Where we’ve been, where we’re going

Updates from the field

We are halfway through 2019 and encouraged by the momentum that is building around EEI. It’s a perfect time to provide some high-level updates on what’s happening with us and in the wider field.


Last month, EEI hosted a plenary luncheon at GEO’s bi-annual learning event that explored why EEI Practice Partners are choosing to redefine their evaluation efforts so that they both reflect and advance equity. EEI Practice Partners Vancouver Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and The California Endowment shared the impetus for their commitment to equitable evaluation (EE) principles, a few successes and challenges, and why this shift is imperative to better learning and evaluation across the sector.

“We framed this session by talking about who we are and why we are personally drawn to the work of equitable evaluation. Judging by the response of folks in the room, that approach resonated. Taking the time to tell our stories and to listen to each other’s stories is key to how we shift power and move towards greater equity.”
- Trilby Smith, Director of Learning and Evaluation, Vancouver Foundation

GEO recorded the session, and we’ll share a link to the recording in a future issue of this Monthly. We are also considering a complementary blog series.


Practice Partners are those institutions, individuals, and efforts who are engaged in making the case or equipping for transformation efforts to support adoption of EE.

  • Midwest Collaboratory Launch: This new collaboratory is the idea of the Missouri Health Foundation. As an early champion, they wish to build the field of equitable evaluation practice in the midwest. Since EEI launched, several foundations in the region have initiated individual projects with EEI, and others have reached out seeking ways to bring EE to their organizations. While individual engagement and work is important, exploration and adoption of EE through peer sharing and learning can be deepened.

  • 2020 Consultant Collaboratory Exploration: In our March Monthly, we talked about the growing interest among evaluation consultants and some of the possibilities and challenges. We think we may have sufficient interest to pilot an approach and we are currently exploring a collaboratory that would launch next year.

  • Colorado Phase 2 Collaboratory:Sponsored by Colorado Health Foundation and The Colorado Trust, this collaboratory will launch in the coming months.


Field Partnerships reflect a formal relationship with EEI to amplify and advance the adoption of the EE Principles. Each Field Partner has a different set of commitments based on its own stance, member/audience interactions, and the nature of their work.

We are THRILLED that the following institutions are willing to be explicit and transparent about their commitment to the EE principles. They reflect early and new champions. In upcoming Monthly’s, look for spotlights that will share more about the work they’re doing.

Investment Partners are those who contribute financial resources to advance equitable evaluation in ways that directly advance field wide practice.

We are delighted to announce that our newest investment partner is the McKnight Foundation! The McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. As they build their capacity to harness diverse sources of facts and knowledge in service of applied learning, they are committed to advancing equity in all of their learning and evaluation work. Partnering with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative allows them to accelerate progress in their own work and work in the field.


“How to Push DEI Conversations Out of the Comfort Zone”

EEI Director Jara Dean-Coffey recently co-authored a piece with Chera Reid, the Director of Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation at the Kresge Foundation that was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). How to Push DEI Conversations Out of the Comfort Zone explores four practices that can help us find and stay with our learning edge—the boundaries of our comfort zones and competencies where changes are truly transformative and freeing—as we work to advance racial equity in philanthropy.

Stay up to date on news from EEI