Giving Compass' Take:
- Dominica McBride explains how evaluation can be a tool for racial equity work and shows how it can be used.
- What role can evaluation play in your work? How can you ensure racial equity is centered in your evaluation processes?
- Find out how one organization is measuring racial equity progress.
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As a woman of color, evaluator, and nonprofit leader for more than ten years, I am encouraged to see a growing number of foundations and nonprofits embrace efforts to advance racial equity and justice.
At this uncertain moment in our history, we have an opportunity to heal, restore, and create a more inclusive and abundant future for all. It is an opportunity, however, that could disappear as quickly as it emerged — if we don’t seize it.
As we have learned over the last six months, efforts to address racial tensions and inequities and promote healing and narrative change are desperately needed. Those efforts can and should be evaluated.
Foundations and nonprofits should also foreground long-standing inequities in their evaluation efforts — inequities that often obscure root causes underlying the problem we are trying to address. A skilled evaluator can help surface such complex dynamics.
For example, when BECOME was asked to evaluate a first round of grants awarded by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities in support of innovative approaches to neighborhood safety in Chicago, we started with a literature review of violence prevention programs in other jurisdictions.
In the process, we discovered that interventions such as job programs or social and emotional skills training focus on the immediate needs of individuals. But adult violence also is linked to factors more distant — such as redlining or trauma due to heightened exposure to violence. Community violence too often is the legacy of policies that, over time, forcibly segregated communities by race and income, tilting the playing field against Black, indigenous, and other people of color. No matter how well designed an intervention might be, if it fails to address such root causes, it is unlikely to succeed.
Last but not least, we have learned that evaluation is most effective when it is culturally responsive and engages multiple stakeholders — especially those likely to be impacted by the intervention — in the process of developing questions, designing solutions, and recommending next steps based on lessons learned.
Read the full article about using evaluation for racial equity work by Dominica McBride at Philanthropy News Digest.