners collaborated with us on a series of videos and stories, sharing their experiences of being a part of this community, what PEAK has meant to them, how the profession of grants management has expanded over the years, and their aspirations for the future of philanthropy and how our community can lead as changemakers.
Our growing story collection spotlights the history of PEAK’s annual conference, Project Streamline, the development and evolution of grants management systems, the growth and leadership of our chapters, our members’ career journeys, the Journal, and more.
Thank you for helping to make our 25th celebration shine so bright!
We offer deep appreciation to our 25th Anniversary Committee members, led by cochairs Rebecca Van Sickle, managing partner, 1892 consulting, and Genise Singleton, director of grants management, The Kresge Foundation. Thank you also to our sponsors for the generous support.
2022 Board of Directors Elections
PEAK’s board of directors approved the nomination of three candidates for the 2022–25 term: (from left to right) JPMorgan Chase Executive Director, Global Philanthropy Elsa Chin; Episcopal Health Foundation Chief of Staff Eusebio Diaz; and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies Director of Program Operations Ify Mora. Diaz was selected by the nominating committee in 2020 and deferred his board service one year. Chin and Mora are both pursuing a second term.
Vote in our online election to confirm these candidates. Also, plan to attend our virtual annual membership meeting, which will feature updates from PEAK’s board and staff, information on how to get involved with our community, build your expertise, connect with peers, and elevate your grantmaking practice.
We extend our special thanks to outgoing board member Kerri Hurley (above right), who is the director of grants management at the Barr Foundation! We deeply appreciate her service, leadership, and partnership over the past six years.
For our first-ever Giving Tuesday campaign, PEAK board members showed some love with a spirited set of portraits and a special video featuring their hand-hearts, which we debuted at our 25th anniversary celebration in December. Our campaign spurred an outpouring of community engagement on social media with warm comments and some generous personal gifts.
PEAK Accountability and Action for Allies Caucus Cochair Kelsey Andersen has been promoted to assistant vice president, grants associate, community investing and development at Citi Foundation.
Carla Batts, PEAK Florida’s membership cochair, has been promoted to grants administration manager at Allegany Franciscan Ministries.
Kevin Bolduc, a PEAK board member, is celebrating 20 years at the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Annie Brinkman has joined Crown Family Philanthropies as grants manager.
Heather Chappell of the Walton Family Foundation was promoted to communications officer, brand and executive.
Tracy Chen has joined 1892 consulting as its grantmaking systems analyst.
Chaka Booker, Lindsey Gregory, and Erin Grimes have joined The Broad Foundation.
Stephanie Chill joined Florida Humanities as grants coordinator.
Kelly Clardy was promoted to grants manager at Maddie’s Fund.
Lisa Colaninno, PEAK New England’s chair and chapter volunteer for over ten years, retired from Travelers.
Sara Davis, a former PEAK board member, has joined Hillspire as senior director, grants and philanthropic services.
Gina Del Castillo has been promoted to community engagement officer at NextFifty Initiative.
Asialee Drews has joined The Colorado Trust as grants management specialist.
Stephanie Duffy, a PEAK board alumnus and former Minnesota chapter volunteer, is celebrating 25 years at McKnight Foundation.
Tiffany Duffy PEAK Midwest’s membership cochair, started a new role as grants manager at Crown Family Philanthropies.
AAPI Affinity Group cochair and PEAK 25th Anniversary Committee member Jina Song Freiberg started a new role as senior grants manager at Katz Amsterdam Foundation.
Whitney Gerlach has joined Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority as its office coordinator.
Rachel Gonzales, program director at the Animal Assistance Foundation and PEAK Latinx Caucus cochair, completed a fellowship with the Latino Leadership Institute.
Sarah Grady started as the grants manager at the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.
Former PEAK Corporate Advisory Council member Heidi Jedlicka Halvarson was promoted to philanthropy program manager at Medtronic Foundation.
Karen Herrera of The J. Paul Getty Trust, Lucy Hollis of Smile Train, Erin Peterson of The Klarman Family Foundation, Lynne Wiora of The Joyce Foundation, and Allison Wojtowicz of the MacArthur Foundation were selected to join the Technology Association of Grantmakers’ Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Tech 2022 Cohort.
Andie Hession joined the Endowment for Health as a grants program associate.
Rotary Charities of Traverse City welcomed Kristin Hettich as its director of community development and Kendra Luta as its programs associate.
PEAK Small Foundations Affinity Group Cochair Traci Johnson from POISE Foundation was nominated for Exponent Philanthropy’s 2021 Outsized Impact Award.
Roland Kennedy, Jr. who served on the PEAK 25th Anniversary Committee, is now director of grants management at Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Sydney Langer has been promoted to program officer at NextFifty Initiative.
Jill Minogue was promoted to systems administrator at The Simons Foundation.
The Community Benefit Giving Office at Cedars-Sinai hired Qiana Montazeri and Jennifer Pio to join their team as, respectively, associate program officer and grants manager.
PEAK Northern California Vice Chair Daniel Oviedo started as grants associate at the Stupski Foundation.
Winifred Olliff started a new role as director of operations at Borealis Philanthropy.
The Klarman Foundation promoted former PEAK New England volunteer Erin Peterson to director, grantmaking operations and information technology.
Liz Player was promoted to grants manager for civic engagement and government at Ford Foundation.
POISE Foundation was named Grantmaker of the Year by Grant Professionals Association.
PEAK Southern California Program Cochair Sarina Raby was promoted to grants manager at the Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles.
Iracel Rivero has joined Ford Foundation as grants manager.
Ricshawn Adkins Roane is now the executive director of the Weissberg Foundation.
Katie Ratkowski joined St. Louis City Senior Fund as its business and grants manager.
Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez from the Edward W. Hazen Foundation has joined the board of Borealis Philanthropy.
Sakura Takano was promoted to CEO at Rotary Charities of Traverse City.
Roselle Tenorio, who previously served as a PEAK Southwest volunteer, has joined Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as its domestic grants manager.
Gwyneth Tripp was promoted to director of grantmaking practice at the Stupski Foundation.
Zunairis Velazquez joined The Simons Foundation as a grants assistant.
Bria Ward has joined Next Fifty Initiative as its director of people and culture.
Laura Jean Watters has been promoted to executive director of The Staten Island Foundation.
Devona Williams was promoted to controller at the Stupski Foundation.
PEAK2022 Conference Cochair Richerd Winton joined The Kresge Foundation as its grants management associate.
Gene Yoon has been promoted to communications manager at Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority.
TeQuion Brookins will be transitioning from her role at the McGregor Fund to working full-time with her business consulting and fintech firm, TeQuionBrookins.com.
Driving Equity With Demographic Data
The latest release in PEAK’s suite of resources supporting the Drive Equity Principle for Peak Grantmaking explores the intricacies of demographic data collection. For philanthropy professionals, data can illuminate the impact of your grants, but working with the information you collect also comes with complex challenges.
This action planner—open to the public—is designed to help staff and leaders at funding organizations work through some of the fundamental questions that you will need to address by offering an overview of four action steps that you can take now to drive equity through your data-collection practices:
- Understand the Power of Equitable Data Collection Practices
- Decide on a Demographic Data Taxonomy
- Navigate the Legal and Privacy Landscape Surrounding Demographic Data
- Communicate Effectively About Your Demographic Data
Coming in early 2022: Each action step will be the subject of a detailed how-to guide available to PEAK’s Organization and Consultant Members.
Grants Management 101: Our 2021 virtual cohorts
PEAK’s signature course, Grants Management 101, engaged 162 participants across two cohorts in 2021. The seven-session series provided opportunities to engage with colleagues on a variety of topics, including understanding and assessing nonprofit financials, mapping career development and progression, developing skills for tactical grantmaking, and implementing strategic equitable grantmaking practices. We’d like to extend our deepest thanks to guest speakers Amy Coates Madsen, Maryland Nonprofits; Jennifer Pedroni, BDO FMA; Kristen Summers, Saint Luke’s Foundation; and Tara Havlicek, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.
Volunteer at PEAK!
As a member-led, member-driven organization, we live our values by providing more than 300 opportunities each year for members and partners to contribute as volunteers— helping to build our collective expertise in implementing effective, equitable grantmaking practices. Grow your network, develop skills and knowledge, and help create and drive strategic change that strengthens PEAK, our community, and the sector.
Around the Chapters
Deepening peer connections, exploring critical topics, and emergent learning were throughlines for many of PEAK’s chapters in 2021. As we continue to work within a virtual landscape, chapters are utilizing virtual platforms to provide more flexible and inclusive programming. And they are not shying away from facilitating difficult conversations, either. Instead, they have approached them with care and nuance. Case in point: demographic data has been one of the most explored topics this year with five chapters hosting events centered on making the case for collecting and using it as an equitable practice to improve grantmaking.
—Altinay Cortes, Chapter Manager
PEAK Delaware Valley reached the 200-member milestone in 2021!
PEAK Florida is working to build stronger support for often marginalized populations by hosting Overlooked, Underserved, and Missing: How to Mainstream LGBTQ Funding and Increase Equitable Giving. They led a panel of Equality Florida staff and funders to discuss solutions, tools, and best grantmaking practices and policies that minimize bias, promote inclusion, and increase LGBTQ equitable giving within institutions.
PEAK Greater Washington, DC welcomed 111 new members over the course of 2021 making them PEAK’s third largest chapter. Chapter leader volunteers designed new member coffee hours to introduce folks to the PEAK community and our library of resources to support their work.
PEAK Mideast wins best webinar title of 2021 with Constructive Conflict: Unlock Your Jedi Skills to Deal with Drama. The session, led by Maribeth Saleem-Tanner of Community Food Initiatives, focused on how to productively engage in difficult conversations in the workplace.
PEAK Minnesota honed in on advancing equitable practices by hosting events designed to help participants understand how their grantmaking practices support or hinder achieving equity. Two of the events were Drive Equity: Uncovering Unconscious Bias in Philanthropy and #FIXTHEFORM Together.
PEAK New England reached a milestone of 300 members in 2021!
PEAK Northeast teamed up with Philanthropy New York for Equity and Evaluation: Can We Embrace Both in Collecting Demographic Data?, a lively panel where participants dove deep into best practices and how to balance funder and grantee needs.
PEAK Pacific Northwest and PEAK Rocky Mountain continued to lean into deepening their regional communities by hosting monthly coffee hours. They explored topics such as oral reporting, reducing bias in grantmaking, and collecting and using demographic data.
PEAK Southeast hosted The Art of Science and Managing Up where they discussed tools and techniques to advocate for oneself, strengthen relationships with organization leaders, and constructively push for efficient and equitable grantmaking practices.
PEAK Southern California hosted Intro to Data Visualization and Accessibility, with chapter Communications Chair Richelle Pittella, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, sharing how to employ tools already at their disposal to maximize the impact of data visualizations for reports, presentations, and dashboards.
PEAK Southwest, PEAK Mideast, and PEAK Midwest had the largest chapter collaboration to date when they cohosted an engaging networking session at PEAK2021. As they plan for 2022, PEAK Southwest is getting creative with their leadership structure by introducing a committee model that allows for more flexible volunteer roles and responsibilities.
In 2020, as the country was undergoing the racial justice reckoning after the murder of George Floyd, the PEAK community came together to consider how best to meet the moment. After brainstorming with member volunteers, 11 peer communities were launched over the course of 2021. Each group is volunteer-led with staff support and meets regularly, with cadence varying from monthly meetings to biannual events. Thank you to the corps of volunteer leaders who are cochairing each of these groups. Learn about how to join PEAK’s peer communities.
PEAK’s Affinity Groups and Caucuses
All members are welcome to join these identity-based groups which are focused on networking and peer learning.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus has grown and its members have connected through informal virtual happy hours and quarterly meetings, including discussions about AAPI funding and managing burnout. The cochairs recommended books, podcasts, and other media in the article “Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month” to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the community.
The Black Caucus has had a great time networking together. They hosted a session on mental health and self care for Black philanthropy professionals, with a social work professional, Marvin Toliver, LCSW, of Melanted Social Work. They have also hosted several networking sessions to connect with each other and discuss career aspirations.
The Latinx Caucus hosts quarterly cafecito hours. These cafecitos center community building and have included networking opportunities and riveting conversations on the intersections of identity and culture and how they are embraced or rebuffed in the philanthropic sector. Several group leaders shared some tidbits from these conversations in the article “Through the Latinx Caucus, Grants Professionals Find Common Bonds Amid Diverse Experiences.”
The Accountability and Action for Allies Caucus hosted virtual gatherings every six weeks. Participants considered and created personal goals to act as allies and to have a consistent touchpoint on progress to stay accountable to themselves and one another. In 2022, the group is planning to host a book club and create a library of shared resources.
The Corporate Grantmakers Affinity Group most recently met to talk about social impact technology and share their experiences. For 2022, the group will establish a meeting cadence and continue to support their corporate grantmaking peers.
The Small Foundations Affinity Group hosts coffee hours that center varying topics identified early on by the affinity group members. The coffee hours are part presentation and part discussion which provide an opportunity for peer learning. Coffee hour topics have included reporting and policies and procedures manuals.
In December 2021, we launched the Intermediaries Affinity Group to offer a community to network, learn together, and problem solve on common challenges and opportunities— like working as both a grantmaker and grantseeker, fiscal sponsorships, and expenditure responsibility—to name a few.
PEAK’s Communities of Practice and Working Groups
Exclusive to Organization and Consultant Members, these groups are focused on organization-based peer learning and resource sharing and development.
The DEI Learning and Support Community hosts interactive conversations centered on improving practices like collecting demographic data. The presentation Start Where you Stand and Start Where you Can highlighted how one foundation has leveraged partnerships and capacity building in order to amplify voices of communities of color in their state and advance equity.
The Equitable Grantmaking Practices Community has been busy with engaging sessions on participatory grantmaking and alternative reporting methods using case-study experiences from members. A benchmarking survey was developed and completed by members to assess where they are collectively in terms of implementing equitable grantmaking practices. This survey will be used to measure growth towards more equitable practices. Members held a conversation on the survey findings and areas to explore further.
The Tech and Data Futurists Community has been exploring data management and technology systems to support more efficient grantmaking. They conducted a peer share session on different technology resources that members use in their grantmaking. They also held a marquee session to learn about good data management practices.
The Oral and Alternative Reporting Working Group, formed from a CONNECT discussion thread, has been meeting to hear case studies from organizations that are utilizing alternative reporting processes, from focus groups, oral reporting, or eliminating reporting. Members have shared how they have shifted their practices. Conversations and connections have continued on a designated Slack channel.
The Impact Assessment Tool Working Group formed from a CONNECT discussion thread, has met to discuss and assess different impact assessment tools. They are collectively working to review demos of different tool options, and connect with members whose organizations are already using the tools. Conversations and connections have continued on a designated Slack channel.
2021 Leadership Summit: Supporting our volunteers
We say it often: PEAK is member-driven and member-led, and we are lucky to have the best member volunteers leading our chapters and peer communities—not to mention participating in our pilot mentoring program! During the 2021 Leadership Summit, we had the honor of bringing together 130 of these leaders to invest in their leadership development and create a supportive, cohesive network dedicated to emergent learning within our volunteer community.
We were joined by Aiko Bethea, former PEAK board member and founder of RARE Coaching & Consulting, who inspired volunteers to live BIG—set boundaries, live with integrity, and lead with generosity. In addition, Marissa Lifshen Steinberger, founder of One Eleven Leadership, shared effective practices to promote self-care while being a change agent.
We’d like to extend our special thanks to our volunteer planning team members: Fernanda Kuchkarian, Jennifer Katell, Judith Hill, Kim Canfield, Kristopher LeCorgne, and Traci Johnson, as well as to PEAK board members Kerri Hurley, Josh Abel, and Janet Disla, all of whom joined us at this event.