Complex Social Change

We are drawn to strategies that are complex and messy. We get excited about systems thinking. We work on strategies that are complicated, with multiple causal paths or ways of achieving outcomes, or complex and emergent, with goals and activities that develop while the strategy is being implemented. We support the advancement of thinking and methods that increase the ability of philanthropy and other change agents to navigate and transform the complex dynamics and systems that are shaping our world.

Foundation Evaluation and Learning

Evaluation and learning practice in foundations regularly evolves in response to individual foundation or sector-level shifts. We research this evolving practice and devote a big part of our work to helping shape it. We do much of this through the Evaluation Roundtable platform, where we introduce cutting-edge ideas, seed peer relationships, promote common standards and norms, and support the foundation leaders who guide this work.

Advocacy & Power Building

CEI was founded to help advance the advocacy evaluation field and we remain deeply committed to this goal. Given our mission of using evaluation and learning to advance racial equity and justice, we are now examining the role of equity and power in advocacy and policy change efforts, asking "How can advocacy build power in addition to achieving wins?"

Strategic Learning

We see learning as distinct from evaluation, and have a deep body of work devoted to supporting more effective learning for organizations, teams, and individuals. Ensuring people learn is not simply a technical challenge solved by having the right tool, the right template, or even the right data. We view learning as a practice, a way of thinking and working, a set of capacities and habits that must be integrated into our day-to-day work.