Miyesha Perry Elected Board Co-Chair Of PEAK Grantmaking - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Miyesha Perry Elected Board Co-Chair Of PEAK Grantmaking

Headshot of Miyesha Perry in the Rainin Foundation office. Miyesha Perry. Photo credit: Mitch Tobias

The Rainin Foundation is pleased to announce that Miyesha Perry, Director of Grants Management, was elected Board Co-Chair of PEAK Grantmaking, from June 2022 to May 2024. Miyesha has been a board member of this grants management association since June 2020. She will serve as PEAK’s Board Co-Chair with Allison Gister, Director of Grants and Knowledge Management at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

PEAK is a member-led community of philanthropy professionals dedicated to advancing equitable, effective grantmaking practices. It aims to transform philanthropy by elevating the grants management field and empowering professionals to lead the way in operationalizing equity-centered, values-driven grantmaking practices.

“It’s exciting to step into the role of PEAK Board Co-Chair at this critical time,” Perry said. “Our members are recognizing their power and influence to co-create more equitable grantmaking, collectively in our organizations and across the field. We are creating new norms and cultures to disrupt practices that are no longer serving us. The opportunity to serve as Co-Chair is both humbling and exhilarating!”

“Our members are recognizing their power and influence to co-create more equitable grantmaking. The opportunity to serve as Co-Chair is both humbling and exhilarating!”

Miyesha Perry, Director, Grants Management

Leading With Knowledge And Information

PEAK, which stands for Principles, Equity, Advocacy, Knowledge, boasts 6,000 members who are grants professionals across the philanthropic spectrum. Miyesha has grown with this network of peers and colleagues over her 20-year philanthropic career. She understands that access to shared knowledge and information is critical to the collaborative leadership role she and her peers can play in philanthropy.

“Folks in grants management positions are leading conversations and driving institutional change,” Perry observed. “I think grants managers are becoming more aware of how much knowledge and information they hold and, as a result, how much power they hold.”

“Folks in grants management positions are driving institutional change with the power of their knowledge and information.”

Miyesha Perry, Director, Grants Management

Advancing Equity-Centered Practices

As Director of the Rainin Foundation’s grants management team, Miyesha is advancing equity-centered, values-driven priorities while elevating the leadership of grants management staff. She strives for high-quality grants processing, data integrity and workflow efficiency for staff, applicants and grantees. She also sees opportunities within the Foundation and the philanthropy field to address a common tension around innovation and risk taking. While grantmakers often encourage grantees and partners to be innovative and take risks, grantmakers often don’t take risks with or for them. Her experience with PEAK is giving her tools to address that tension, a little bit at a time. While recognizing that change can be slow or sometimes difficult, she is committed to helping the Foundation advance practices so that grantees can spend more time serving their communities.

“That tension speaks to me all the time. How do we manage the tension between risk aversion and being responsive and innovative in our grantmaking and partnerships? I want to keep exploring what I can do too at the Rainin Foundation so that we can live our values in support of our community partners.”

Miyesha Perry, Director, Grants Management

Creating More Inclusion

In addition to her role as the PEAK Board Co-Chair, Miyesha is also the 2022 Nominating Committee Co-Chair with Adam Sanders, Managing Director of Grants Management at Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. Together, they are thinking broadly about the skills needed on the Board and how best to recruit leaders with those skills. The PEAK Board is considering different governance models to open committee participation to non-board members.

Recognizing philanthropy’s continued struggle with diversity, Perry is also focused on the process—who is being nominated, who is nominating themselves and who is missing. She sees that PEAK has a role to play in driving change. She is eager to ensure that the organization doesn’t leave people out who—like her—want to be in service.

“Since entering the field right out of college, I have literally grown up in philanthropy and with PEAK. Joining the Board was a chance to pay it forward. I want to be closer to the work and to help the Board and the organization in any way that I can.”

Miyesha Perry, Director, Grants Management