Meet the Team


The Equitable Evaluation Initiative is designed to be co-crafted and co-led by practitioners across the philanthropic, non-profit, and consulting communities through prototyping projects, communities of practice, connection opportunities, convenings, and paradigm-shifting conversations. The EEI also has a core team to facilitate and guide this work on a day-to-day basis. This team will be growing in coming months.

The Equitable Evaluation Initiative Core Team

Photo credit,    Kevin Neilson

Photo credit, Kevin Neilson

Jara Dean-Coffey, Director

Jara Dean-Coffey is Founder and Director of the Equitable Evaluation Initiative. For the past twenty-five years, she has partnered with clients and colleagues to elevate their collective understanding of the relationship between values, context, strategy and evaluation and shifting our practices so that they are more fully in service of equity. Her consulting practice, jdcPartnerships and now Luminare Group, has consistently sought to push practice and incubated the initial explorations of equitable evaluation (EE) as a next step for the field.

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Jara, co-authored Raising the Bar: Cultural Competence and Equity - Equitable Evaluation (2014) that led to funding for the two-year Equitable Evaluation Project in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation and Johnson Center for Philanthropy. This exploration affirmed both the need and appetite for elevating and advancing EE practice across the field.

More recently, Jara published What’s Race Got To Do With It, Equity and Philanthropic Evaluation Practice (2018) in the American Journal of Evaluation as part of special edition on race and evaluation. She is currently working on a chapter titled “Values, Voice and Validity” for a book by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

As Founder and Principal of Luminare Group, and its previous incarnation jdcPartnerships, Jara has more than 25 years of experience with foundations and nonprofits of all sizes (from budgets of less than $500,000 to $2.5 billion) across the country focused on strengthening evaluative thinking, engaging in strategy formation and planning as well as evaluative work. Attention to organizational culture, intentions and values alignment is integral to how Luminare Group selects client and consulting partners and the ways in which engagements are designed, executed and concluded. Clients have included: RYSE Youth Center, David and Luclle Packard Foundation, Interaction for Social Change, Annie E Casey Foundation, Compasspoint, Neighborhood Funders Group, First 5 Marin Children, and Families Commission and others.

Jara is frequently invited to lead capacity building or pushing practice sessions on evaluative thinking and strategy formation for initiatives like United Philanthropy Forum, ChangePhilanthropy, Equity in the Center, among others. She is a founding member and Steering Committee Member of the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, and sits on the Philamplify Toolkit Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association.

Jara is dedicated to co-leading, co-crafting, and co-evolving the Equitable Evaluation Initiative with leaders across sectors and disciplines. The Partnership model and the EEI working Theory of Change reflect an understanding of the complexity of field dynamics and the multiple levers and players which influence evaluative practice and the need for us to work in alignment to shift the current paradigm and continue to transform evaluative practices.


MARCIA CONÉ, Director of Practice Engagement and Evolution

For nearly three decades, Marcia has worked in partnership with NGOs, Philanthropy, PSOs, and Grassroots and Grasstops leaders to shift the paradigm and create cultures where intersectional equity is at the center. She brings a depth and breadth of experience that fuels her passion for moving the philanthropic sector away from a traditional framework towards bold philanthropy that is a catalyst for change.

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Marcia served as the Chief Strategist for the Women’s Funding Network and the Change Strategist for Advancing Workplace Excellence. The founding CEO of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, her leadership galvanized action to advance women and girls representation, rights, and economic equity through cross sector partnerships, community and constituent engagement, and strategic investments.

Marcia holds a PhD and MSW from Boston College’s School of Social Work. Her past academic leadership includes serving as full-time, interim, and adjunct faculty at several colleges and universities across the country. A published writer, Marcia’s most recent publication is entitled, “Permission Granted: Changing the Paradigm for Women in Leadership”. She is a frequent keynote speaker at major philanthropy conferences engaging audiences to think differently and commit to taking action, previously speaking at Philanthropy Ohio, Long Island AFP, AFP International, Women Funded, and more.

Leading dynamic peer learning communities has been a critical piece of Marcia’s work. She knows first-hand the synergy and transformation that occurs in communities of practice when equity is placed at the center of the work and inquiry, reflection, and innovation are cultivated. In her role with EEI, she will develop a robust ecosystem of organizations and individuals to provide multiple spaces and modalities to help partners interrogate and evolve their evaluation practices, promote shared inquiry and learning, catalyze cross-sector thought leadership, and contribute to field-building.


Ginger Daniel
Strategy Design and Development

Ginger has been the strategist for the EE Project and EE Initiative since 2017, working in partnership with Luminare Group, Center for Evaluation Innovation and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy to clarify the work’s vision, values and goals, with a strong emphasis on building and leveraging community assets across the EE ecosystem.

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Her change initiative design approach is deeply rooted in the intersection of strategic planning and strategic communications, ensuring that all stakeholders -- during both planning and implementation phases -- are aligned. Ginger brings over 20 years of experience leading communications, facilitation, and strategy for game-changing social and environmental justice initiatives across the US and internationally. Other current partners include Unbound Philanthropy, the Pop Culture Collaborative, and the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity.


Jennie armstrong

Jennie is a communications + branding consultant passionate about the intersection of digital technology and social good. She has worked with the EE Project and EE Initiative since 2017, playing a key role in designing the Initiative brand and website, developing and executing the communication strategy, and engaging EEI partners.

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She has spent the past decade supporting individuals, organizations, and Fortune 500 companies in launching and growing socially-responsible brands and movements, with her portfolio of work spanning issue areas, disciplines, and continents. Recent projects include serving as the Senior Communications Advisor for the Joint Peace Fund in Myanmar and being selected as a U.S. State Department PFP Delegate, which involved training entrepreneurs in Egypt on the principles of Human Centered Design and Lean Startup in advancing their social good missions.

Equitable Evaluation Initiative Consultants

Linda W. Helstowski, MA

Linda works closely with foundations, nonprofits and other field leaders to improve approaches that drive meaningful change. This includes providing skilled guidance to philanthropy over the last 20 years to advance program management, evaluation, and shared learning networks. Clients have included the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, and the Council of Michigan Foundations, among others.

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She brings a unique perspective and expertise in crafting innovative learning resources on complex critical issues to be more easily understood, shared, and applied. Linda has been partnering with EEI Practice Partners since 2018 and has led the writing for the first EE Teaching Case.

Mindelyn Anderson, Ph.D.
Teaching Case Facilitator

Dr. Mindelyn Anderson is the Founder + Principal of Mirror Group LLC, a consulting firm that leverages partnerships with fellow evaluators, researchers, subject matter experts, and change makers to bring collaborative, participatory, utilization-focused evaluation and capacity-building to communities and learning organizations.

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She earned her doctorate in Sociology from The Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in Sociology with minors in Anthropology and Policy Studies from UCLA. Mindelyn, a California Bay Area native, currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, three daughters and a son. You can find her serving community organizations including Zion Church and John Eaton Elementary School as well as working toward racial equity and inclusion through Juniors Read and Mirror Group.

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