My name is Steven Casey. I’m writing to you today to share my perspective as the new PEAK Grantmaking board co-chair, a husband of 20 years, a father of two boys, a 54-year old African American male, and a fellow grants manager.
The range and volume of protests over the past two weeks have demonstrated, clearly, that our country has become tired of the slow – some would say stalled – journey to true justice and fairness. These protests, embodied by tens of thousands of people of conscience, are defined by the insistence that our nation lives up to our shared values, and finally achieves the highest aspirations of our democracy.
As a people, our fatigue with the status quo has tapped a wellspring of rage, a sentiment that has festered over the course of our nation’s history – a history marred by systemic inequality that has resulted in the marginalization of Black and Brown people by those in authority.
PEAK’s ongoing quest to set an inclusive table in philanthropy aligns us with those who have demanded change in response to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless victims who have preceded them.
PEAK Grantmaking stands in solidarity in the fight against systemic racism, oppression, and police brutality. We stand with those who have peacefully demonstrated in the name of justice and equality across this nation. We stand with those fighting for human dignity and respect, especially where it is denied based on nothing more than the color of someone’s skin.
As the protestors have demanded, we must turn our aspirations into action.
Our organization works tirelessly to drive change in the practice of philanthropy and provide a framework for equitable grantmaking. To this end, PEAK has developed five Principles to guide our work in this space, forming a values-driven, equity-centered roadmap for change. The Principle we are focusing on now is “Narrow the Power Gap,” a clarion call for inclusivity that does not just create more balanced and meaningful partnerships, but unites hearts and minds through empathy and common purpose.
This goal is aligned with the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, fighting for a day when there are no more George Floyds or Ahmaud Arberys to mourn, when the Amy Coopers of the world think twice before weaponizing their privilege against innocent people.
I am honored to be part of a community dedicated to bettering our craft and guiding the evolution of philanthropic practice toward inclusivity, equity, and understanding. Join with me, along with the PEAK board and team, in standing with this movement, confronting the plague of systemic racism, and taking action to make real change happen.
Co-chair, PEAK Grantmaking Board of Directors
Associate Director of Grants Management, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation