What We’ve Heard from You

We’ve changed our name, and, you, our members have a lot to say about it.

We’re delighted that so many of you have taken time to share your thoughts. As we expected, those reflections have ranged from enthusiastic to perplexed, and beyond. While we can’t collect and convey all the comments that have come our way, we wanted to recap and post recurring themes for us to consider together.

Certainly, we’ve heard from members who believe we made this wide-reaching change too abruptly—in a manner that doesn’t reflect an organization of grantmakers, for grantmakers. Yes, when we announced our name change, it was news to most of our 3,600 members.

Yet this decision was not made in a vacuum. It was informed by the efforts of a working group composed of board directors and organization members, by interviews with internal and external stakeholders alike, by listening sessions with various member groups, and by long, intense discussions among the full board of directors.

Some of you expressed feeling as if you’ve lost a close, longtime friend. You worry that without “network” in our name we’ll lose the sense of community that has sustained us for 20 years. But our community is not based on a single word nor vulnerable to a single decision. Our passion for this work—demonstrated anew by your response to our name change—belies that fear.

We understand that others see in a name that downplays “grants managers” or “grants management” a shift away from our organization’s core membership and mission. Nothing could be further from the truth. PEAK Grantmaking is 100 percent dedicated to grants management and the people who do this work. What’s ahead is only bigger, better, and more vital. So, stay tuned.

We also know you wonder whether decision makers and colleagues will still recognize us and continue to support our efforts as well as your participation in them. Will people new to the organization understand its purpose? We get that, and we’re taking numerous steps to raise awareness of our transition to PEAK Grantmaking. We’re also in the unique position to define PEAK Grantmaking, so we have ambitious plans to reinforce our mission and work with all our audiences.

Besides comments like those above, we’ve also heard through our online community, via email, by phone, and in face-to-face conversations that many members are energized by our new name. They feel a renewed, stronger connection to our organization.

Still others believe this change will inspire all of us to expand our thinking about grantmaking, about our careers, and about our roles in philanthropy.  Staff members from one grants management department told us that our bold move prompted them to more explicitly connect the department’s goals to their organization’s broader goals, showing how their work matters to the success of the organization.  Another PEAK Grantmaking member said she was motivated to revise her job description to more accurately capture her role as right at the center of her organization’s grantmaking rather than behind the scenes.

Our desire for our name to better engage everyone involved in the grants process is also bearing fruit.  Case in point: GuideStar forwarded our email with news of PEAK Grantmaking to its mailing list recently, and 65 individuals signed up within hours to receive our emails—more than half of those individuals expressed interest in becoming PEAK Grantmaking members.

That’s the excitement we hope our name change and bold strategic plan will engender in all of you.

This is not our organization’s first name change, and it probably won’t be the last. Twenty years from now, we hope to have reached the next point in our evolution when broader focus, elevated expectations, greater societal need, and reinvigorated members require another forward-leaning shift.

In the meantime, we hope you will give this one a chance. We ask you to keep an open mind. Continue sending us your thoughts. Stay connected. Hold us accountable to the plans we’ve made. Remain true to the values that have made this organization strong for all these years. We’ll be right there with you!