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PEAK Grantmaking

Black Voices in Grants Management

About this issue

Racial equity is an issue that is consuming philanthropy, but even though the conversation is flowing, progress lags, and the fallout is ongoing.

In this issue, a range of contributors are giving voice to the experience of Black grants management professionals, highlighting their work and ideas for building inclusive cultures, equitable grantmaking practices, allyship, and more. With additional context and support from new research and PEAK resources, we’ve dedicated this edition, in the words of guest editor Roland Kennedy, Jr., “to bring Black voices in grants management into the light and invite the broader PEAK membership and philanthropic community into some of these unheard experiences.”

Co-editors Betsy Reid and Melissa Sines welcome you to a re-envisioned Journal, aiming to stake out a space for members, experts, and the PEAK team to bring their best thinking forward.

What's Inside

Letter from the Editors

As we planned together for the first issue of a new decade, and a new editorial partnership, we considered how an evolving PEAK Grantmaking Journal can best serve you.

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Opening from our Guest Editor

Our sixteenth issue of PEAK Grantmaking Journal – Black Voices in Grants Management – makes space for Black grants professionals to be heard in the discussion on racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy. National conversations, various articles, and conferences have featured many voices from across the sector on these topics. However, the Black grants perspective has been largely bypassed and overlooked from the conversation.

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ANONYMOUS: what has been your experience navigating philanthropy as a black person?

“Being in the room is not inclusion. Inclusion is being in the room and having a say in things.”

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by the numbers

Exploring the Black Experience in Philanthropy

In exploring the Black experience in philanthropy, it’s necessary to start by naming the roots of philanthropy and its continuing challenges around diversification – of boards, executive leaders, staff, grantees, and partners. Despite, or perhaps because of, philanthropy’s roots in oppressive practices, it becomes even more important to have the conversation and to take action aimed at creating organizations and practices that foster greater inclusion for those it has traditionally left out.

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Black Grant Directors’ Roundtable: Lessons from a career in philanthropy

Five grants management leaders offer on-the-ground testimony to the challenges of Black professionals in the sector – from the complexities of practicing DEI to the ways race has affected perceptions of their leadership, to the realities of code-switching your way through the white-dominant workplace.

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Assimilation and Authenticity: Being Black+ in Philanthropy

As I write this, I am struggling to find the right words to start the conversation between you and me. I want to make sure I am clear and concise, but the feelings I am giving a voice to aren’t clear nor concise. These feelings are HEAVY, and not only do they come with a weight – that I carry around with me every day – they are layered and nuanced. They are the first thing to greet me in the morning, the first thing I think about when I step out of the door, and the first thing I must manage as I step into work.

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A Conversation with LaTosha Brown About Courage, Authenticity, and Healing

Over her 15-year career in nonprofits and philanthropy, LaTosha Brown has led an array of trailblazing initiatives to tackle urgent needs, bridge relationships between national and regional funders, and innovate funding models. She founded the Gulf Coast Fund, the Appalachian Community Fund, Grantmakers for Southern Progress, the Fund for Southern Communities, the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium, and, in 2017, the Black Voters Matter Fund. This March, she addresses the PEAK Grantmaking community in her PEAK2020 opening keynote, “Inspiration and Courage for Movement Building in Philanthropy.”

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Mentoring for a Seat at the Table

PEAK Grantmaking has long posited that effective grantmaking organizations deliberately connect the “how” of grantmaking to strategy and impact. Though it might sound simple, this goal is difficult to achieve, and few funders have attained it. In a recent survey, only 8 percent of grants management professionals indicated that their job included strategy development.

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How to Support Black Professionals Through Philanthropic Culture and Grantmaking Practice

Culture beats strategy every time. When you make an explicit connection between your values and your organizational culture, norms, and practices, you will hire and retain a more diverse staff. Consider these recommendations for developing a more equitable and inclusive organizational culture that clearly demonstrates how you value diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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So You Want to Be a White Ally: Healing from white supremacy

White people aren’t inherently bad or broken. We are humans, born into and conditioned by a toxic culture of whiteness. I am a person underneath my ancestors’ assimilation and my social inheritance of this culture in the U.S., including the biases it seeds in me, the privileges it affords me, the realities it numbs me from, and the history and lineages it obscures.

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PEAK Community

What’s new and notable from PEAK Grantmaking – from exclusive member benefits, to member news, events highlights, and what’s ahead.

PEAK Programs

A roundup of what’s new and notable around PEAK, and ways you can tap into a growing array of member-exclusive resources to support your work.

PEAK Community

The latest from PEAK’s vibrant network of grantmaking professionals, featuring member news, a board election updates, chapter event highlights, and a new-member welcome.