Join us at AEA 2018

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We're headed to Cleveland for the American Evaluation Association 2018 Conference this month! Are you? We'd love for you to join us at one of our sessions:

Authentic Engagement with Foundation Trustees about Complex Strategies

Time: Oct 31, 2018 (5:45 PM - 6:30 PM)
Room: Hilton - Hope Ballroom A

Presenters: Clare Nolan (Engage R+D), Julia Coffman (Center for Evaluation Innovation), and Olivia Deich (The David and Lucile Packard Foundation)

Session Number: 2165

Foundations are increasingly tackling complex problems rooted in deeply dysfunctional systems. This work demands adaptive strategies that emphasize experimentation, learning, and adjustment. Foundation leaders often struggle to educate trustees about the nature and importance of this work, and to effectively manage expectations for measuring progress and impact. This session will explore this issue by considering how the professional backgrounds of foundation board members influence their expectations for evidence, and how evaluators can use this understanding to do a better job communicating with trustees about complex, systemic work. We will engage participants in discussion around the following ideas relevant to this year’s theme:

  • What expectations do trustees hold for impact and how does this influence the types of work foundations take on?

  • What role can evaluators play in helping to educate trustees about complex, adaptive work?

  • How can evaluators cultivate trustee buy-in for evaluation approaches that prioritize learning?

Moments of Truth: Visualizing Beneficiary Experience through Journey Mapping

Time: Oct 31, 2018 (05:45 PM - 06:30 PM)
Room: CC - 24

Presenters: Sonia Taddy Sandino (Engage R+D), Cristina Whyte (Engage R+D), and Bernadette Sangalang (The David and Lucile Packard Foundation)

Session Number: 1633

There is growing interest in the social sector in ways to use design thinking to improve programs and systems by putting constituents and beneficiaries at the center. Journey mapping is a powerful tool to analyze and understand how people experience and interact with programs, services, and systems.  It can also shed light on gaps and opportunities as well as re-image what an ideal experience might look like. Using two case examples – a systems change planning process and a developmental evaluation - this demonstration will explore how journey mapping can be used to engage stakeholders and constituents in new ways, shed light on opportunities and barriers to progress and tell a visual story about how beneficiaries experience and interact with services or systems.  Journey mapping helps beneficiaries share their perspective and brings a human-centered lens to our efforts to strengthen outcomes in the social sector.

Principles, Power and Privilege: Approaches for Evaluating Cross-Sector Initiatives that Advance Racial Equity 

Time: Nov 1, 2018 (03:45 PM - 04:45 PM)
Room: Hilton - Hope Ballroom B

Presenters: Sonia Taddy Sandino (Engage R+D), Rachel Estrella (Social Policy Research Associates), Cristina Whyte (Engage R+D), and Traci Inouye (Social Policy Research Associates)

Session Number: 2510

The pursuit for diversity, equity, and inclusion continues to challenge all of us as we seek to support social sector initiatives tackling pervasive, complex, and historically-entrenched issues such as institutional racism and equity in education, health, workforce and criminal justice systems.  How can evaluators contribute to this work? How can we embed equity and inclusion into our practice?  While there is no common definition or consistent understanding in the field about what equitable evaluation looks like, there are practices and principles to guide and infuse an equity lens into our approaches, methods and interpretation of data. This session shares two equity-focused initiatives funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is designed to spark discussion about strategies for translating an “equity lens” into practice. We explore the use of principles-focused evaluation and how to both lift-up and learn from the practices and wisdom of those working on the front-lines of change.

No Time for Business as Usual: Learning from Rapid Response Grantmaking in Uncertain Times  

Time: Nov 1, 2018 (05:00 PM - 05:45 PM)
Room: Hilton - Hope Ballroom B

Presenters: Sonia Taddy Sandino (Engage R+D), Kim Ammann Howard (The James Irvine Foundation), Lori Nascimento (The California Endowment)

Session Number: 2483

Now more than ever, philanthropy, social sector innovators, and evaluators are challenged to act differently and respond boldly as they seek to tackle complex social problems and navigate an unpredictable and politically-charged environment. Since the 2016 national elections many funders have launched rapid response grants to fund advocacy efforts, communications campaigns, community organizations, and funding to defend immigrant rights. In this extraordinary era of sweeping social movements and rapid response grantmaking, what is the role of learning and evaluation?  What role can evaluators (both internal and external) play to support bold efforts to defend vulnerable populations and support power building and movement infrastructure?  How and to what effect can grantees and beneficiaries be engaged in learning and reflection?  This session will explore the experience of two California-based funders and seeks to promote dialogue about what it means to speak truth to power.