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PEAK Grantmaking

Reimagining Grantmaking

About this issue

What a year it has been, with the profound impact of multiple crises on our lives, our work, and those we serve. Have we ever felt so keenly aware of the imperative for philanthropy to get it right? Hundreds of grantmakers have quickly pivoted to respond to urgent and growing community needs. But where do we go from here?

How do we take the lessons of this critical time and move beyond short-term, incremental change to truly reimagine grantmaking?

In this edition of the Journal, we amplify the voices and programs of some of the changemakers who are challenging philanthropy’s long-held notions of risk, trust, and equity to transform grantmaking practices and chart a better way forward. Listen in as they challenge you to do the same.

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What's Inside

Letter from the Editors

What a year it has been, with the profound impact of the pandemic on our lives, our work, and those we serve. We are grieved by the escalating racial, economic, and health inequities and outraged by leaders who continue to exacerbate those inequities. And we are driven to increase the impact of our work at PEAK, and the work of philanthropy, to create a more just and equitable world.

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Guest Editor Notes

I began as a children’s advocate, landed in corporate community relations, transitioned to grants management, and then jumped into executive leadership. My path was to seek a next step, and a next step. And my journey has now brought me to PEAK and you.

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Taking a Bold Stand at the Weissberg Foundation

The Journal is excited to launch a conversation series featuring PEAK’s new President and CEO Satonya Fair and members of the PEAK community, speaking one-on-one about top-level, of-the-moment challenges and the operational strategies being deployed to meet them.
In this edition, Fair spoke with Weissberg Foundation Executive Director Hanh Le to find out how they’re operationalizing a re-commitment to racial equity and justice.

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By the Numbers

Grantmaking Practice Changes: For the movement, or just for the moment?

In two major surveys, conducted in 2020, hundreds of grantmakers weighed in on how they have changed their practices in response to our national crises, and how these changes might impact their longer-term approach.

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Anonymous: You have the power to decide where $100 million of your organization’s funding goes. What do you dare to do?

“Commit it all to multi-year, general operating grants with minimal reporting. Get the money out the door and be done with it!”

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A Conversation on Risk, Trust, and Equity in Philanthropy

The idea of “risk” in grantmaking is pervasive. A critical factor in reaching awards decisions, it’s also a stand-out feature of the traditional philanthropic approach that has come under intense fire for its long-standing exclusion of smaller, grassroots organizations…

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Anonymous: What bold move do you wish your organization would make, but is too cautious to undertake?

“Stop funding ‘issues’ or ‘topics’ and start funding movements, leaders, and communities.”

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Because Change Can’t Wait: A grantmaking redesign shifts power at Stupski Foundation

In 2015, the Stupski Foundation was launched with a plan to spend down their philanthropic assets by 2029 – a pledge that has taken on even greater urgency in the face of the current confluence of crises.

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Jesus Velazquez for
Stories From the Field

Going All in to Train Advocates

Alliance for Justice believes that, if foundations want their priorities to get the attention and resources they deserve, it is vital for them to support their grantees in making the case to elected officials and the public. Because advocacy shapes the public debate, it is perhaps the most impactful way nonprofits and foundations can focus their attention to bring real change.

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Stories from the Field

The Importance of Actively Pursuing New Challenges

As the nonprofit I was working for was closing down, I saw an ad for a grants assistant at a foundation. I was five years into my nonprofit career and I didn’t really know what a foundation was. In hindsight, I’d say I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time.

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Starting with Risk

With the urgency this era demands, we have to ask ourselves: What if we did things differently? What if we took a risk to get a better outcome? And if we aren’t willing to do that, what are we really doing?

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Checklist: Reimagining Grantmaking

What are you ready to risk to create a future where we can all thrive?

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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.

How Our Community Is Meeting the Moment

Reflections on how the PEAK community is rising to respond to multiple crises by reimagining grantmaking.

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.

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.