publication Oct 2023
2023 Benchmarking Foundation Learning & Evaluation Practices
The most comprehensive review of evaluation and learning practices at foundations, this report offers benchmarking data on foundation learning and evaluation practices collected in 2023.
publication Sep 2023
Using Developmental Evaluation to Support Adaptive Strategies: An Application from a Social Change Initiative
The chapter, authored by and written from the perspective of both strategists and evaluators, describes the methods used, how the evaluation informed strategy, and reections and lessons on the developmental evaluation experience and approach.
publication Aug 2023
Supporting Advocacy Ecosystems to Build Power
Organizers need the support of other actors—professional advocates, think tanks and policy shops, researchers, communications firms, funders, evaluators, and others—to recognize the critical role of organizing and to share the long-term goal of building people power.
publication Feb 2023
Advocacy that Builds Parents’ Power
CEI partnered with the Center on the Ecology of Early Development to evaluate two projects that supported state policy advocates in advancing equity by centering parents in their early childhood advocacy efforts. This report offers findings on the approach states used, the progress they made, and the barriers they encountered.
publication Jul 2022
A Tool for Systems Change that Supports Learning in Foundations
Foundations are systems. They have their own cultures and related assumptions, norms, standards, and practices. We encourage foundations to take stock of their learning needs with a dispassionate (evaluative) look at themselves as systems and how people work within them.
publication Jan 2022
Lost Causal: Debunking Myths About Causal Analysis in Philanthropy
Causal analysis is not just for controlled programmatic work, it is also for dynamic and emergent strategies that include network building, field building, advocacy, organizing, or movements.
publication Nov 2021
We need to articulate our assumptions so that we can test them. Here’s a guide to help.
This four-page guidance defines assumptions, explains why it is critical to articulate them, and then offers a set of prompting questions to help elicit them. Examples are included.
publication Aug 2021
Holding Foundations Accountable for Equity Commitments
Philanthropy needs to transform the structures and processes through which foundations hold power, including how they conceive of and operationalize accountability through their approaches to strategy development, evaluation, and grantee reporting and monitoring.
publication Apr 2021
Policy Wins Aren’t Enough; We Need Advocacy that Builds Power
While getting policy wins and systems changes is important, what does it mean to center impacted communities as the drivers of change? What does it mean to make building their power the ultimate goal of advocacy work? What does it require of the broader ecosystem of advocacy actors who also are involved in the work? CEI's evaluation report of The California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities initiative explores these questions and more.
publication Apr 2021
Approaches to Learning Amid Crises: Reflections from Philanthropy
Explore how foundations’ approaches to learning shaped their responses to the crises of 2020. In interviews with seven foundations from Canada and the U.S. in the summer and fall of 2020, the authors applied the lens of organizational learning to how each of these foundations made sense of their reality, asked different kinds of questions to inform their thinking, and acted in new or different ways as a result.