Top 12 Accomplishments in 12 Months of Expanding the Bench

The American Evaluation Association’s Evaluation 2019 Conference marks the one year anniversary since Change Matrix became the managing partners of Expanding the Bench™ (ETB). The theme of the conference was “Paths to the Future of Evaluation.” As we look forward to the future path of this critical initiative, we took time to reflect on our journey to this point.

In one year, we have accomplished many milestones, all while working to enhance all that ETB has to offer. From increasing the number of diverse evaluators in our Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network and Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program, to meeting benchmarks that align with our greater theory of change, ETB has much to celebrate!

Top 12 Accomplishments in 12 Months of ETB:

  1. Launched the ETB Website, Bench (Re)Marks, and the ACE Evaluation Network Note which we use to communicate key resources and opportunities with our external audiences and ETB community members.
  2. Convened an ETB Advisory Team, consisting of 7 ACE Evaluation Network, 5 LEEAD and 9 Fundraising and Capacity Building advisors to provide input, feedback, and recommendations.
  3. Partnered with American University and LEEAD Instructors to design a new LEEAD curriculum focused on the theory and practice of culturally-responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE).
  4. Selected 15 LEEAD Scholars as part of a third cohort of diverse evaluators representing 11 states across the U.S. and various disciplines.
  5. Paired LEEAD Scholars with LEEAD Mentors who are experts in the field of evaluation with 15+ years of experience, 5 of whom are also ACE Evaluation Network members.
  6. Hosted the LEEAD Symposium & Reception at the beautiful  Annie E. Casey Foundation to formally kick-off the LEEAD Program, engage with evaluation experts, and network with each other as evaluators and leaders.
  7. Launched the ACE Evaluation Network Database, which serves as a virtual access point for foundations and other commissioners of evaluation to seek and retain diverse evaluators who practice culturally responsive and equitable evaluation for projects and other commissioned work.
  8. Invited 12 new ACE Evaluation Network Members to join our highly qualified group of experienced evaluators who are eager to build connections, support communities’ and programs’ evaluation.
  9. Hosted multiple ACE Evaluation Network professional development and networking opportunities including a virtual business development and collaborations-focused community of practice; regional virtual networking sessions; and the annual ACE Evaluation Network Luncheon to discuss ways to increase the presence and best practice of CREE.
  10. Entered into a formal partnership with the American Evaluation Association to join forces to support diversity in the field and increase the practice of CREE.
  11. Joined Evaluation Funders, affinity groups and universities virtually and at in-person meetings where we spoke to our shared alignment and the need for a field-building movement.
  12. Recruited Practicum Sites, including universities, foundations, think tanks and evaluation firms to host a LEEAD Scholar’s practicum site experience in 2020.

Much of what we have done has centered around listening and learning from others, and as we work to grow in 2020, we hope to continue to engage in dialogue with diverse voices in the field and continue to share learning with others.  A heartfelt thank you to all who have contributed to and supported our work throughout the year.

Learn more about our work to transform the evaluation field on the ETB website.  Interested in staying up to date on all things ETB?  Sign up for Bench (Re)Marks, our monthly newsletter!