The Evolving Role of Grants Management

The role and function of grants management continues to evolve in organizations across the philanthropic sector, especially in response to current events. As a grants management professional, you are performing new roles, broadening your responsibilities, and expanding your impact throughout your organization. This time of rapid change requires you to develop new skills, communicate differently, and look ahead to the future.

Speakers discuss the evolution of the grants management model, the current state of grantmaking operations in your organization, and how you can reach the next level of effectiveness.

Learn how to

  • audit your individual role and current stage in the grants management evolution model;
  • create strategies to advance your organization to the next stage in the evolution model;
  • develop professional development plans for your career growth; and
  • promote the benefits of change to your organization’s leadership.

The workshop was a joint program of PEAK Mideast and Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania (GWP).

Original air date: October 7, 2020

Sara Sanders

Membership Director

PEAK Grantmaking

As PEAK Grantmaking’s membership director, Sara leads the organization’s efforts to build and grow our network of over 350 Organizations Members and our community of more than 4,000 grants management professionals, all with the goal of improving how grants get made throughout the philanthropic sector.

Sara brings 10+ years of association experience in volunteer management, membership recruitment and retention,  stakeholder engagement, and relationship building.  For more than 2 of those years, she worked as PEAK Grantmaking’s regional chapter manager, during which time she collaborated with volunteer regional chapter officers to dramatically increase engagement and build volunteers as leaders.

Sara started her career at the Department of Defense, training military voting assistance officers to help service members vote and ensuring ballots were sent on time to oversees citizens. She has also worked at the League of Women Voters and the School Nutrition Association.

Sara earned a bachelor’s degree in history and criminal justice from The George Washington University. She loves spending time with her family, is an avid sports fan and museum enthusiast, enjoys hobbies like ice skating and knitting, and can’t wait for her next travel adventure.

Altinay Cortes

Chapter Manager

PEAK Grantmaking

As PEAK Grantmaking’s chapter manager, Altinay supports grants management professionals within PEAK’s 14 regional chapters. A trained social worker, Altinay considers herself to be a connector of people to ideas, tools, opportunities, and resources. She is passionate about fostering strong networks and communities that promote positively changing society. Throughout her career, Altinay has worked in multiple philanthropic, higher education, and social services positions serving diverse communities, especially racial and ethnic minorities and/or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Prior to joining PEAK Grantmaking, Altinay was a consultant at Equal Measure, a philanthropic services organization. Altinay served as a core team member on the evaluation capacity-building plan for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, and the National Public Education Support Fund’s Partnership for the Future of Learning. She also served as a member of the Coordination Hub team for the National Science Foundation’s INCLUDES initiative and Equal Measure’s evaluation of the California Endowment’s Sons & Brothers initiative. Additionally, Altinay worked with the Pew Charitable Trusts on an initiative to improve college access and success for Hispanic immigrants.

Altinay earned her Master of Social Work from Fordham University and B.A. in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Altinay is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring in the U.S. and abroad. She’s also a natural organizer: Ask her about ways to organize any space! Whether in the office or at home, Altinay believes there is a place for every item. She has a deep admiration for efficient use of space and time.

​Dolores Estrada

Chief Operating Officer

PEAK Grantmaking

As COO of PEAK Grantmaking, Dolores manages day-to-day operations – ensuring that our members and funders receive timely responses to inquiries and that staff have the resources they need to work successfully on behalf of members. Dolores also oversees the efforts of PEAK’s Membership and Communications teams, as they engage more grants management professionals in improving grantmaking practices. In addition, she lends her expertise to the development, implementation, and assessment of the association’s strategic plans.

Prior to joining PEAK Grantmaking, Dolores was director of grant operations at The California Endowment, where she was responsible for oversight of the administrative functions and policies of the foundation’s online grant-making, program planning, strategic planning, assessment, and operations. Dolores managed the Endowment’s collection of grantee diversity data and represented the foundation as a subject matter expert on philanthropic best practices at conferences. In addition, Dolores has extensive experience managing information systems and tax compliance.

A resident of Los Angeles, Dolores was the recipient of the 2009 Emerging Leader Award from the Joint Affinity Group, and she serves on the board of the Southern California Leadership Network. Dolores earned a master’s degree in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis on International Relations, from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in History from California State University.

Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  • Knowledge Management: Capture and apply knowledge to promote learning and improvement.
  • Process and Change Management: Plan and monitor processes efficiently and effectively and manage change as needed to contribute to grantmaker's strategic goals and grantee's success.
  • Staff and Volunteer Development: Build the capacity of staff and volunteers to be successful in their grantmaking role.

Principles for Peak Grantmaking

Tie Practices to Values - Link grantmaking practices with grantmaker values, integrating values throughout every aspect of grantmaking, to walk the talk and propel the mission.


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    • Non-member - Free!
    • Individual Member - Free!
    • Organization Member - Free!
    • Consultant (Sole) - Free!
    • Consultant (Firm) - Free!


Learning edge survey results
2020 Grants Management Salary Report