On-site Board Discussion

Mertz Gilmore Foundation
June 2018 - July 2018

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For evaluation to reach its highest purpose, engagement at the board level is required.



Mertz Gilmore’s board of directors serve both a governance and strategic role. It is critical that the connection between intention, values and inquiry is explicit and aligned. For evaluation to truly reach its highest purpose, recalibration and engagement at the executive and board levels is required. Mertz Gilmore is the first Practice Partner where the EE conversation started with the Board of Directors.

Developing a new climate program strategy offers a timely entry point, at it provided both the perfect platform for the Foundation to make explicit its commitment to equity and an opportunity to explore implications for how it develops aligned evaluative practice across all programs.

WHAT ARE WE DOING? what is happening?

As part of the agenda for Mertz Gilmore’s summer board meeting, the the president and program team identified equitable evaluation as a learning opportunity for Board members. This session was co-crafted to create a shared understanding of the evolution of evaluation and its practice in philanthropy and to introduce equitable evaluation. The emerging climate program strategy was used to ground implications and possibilities. Because Mertz is also in the early stages of its evaluative journey, it’s next steps will be to participate in a Eval PD series at Philanthropy NY which integrates EE throughout.


At the May InDEEP convening, Rachael Young and Trellis Stepter jumped at the chance to use work to develop a new program strategy to explore how EE might manifest. They brought this enthusiasm back to the Foundation resulting in a session with the board of directors.