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PEAK Grantmaking

Top PEAK Reads of 2021

This image acts as a design element. It features a collage of headshots and photos from 2021 PEAK Insight articles.
As we embark on a new year, we’ve rounded up some of the stories that resonated most with our community in the past year. This list represents a wide spectrum of perspectives from our members, partners, and team members on topics ranging from individual learning journeys to the power of community building and sound advice both practical and inspirational. Whether you are revisiting these pieces or encountering them for the first time, our authors’ evergreen guidance will provide ample motivation to meet the challenges of 2022 head on.

A collage of four speakers.

Four CEOs on How to Lead Philanthropy Forward

In a dynamic finish to PEAK2021 Online, Carmen Rojas, Crystal Hayling, and Sherece West-Scantlebury joined PEAK’s Satonya Fair for The Changing Face of Philanthropy, a panel discussion where they explored what it means to be a leader during this pivotal time and what they are each doing to drive change within their organizations and across the field. READ MORE

What Makes a Bad Grant? It’s Time to Change How We Decide

In order to support grassroots movements and build communities, sector-wide perceptions of what constitutes a successful grant need to change. Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, the program director at the Hazen Foundation, proposes how to make a powerful paradigm shift. READ MORE

A photoillustration of results from the #FixTheForm survey conducted in 2020.

#FixTheForm. You Don’t Need Permission to Be Revolutionary.

Kari Aanestad, codirector of grants management at, explains how grants management professionals can lead the shift to more equitable practices just by making technical fixes to grant application forms. READ MORE

A Little Due Diligence Goes a Long Way to Avoid Triggering Taxable Expenditures

For private foundations, unwittingly making grants that result in IRS entanglements and heavy fines is a common problem. But as PEAK Board Member Josh Abel explains, grants management professionals can easily avoid these situations if they know what red flags to look for. READ MORE

What is Your 2021 Equity Pledge? How to Operationalize Equity in Philanthropy

Here, Chantal E. Forster explains how to use an equity roadmap to better hold yourself accountable to change, chart progress, and identify areas where progress has stalled. READ MORE

A collage of featured writers.

CONNECTing on Tracking Grantee Demographics

Over in our CONNECT online community, PEAK members generously share their insights and approaches to grantmaking, recently contributing to a rich discussion around how to collect and leverage grantee demographic data. READ MORE

The Myth of Risk: How to make good on the promise of “big bets” in philanthropy

According to PEAK’s Satonya Fair, there are no bad grants. Period. Here, she explains why using a risk-based approach to philanthropy undermines what philanthropy purports to accomplish. It’s time to put change first. READ MORE

McKnight’s Moves to Drive Equity in Grantmaking

The McKnight Foundation’s Kara Inae Carlisle, Stephanie Duffy, and Na Eng dive into their new Equity in Action report and detail how the organization is operationalizing the Principles for Peak Grantmaking to best live its values. READ MORE

This image shows Carly Bad Heart Bull's headshot. She stands outside in front of greenery, smiling.

Supporting Native Populations With Demographic Data

PEAK’s Chantias Ford sits down with Native Ways Federation Executive Director Carly Bad Heart Bull to discuss how Native populations have been underserved by data-collection practices and how funders can rethink their own processes to better serve these communities. READ MORE

Using Data to Make the Case for Equity

Black mortality rates due to the pandemic are four times higher than white mortality rates; Hispanic mortality rates are seven times higher. The data has long linked social inequities with health disparities. Episcopal Health Foundation’s Eusebio Diaz makes the case to focus on the root cause issues. READ MORE