Joining the PEAK Grantmaking Network

I had been a staff member at PEAK Grantmaking just over two weeks when I had the opportunity to attend our 2017 conference in Hollywood, California. There, during the opening plenary, I got to see and hear the inspirational and forward-thinking Ursula Stewart address the crowd. Speaking as a respected and renowned leader in the group, Ursula recapped the beginnings of the organization dating back to 1991, a foundation that continues to drive the spirit and purpose of PEAK Grantmaking today. As a new staff member, I couldn’t help but feel both proud and humbled given my new opportunity as membership director.

It took me a while to appreciate how a membership-driven organization could have no cost affiliated with individual membership. But wait, individual membership in PEAK Grantmaking is FREE? I get it now. PEAK Grantmaking was founded to facilitate practice sharing, innovations, and collaboration – to help each willing individual in grantmaking strive for efficiencies, continual advancement, and effective grantmaking practices. Yes, we do offer organization membership, a relatively nominal annual investment, that supports PEAK Grantmaking quite literally, but also unlocks additional resources and benefits for any individual at supporting organizations. Whether members are individuals or organization in nature, PEAK Grantmaking is in partnership with grantmaking professionals and together we are driving philanthropy and grantmaking towards significant awareness, advancements, and improvements in communities and causes.

“PEAK Grantmaking remains member-driven and member-led. I have witnessed the palpable passion and energy within the PEAK Grantmaking community.”

PEAK Grantmaking remains member-driven and member-led. I have witnessed the palpable passion and energy within the PEAK Grantmaking community. This is evident in the continual conversations in the online community, Connect, and in conversations at our events, as well as at the regional chapter level. Through PEAK Grantmaking’s hundreds of volunteers, together the spirit of progress and evolution drive us collectively to seek and deliver new heights.

As I continue to learn more about the grantmaking professional, some similarities and traits seem evident to me in these gifted individuals. Most especially, I am learning these individuals take their role in philanthropy very seriously. They act as stewards for their organization’s mission and resources. They are loyal, passionate, hard-working, diligent, and vital. They strive for excellence, remain focused, yet crave innovation and best practices.

I consider it an honor to serve the philanthropic sector and to help connect grantmaking professionals and organizations, with tools, conversations, ideas, learning opportunities, and the collective passion and dedication in the PEAK Grantmaking community. Together, through PEAK Grantmaking and through the philanthropic sector, ideas and words like these drive us and grantmaking forward: Data. Technology. Benchmarking. Effective Practices. Innovation. Expertise. Leadership. Connections. News. Insights. Community.

Given the considerable challenges that we face in communities and causes throughout this great nation and the world, philanthropy and grantmaking organizations represent hope, a critical and often difficult vehicle for change, and facilitate critical resources, services, and conversations. Philanthropic leaders continue to rise as foremost experts in driving change and evolution.

As the role of the grants manager evolves, so does our organization. I encourage all grantmaking professionals and organizations to get involved in and contribute to PEAK Grantmaking. If you’re not a member – JOIN! If you’re a member, share, ask questions, spread the word to others involved in the field about PEAK Grantmaking. Consider joining as an organization member to not only make a statement that you believe in and are part of the momentum of PEAK Grantmaking, but that your organization is committed to excellence and continual improvement in grantmaking.

As always, I welcome your feedback, your ideas, and your questions as we raise awareness and strive to make a positive difference in grantmaking and in this world – with efficiency, evaluation, and innovation.

Catherine Schmutz

Catherine Schmutz is PEAK Grantmaking’s membership director. She has had a driven and successful career in membership at a variety of organizations including Council on Foundations, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, and National Community Pharmacists Association, among others. Find out more about Catherine on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. Contact her at 202-888-7370 or catherine@peakgrantmaking.org