Equitable Evaluation Initiative
EEF Expansion: Overview & Grounding
The Equitable Evaluation Framework™ (EEF) invites alignment of purpose, practices, processes, and policies with stated values and intentions, specifically within the context of the U.S. philanthropic sector. EEF challenges us to be explicit and intentional about axiology (what we determine to be right), ontology (what we believe to be true/reality), and epistemology (what is evidence/knowledge). It expands 21st century definitions of validity, objectivity, rigor, and embraces complexity.* It challenges cultural norms that continue to place preference for a singular type of truth, knowing, and evidence. The EEF changes the nature of methodologies, as well as offers a starting place for new or conventional ones.
Actors in the philanthropic sector are invited to reimagine how to approach their work.**
The Framework offers space to ask questions and learn from and with each other in ways that inform our recommendations, actions, and decisions to align
with aims and intentions.
The deepening of the EEF, steeped in practice and praxis, will continue to evolve.
The aim and intention of the Equitable Evaluation Initiative (EEI) is to seed and grow a field of EEF Practitioners, sustained by the individuals and organizations in the practice, who bring heart and humanity into the work. Experience in the practice has provided some insight and wisdom on how to approach the EEF.
Individuals and organizations often attempt to apply the entire Framework all at once—as an “all or nothing” Mindset. Be assured, this will result in frustration and a return to default practices. Not all of these elements will be in play all the time.
We intentionally call this a practice because unlearning and learning takes time, and muscle memory evolves. As such, varying aspects of the elements may be applicable and useful at different times and moments, while others do not feel present or possible.
The invitation is to practice the EEF with intention and attention—to consider where there may be an entry point or opportunity to explore one of the EEF Principles. We invite curiosity and exploration about stated and unstated beliefs. How do these get in the way of what you are attempting to do? What if that weren’t true or is not always true? What might be possible?
There may be a Mindset shift that offers or opens new ways of framing, or a Sticking Point that surfaces that feels challenging for which conversation may invite new perspectives, or a Tension that, once named, can support movement and exploration.
Space and grace are needed—are, in fact, necessary—in the practice of the EEF. Practice allows for change—individual and organizational. Through practice, we align our stated values with our actions. Who we are in this work and how we show up in it are the difference that will make a difference.
* Equitable Evaluation Initiative & Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). (2021). Shifting the Evaluation Paradigm: The Equitable Evaluation Framework™
** Equitable Evaluation Initiative. (2020). Theory of Change.
*** Shaikh, Sobia & Macias, Teresa. (2022). Critical Social Work Praxis. Edited by Sobia Shaheen Shaikh, Brenda LeFrancois and Teresa Macias. Fernwood Publishing.