Published December 6, 2021
This year, St. David’s Foundation launched its first-ever grant opportunity focused on supporting nonprofit organizations as they work to make their own evaluation practices more equitable. In doing so, we aimed to begin building a learning community that brings together evaluators and practitioners to explore what equitable evaluation looks like in practice.
When we think about the foundation’s overarching goal of advancing health equity, we recognize the role race plays in health inequities and the Data for Equity initiative focuses on advancing racial equity specifically by supporting nonprofit organizations working to improve the social determinants of health in Central Texas in testing evaluation practices designed to advance racial equity.
Our hope is that this effort leads to a shift in evaluation practices that leads to improved program and organizational outcome. We know that shifts in practice follow shifts in thinking and increasing the sector’s understanding of evaluation practices that center equity is a key outcome we hope to see from the learning collaborative projects selected for funding.
As St. David’s Foundation moves forward on our own equity journey, one thing we have learned is that equitable evaluation is not a single method or checklist of practice, but rather a new orientation to the work.
One resource that was developed collaboratively by innovators in philanthropy, is the Equitable Evaluation Framework, which offers 3 grounding principles for equitable evaluation.
It starts with recognizing the role evaluation can and should play as a tool to advance equity.
It focuses on including community members in the design of the evaluation, data collection, analysis, and interpretation of findings. This is a key shift for the field of evaluation and stems from the recognition that lived experience is a key starting point for developing effective solutions and community member voices are essential.
Finally, equitable evaluation seeks to answer questions about the conditions impacting individuals and communities. This means naming key assumptions and systemic inequities as a core part of evaluation.
With that in mind, we are pleased to present to you the ten projects selected for funding through St. David’s Foundation’s Data for Equity funding opportunity. We received 37 applications totaling a request of $869,632. The review committee, composed of foundation staff and external community reviewers, brought a wealth of experience in social justice and health equity to the selection process. In addition to funding these organizations’ projects, we will work with grantees to come together for learning opportunities at least 4 times over the first year to share lessons learned and support collective learning.
We are excited to partner with a stellar group of community partners in our work to build and develop more equitable evaluation practices.