Making the Case for the Equitable Evaluation Framework™

  • By Stephanie Chan , February 8, 2021

As our philanthropic members increasingly center equity within their work, the staff of Funders Together to End Homelessness, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), PEAK Grantmaking, and Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) recognized an opportunity to apply an equity lens to a tool that already exists in the toolbox of most funders: evaluation.

Through meetings and conferences we attended over the past few years, we were drawn in by the Equitable Evaluation Initiative (EEI), which asked us to imagine, “What might be possible if evaluation was conceptualized, implemented, and utilized in a manner that promotes equity?”

A Partnership Is Born

Funders Together, GEO, PEAK, and SCG are excited to co-host and launch the Making the Case Collaboratory with our members and the Equitable Evaluation Initiative on February 11, 2021.

The MTC Collaboratory is the first step to engaging with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative. This experience will be a six-month journey of self-reflection and situational assessment to unpack Equitable Evaluation Principles and explore current internal evaluation practices and orthodoxies.

Rather than just inviting our members across the country to participate in this learning collaboratory, the four of us – Funders Together, GEO, PEAK, and SCG – are serving as co-hosts and will be participating alongside our members to reflect and unpack our own evaluation practices.

Our commitment to our membership is to document and share our discoveries as we go. Our hope for other philanthropy-serving organizations is that this collaborative serves as a model for how PSOs can reimagine their collaboration on internal racial equity work and learning opportunities for their members.

Why We Are Participating

Stephanie Chan, Director of Membership and Programs, Funders Together to End Homelessness:

“If we truly want to prevent and end homelessness, we have to challenge our beliefs about how we evaluate “success.” This is an exciting opportunity for Funders Together staff to learn alongside our members and push ourselves to unpack ideas like success and validity, as well as develop new ways of thinking.”

Kyle Rinne-Meyers, Strategy & Learning Manager, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations:

“At GEO, we recognize that the way organizations evaluate and learn from their work is a critical strategy towards creating a more just, connected and inclusive society. We’re thrilled to dig deeper into the difficult work of applying the EEI framework, along with our members and partners, to help advance equitable social change.”

Melissa Sines, Programs and Knowledge Director, PEAK Grantmaking:

“We here at PEAK are so excited to be working with these partners to bring this learning opportunity to our members across the country. As we dive into learning together, PEAK is ready to use what we learn to shape our knowledge and resources around grant reporting and evaluative work to support the work of grants professionals across the sector.”

Katy Pelissier, Director, Programs & Conferences, Southern California Grantmakers:

“Early conversations with the EEI team have opened our eyes to the possibility of using evaluation in service of social equity and the reality that without this level of intentionality, we are likely perpetuating the very inequities we hope to address. We are eager to learn alongside our members and partners and move from theory to action together.”

About the Equitable Evaluation Initiative

The Equitable Evaluation Initiative (EEI) is co-crafted and led by partners in philanthropy, evaluation, and nonprofits, and seeks evaluation to be a tool for and of equity for those that have placed equity as core to their work. EEI is a five-year initiative that launched in 2017 with support from The Ford Foundation and The California Endowment for the initiative’s strategy development and launch. The Kresge Foundation offered its FreshLo Initiative as the first Equitable Evaluation Framework™(EEF) teaching case. Since August 2017, the EEI Team has engaged in multiple gatherings and work sessions across the country to advance practice of the Equitable Evaluation Framework.

Three principles ground the Equitable Evaluation Framework™:

  • Evaluation and evaluative work should be in service of equity
  • Evaluative work can and should be able to answer questions about:
    • Ways in which historical and structural decisions have contributed to the condition to be addressed
    • Effect of a strategy on different populations
    • Effect of a strategy on the underlying systemic drivers of inequity
    • Ways in which cultural context is tangled up in both structural conditions and the change initiative itself
  • Evaluative work should be designed and implemented commensurate with the values underlying equity work (i.e., multi-culturally valid and oriented toward participant ownership)


We are thrilled to have the following organizations participate in this Making the Case Collaboratory:

  • California Community Foundation
  • Chicago Community Trust
  • Communities Foundation of Texas
  • Community Health Councils
  • Garfield Foundation
  • HealthSpark Foundation
  • Heising-Simons Foundation
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation
  • Inland Empire Community Foundation
  • Borealis Philanthropy
  • Margaret A Cargill Philanthropies
  • Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.
  • PetSmart Charities
  • Satterberg Foundation
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • Skillman Foundation
  • Stuart Foundation
  • The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Tipping Point
  • United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
  • Walter and Elise Haas Fund

If you have questions about this partnership, we encourage you to reach out to any of the four co-hosts of this Making the Case Collaboratory:

  • Stephanie Chan, Director of Membership and Programs, Funders Together to End Homelessness
  • Katy Pelissier, Director of Programs & Conferences, Southern California Grantmakers
  • Kyle Rinne-Meyers, Strategy and Learning Manager, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
  • Melissa Sines, Programs and Knowledge Director, PEAK Grantmaking