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PEAK Grantmaking

Board of Directors: Volunteer Leadership Opportunity

Contribute to the field of grantmaking. Gain valuable experience. Work with inspiring colleagues. Lead PEAK Grantmaking —and philanthropy—into the future as a member of our governing Board of Directors.

The PEAK Board is comprised of seven to 20 volunteers – your peers in the grants management profession – who commit to:

  • Setting the direction and strategy for the organization
  • Providing necessary resources for growth and sustainability
  • Ensuring policies and procedures are in place for effective and prudent governance and oversight
  • Meeting legal obligations by exercising proper oversight of the organization’s operations and maintaining the legal and ethical accountability of its staff and volunteers

Each year, we seek additional volunteers to serve on the Board through an open call for nominations. Read on to learn about the timeline, eligibility, qualifications, and responsibilities for board service.

Nominating Process & Timeline

  • July 15: Call for Nominating Committee volunteers. Nominating Committee identifies and recommends to the Governance Committee a slate of board member nominees who are aligned with PEAK Grantmaking’s strategic direction; advance PEAK Grantmaking’s leadership role advancing the field of effective philanthropy; and bring the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to govern PEAK.
  • August 15: Select Nominating Committee volunteers
  • August 15: Open call for Board nominations
  • September 30: Close call for Board nominations
  • October: Nominating Committee reviews all potential candidates, interviews the candidates who best meet the qualifications and recruitment priorities, then selects a slate of candidates for approval.
  • November 15: Governance Committee meets to review and approve a final slate of candidates for the Board’s approval.
  • December 15: Board meets and approves nominated slate of Board candidates
  • January: Slate of Board candidates announced to PEAK membership
  • March – April: PEAK membership votes electronically for each Board candidate. The election is open for 30 days, ending one day after the Annual Membership Meeting.
  • June: Board member terms begin at the first board meeting following the election.

Eligibility to Serve

To be eligible for PEAK Grantmaking board service, candidates must be voting members of PEAK Grantmaking. Voting members include current Individual Members and Organization Members. Consultant Members are not eligible.   

Qualifications to Serve

PEAK Grantmaking seeks board members who possess substantial leadership skills and are equipped to provide the strategic leadership needed to drive the growth and impact of the organization


We are interested in candidates who have some of the following personal and professional qualities:

  • Visionary and future-focused, possessing an entrepreneurial spirit and critical mind.
  • Risk-takers, who balance the need to take chances with the traditional stewardship responsibilities of board service.
  • Strategic decision-makers who, in partnership with staff leadership, utilize a range of planning approaches and tools.
  • Have a track record of leadership in the field.
  • Exhibit a belief that good grants practice can enhance effective grant making.
  • Can review outcomes and metrics created by PEAK Grantmaking for evaluating its impact, and regularly measuring its performance and effectiveness using those metrics.
  • Effective communicators, who understand the importance of good communication at all levels.
  • Appreciate the distinct differences between the role of the Board and Staff.
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a passion for the mission on behalf of all PEAK members.
  • Willingness to be constructive critics.
  • Appreciate the strength that diversity, inclusion and inquiry bring to deliberation and decision-making.
  • Dispersed geographically.


Some combination of the following capabilities is desirable:

  • Experience and accomplishments in philanthropy and/or the nonprofit sector.
  • Specific experience and/or knowledge in at least one of the following areas: grants management, effective philanthropy, trends and best practices in philanthropy, fundraising, finance/accounting, and working in philanthropic research/studies/academia.
  • Are in the forefront or are change agents in philanthropy or field-wide change.
  • Ability to support PEAK Grantmaking’s ongoing fundraising efforts by making connections, identifying donors, and when able, accompanying staff to solicit funds through the board member’s organization or others.
  • Ability to network within the community and use their professional connections to build relationships, generate leads and identify opportunities to support PEAK’s vision and mission.
  • A willingness to commit to travel as is required to attend quarterly board meetings and the annual conference; to take an active role in discussions and decisions that are put before the board.
  • During board membership term, commit to fully participate in and/or chair at least one standing or ad hoc committee.

Responsibilities of the Board

Legal Obligations 

The board acts as trustee of the organization’s assets and ensures that the nonprofit is well managed and remains fiscally sound. In doing so, the board must exercise proper oversight of the organization’s operations and maintain the legal and ethical accountability of its staff and volunteers. The main legal responsibilities of a nonprofit board are often summarized in the “three Ds”:

  • Duty of Care:  Board members are expected to actively participate in organizational planning and decision-making and to make sound and informed judgments. Directors must serve in good faith, in a manner reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the corporation and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, skill and diligence, as a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances. Under the principle of justifiable reliance, directors are entitled to rely in good faith on information, opinions, reports, or statements, including financial statements and other financial data, prepared or presented by officers, employees, lawyers, accountants, and board committees.
  • Duty of Loyalty:  When acting on behalf of the organization, board members must put the interests of the nonprofit before any personal or professional concerns and avoid potential conflicts of interest. Directors must have undivided loyalty to the mission and basic well-being of the organization and therefore are prohibited from using the position to further their own interests and are prohibited from engaging in self-dealing.
  • Duty of Obedience (Compliance):  Board members must ensure that the organization complies with all applicable laws and that it remains committed to its established mission. Directors take action to ensure that the organization operates to further its mission in compliance with legal requirements under the Federal tax laws and regulations, legislative/regulatory developments, State laws and regulations governing nonprofits and solicitation of charitable contributions.


The PEAK Grantmaking board defines the purpose of the organization (mission and vision) and what it wants to accomplish (strategy). It grounds strategic decisions in a set of values aligned with the organization’s purpose.

The Board oversees strategic planning. Planning enables PEAK’s board and staff to translate the broad mission of PEAK into long-term goals and objectives that can be measured, accomplished and evaluated. The board sets the direction for the organization; on the basis of that direction, the staff fleshes out the plan, defines the strategies to achieve the plan, and determines the operational objectives.

On an ongoing basis, the board provides strategic oversight and direction. Boards that think strategically anticipate the future, explore future scenarios, identify emerging trends and constantly strive to realize their vision.

The Board, with support from the Strategy Team, is responsible for initiating, leading, and overseeing the strategic plan. Implementation of the plan falls on the shoulders of the President and CEO with advice and counsel of the Board and the Strategy Team of the Board.

Resource Development 

One of the most important roles of the board is to ensure PEAK has the financial and other resources needed to meet our goals. The board approves resource targets and goals to align with PEAK’s plan.

Board members are ambassadors and champions of PEAK and should be willing to do what they can to increase resources by “word and deed.” Every board member is expected to make an annual gift in alignment with their means.  Where possible, board members are responsible for providing entry to their grantmaking institutions and/or be willing to open doors to other funders and when appropriate, accompany staff on solicitation visits.


A primary role of the board is the setting of policies and procedures on any number of operational and legal standards with the goal of implementing effective and prudent governance and oversight.

The board must continue to develop policies that safeguard the organization (risk, fiduciary, employment, conflict of interest, etc.), organizational procedures, as well as anticipate the strategic goals of PEAK and its cultural traditions.

The Board of Directors Audit Committee ensures that all policies guiding the business of PEAK are in place, reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Time Commitment 

The PEAK board meets four times per year. Travel expense reimbursement is available, if needed.

In addition to these board meetings, board members serve on committees and lend their time and expertise to PEAK to represent the organization in the field, advance our work to improve practices, and ensure that PEAK has the financial resources to meet its goals. Each board member work with staff to develop a personalized plan matching their time and talents to PEAK’s needs.  


The board member nomination process is “open.” What does that mean? 
An open process means that any voting member can submit their name for consideration or nominate a colleague. The nominating process is designed to be transparent and inclusive. Nominations are vetted by a Board of Directors Nominating Committee made up of members recruited through an open call to the membership each year.

Who makes the decision on the slate of candidates presented to the membership for approval? 
The Board of Directors Nominating Committee is a subcommittee of the Board of Directors Governance Committee. The Board of Directors Governance Committee brings the Board of Directors Nominating Committee’s recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval to present them to the membership. The membership votes on the candidates as part of our Annual Meeting of Membership. Candidates receiving a plurality of votes cast are elected to the board.

How many positions are open for new board members each year? 
It varies each year, depending on the number of current board members ending their terms. In addition to board service, there are many volunteer leadership opportunities available at both the national and chapter level. Contact us at to learn more about them!

How long is a board member’s term?  
Board members serve for three-year terms. Current board members can be nominated for an additional three-year term, for a total of six years. After a hiatus of at least one term, former board members are again eligible for board service.

How are new Board members trained and prepared for success?  
Nominees will participate in a series of three calls to introduce them to PEAK Grantmaking board responsibilities, strategic plan, and financial position. The nominees will also be invited to participate in PEAK’s March board meeting held in advance of our annual conference as part of that orientation.