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At the Equitable Evaluation Initiative, we believe that evaluators in the philanthropic sector have a moral imperative to design and implement evaluations that contribute to equity. This can happen by:
- Answering critical questions about the effect of a strategy on different populations and on the structural drivers of inequity, as well as examining the ways in which cultural context is tangled up in both the structural conditions and the change initiative itself;
- Designing and implementing evaluations in a way that is commensurate with the values underlying equity work: multiculturally valid and oriented toward participant ownership.
Conversations with nonprofits, communities, foundations, and even consultants continue to reflect mixed feelings about evaluation. Findings from research by Innovation Network, Center for Evaluation Innovation, CEP, and others are consistent: evaluation as currently practiced is not serving us well. It’s time to stop tweaking and start from someplace new — so we can reach someplace new.
We reject singular solutions to this need for improved evaluation. Instead we have an invitation for your consideration rooted in three principles:
Principle 1: Evaluation and evaluative work should be in service of equity
Production, consumption, and management of evaluation and evaluative work should hold at its core a responsibility to advance progress towards equity.
Principle 2: Evaluative work can and should answer critical questions about the following:
- The ways in which historical and structural decisions have contributed to the condition to be addressed;
- Effect of a strategy on different populations;
- Effect of a strategy on the underlying systemic drivers of inequity;
- Ways in which cultural context is tangled up in both the structural conditions and the change initiative itself.
Principle 3: Evaluative work should be designed and implemented commensurate with the values underlying equity work:
- Multiculturally valid;
- Oriented toward participant ownership.
The word “equity” in our name speaks to the world in which we want to live AND a desire for a more accurate and complex understanding of and commitment to validity — one that is appropriate for the 21st century endeavors in which many foundations and nonprofits are engaged.
Read the full article about embedding equity in evaluation practices by Jara Dean-Coffey at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.