A PEAK Grantmaking Q&A

Here are are some additional details on our new name, PEAK Grantmaking.

Our bold new strategic plan lays out an ambitious set of goals for improving practices, extending the profession’s leadership in philanthropy, and continuing to build and highlight the expertise of grants management professionals.  Renaming the organization is just one of the many strategies we are putting in place to achieve this plan.

“We can continue to do amazing work all by ourselves which could be fantastic and scrappy, or we can pull the curtain back and show all the other affinity groups that we’re the premiere practitioners affinity group that is going to lead the way…” (Member listening group participant)

Why a new name?

In 1996, we changed our name to “Grants Managers Network,” at a time when overseeing grantmaking practices was just starting to be recognized as a function that required specialized knowledge. Our members’ priority then was to establish their work as a profession. They chose a name to advance that goal—a goal we’ve since met.

Looking forward to the next 20 years, members and field representatives tell us the next hurdle is for the professionals managing grants to be valued for the strategic thinking and leadership they bring to their organizations. That expertise helps to ensure the success of both grants and grantees. A name change signals we’re prepared to take on a new, elevated goal.

Read more about the organization’s beginnings in a blog post by founding member Ursula Stewart

“I think [grants managers] have a pretty big hurdle still in making the case that they are relevant to CEOs and VP-level people. I don’t think it’s insurmountable.” (Interview with member)

Why this name?

The name “PEAK Grantmaking” parallels the call in our strategic plan for us to lead the field in grantmaking effectiveness and establish ideal practices to which grantmakers will strive. PEAK Grantmaking emphasizes the goal of reaching new heights for our field.

“PEAK” stands for “Practices, Expertise, and Knowledge,” which are key factors in quality grantmaking. However, even without spelling out the acronym, the meaning is clear when combined with “grantmaking.” It’s the highest level of responsibility and achievement in the field. It’s our commitment to pushing limits, being accountable to lofty ideals—for our members and for philanthropy.

PEAK Grantmaking is a dramatic shift from a descriptive name to an aspirational one. It’s evocative. It’s forward thinking. It’s purposeful.

How will the new name and branding benefit members?

Our new name and branding will support our work to represent and advocate for the profession to the larger field, ensuring that the people who manage grantmaking and the practices they employ are recognized as integral contributors to and components of a grantmaking organization’s success. Further, this new name will elevate the connection among grants management professionals while embracing those without the title “grants manager.”

PEAK Grantmaking reinforces the strategic value of grants management professionals and practices. It reminds the field of the evolution of our profession and its increased importance. It more closely ties our brand to our mission—to advance grantmaking in service of philanthropy that makes a stronger impact on the public good.

We all know the scope and level of responsibility of grants management professional has evolved significantly—expanding beyond work flow and requirements management to encompass the entirety of the grantmaking process. Grantmaking professionals now contribute to strategy, policy, structure, communications, and information and knowledge management. Unfortunately, perceptions about the practice of grant management has not evolved accordingly. We will use our new name is a tool to expedite that shift

“While grants management professionals serve an important role in foundations and a role that may be evolving, grants managers today are not usually change agents within foundations regarding externally oriented changes…” (Funder decline to a grant proposal submitted by GMN)

Read more about the (R)evolution of Grants Management in a blog post by Executive Director Michelle Greanias

“[The organization] could be more visible, have a more prominent seat at the table. They could do more advocacy in the space…” (Interview with member)

“Having expertise and a point of view gets you a seat at the table.” (Interview with stakeholder)

How are the new name and new strategic plan connected?

Our bold new strategic plan lays out an ambitious set of goals for improving practices, extending the profession’s leadership in philanthropy, and continuing to build and highlight the expertise of grants management professionals. The plan deepens and extends the work we’ve always done. The organization’s new name helps achieve this plan. Like the goals and strategies outlined in the plan, our name change is driven by member input and informed by research, surveys, focus groups, and volunteer feedback.

Does the new name foreshadow other changes to the organization?

In no way does the new strategic plan or name change signal a move away from community or our network. We are expanding our capacity and adding dedicated staff to increase connections to members on both the national and regional levels. We remain an organization of, by, and for grantmakers. Our programs and services will not change.

What was the process that led to the new name?

More closely aligning the organization’s mission, strategic plan, and name has been a topic of conversation among the board and members for many years. During its work to develop the 2017-2019 strategic plan, the board decided to undertake an assessment to help determine whether a new name could better represent the organization’s new strategic plan and direction for the future.

The assessment drew on feedback from multiple sources: (1) the insights of a working group of board directors and organization members, (2) interviews with internal and external stakeholders, (3) listening sessions with various groups of members, and (4) discussions among the full board.

The results of the assessment led the board to vote to change “Grants Managers Network” to a more aspirational and metaphorical name. After reviewing many possible names and accompanying taglines, the board unanimously approved “PEAK Grantmaking” and “Practice Meets Purpose.”

What does the logo represent?

Our new logo is multi-dimensional and can represent many ideas. Among those the board found most compelling are:

  • Change or a difference in quality captured in the Greek symbol delta, alluding to the path from where we are to where we’re headed under our new strategic plan.
  • New heights we strive to achieve in grantmaking, symbolized by the upward pointing arrow.
  • Change over time like our evolution as a field, as an organization and as individual grantmakers, alluded to in the repeating triangle.

How will the name change affect the organization’s governance?

The governance of the organization remains unchanged.

Will the name change affect the organization’s tax ID?

No. Our tax ID will stay the same. While we have changed our name to better suit our mission and new strategic plan, the core of our work will not change.  We remain an organization of, by, and for professionals in grantmaking.

How can I share my thoughts or questions with staff?

You can reach any member of the staff directly via phone or email (see our staff list with phone numbers and email addresses). You can also email your comments to feedback@peakgrantmaking.org