Understanding Terms We Use

Spreading Knowledge of CREE

Expanding the Bench® (ETB) aims to use descriptive language that honors diverse perspectives. While we try to find language that resonates with many, we also seek to push the field to explore the historical use of words, their implications and impacts.

We use language to speak our truths and believe it is important to provide clarity and insight into our words so that we may accomplish a collective understanding. We acknowledge that, along with our society, communities, and culture, language is ever-evolving. As such, this page will be updated periodically as we explore and come to new understanding of language. We encourage you to share your thoughts on the language you hear.


Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.” – NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity


“An anti-racist is a person who makes a conscious choice to act to challenge some aspect of the white supremacy system: including her/his/[their] own white privilege, as well as some form of oppression against people of color.” – Definitions of Racism by Keith Lawrence and Terry Keleher

Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation (CREE)

Culturally responsive and equitable evaluation requires the integration of diversity, inclusion, and equity in all phases of evaluation. CREE incorporates cultural, structural, and contextual factors (e.g. historical, social, economic, racial, ethnic, gender) using a participatory process that shifts power to individuals most impacted. CREE is not just one method of evaluation, it is an approach that should be infused into all evaluation methodologies. CREE advances equity by informing strategy, program improvement, decision-making, policy formation, and change.

CREE Citation

Expanding the Bench® Team and Advisory Team (2019). History and Definition of Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation. Change Matrix. https://expandingthebench.org/cree-definition

Building the definition of CREE — As Change Matrix embarked on this work, the ETB Team considered the meaning and definition of words like “culturally responsive” and “equitable evaluation.” As we reviewed the literature, the following were key concepts that emerged as important to include in the CREE definition: the importance of current and historical cultural contexts; inclusive and participatory evaluation practices; and the use of evaluation to drive change and advance equity. Our Advisory Team informed our ETB definition of CREE.

Culturally Responsive Evaluation

Culture is understood as ‘a cumulative body of learned and shared behavior, values, customs and beliefs common to a particular group or society’ (Frierson, Hood, and Hughes, 2002, p. 63). Responsive ‘fundamentally means to attend substantively and politically to issues of culture and race in evaluation practice’ (Hood, 2001, p. 32). Thus, ‘an evaluation is culturally responsive if it fully takes into account the culture of the program that is being evaluated’ (Frierson, Hood, and Hughes, 2002, p. 63) as well as ‘the needs and cultural parameters of those who are being served relative to the implementation of a program and its outcomes’ (Hood and Hall, 2004, cited in Hood, 2014, p. 114).” [Hood, Hopson, Kirkhart, 2015]

“Evaluators must recognize that different life experiences lead to different views of the world, and that linguistic, historical, and socioeconomic differences can be contributors and/or barriers to understanding. Evaluators should also recognize the continuing reality of white privilege and structural oppression that perpetuate racial inequity in America today and develop evaluation protocols that account for these factors. Finally, evaluators using this lens must recognize that each community has its own history and context, which must be acknowledged and considered when assessing the impact of social investments and developing findings and recommendations.” – Public Policy Associates, 2015


Culture is understood as “a cumulative body of learned and shared behavior, values, customs and beliefs common to a particular group or society.” [Frierson, Hood, Hughes, 2002]


Diversity is the representation of varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, age, education, spirituality, religion, geography, lived experience, thinking, and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals. – Adapted from Ford Foundation

Evaluation Partner

An Evaluation Partner is an individual or organization seeking to partner with an ACE Evaluation Network Member or other evaluator in the ETB community on an evaluation project.


Equity is when everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has the opportunity to thrive. Equity requires acknowledging root causes of inequities, eliminating barriers, elevating community strengths, and relentlessly pursuing justice. – Change Matrix

ETB Funding Partner

An ETB Funding Partner is an individual or entity that is specifically investing financially in ETB.

Evaluation Ecosystem

Ecosystem “considers the roles multiple organizations in our field can play in supporting the entry and advancement of diverse individuals and perspectives within our field.” – Moving from An Evaluator Pipeline to an Evaluation Ecosystem – Where We Are Now; What’s Needed NextLuminare Group, May 2020.

Funder of Evaluation

Funder of Evaluation is an individual or organization seeking to contract with an ACE Evaluation Network Member or other evaluator in the ETB community on an evaluation project.


Inclusion is the act or practice of building a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. Every person’s voice adds value and creates balance in the face of power differences. No one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community. – Adapted from Ford Foundation


Intersectionality is “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.” – Kimberlé Crenshaw

Racially and/or Ethnically Diverse

For the purposes of Expanding the Bench, we are defining racially and/or ethnically diverse as people who identify as Asian, Asian American (including South, Southeast, and East Asian, Filipina/o/x, and Indo Caribbean); Black, Sub-Saharan African, African American, Afro Caribbean, of the African Diaspora; Hispanic, Latinx/a/e/o/@, Afro Latinx/a/e/o/@; Arab, Middle Eastern, Southwest Asian, North African; Native American, American Indian, Alaska Native, indigenous to land that shares geography with the continental United States; Indigenous, First Nations, indigenous to lands other than those that share geography with the continental United States; Native Hawaiian; Pacific Islander; White, Hispanic; Bi-racial or multi-racial.

Recognizing there are many terms that attempt to encompass the myriad of peoples who fall within the above categories, the ETB Team wants to use a term that is inclusive, recognizable, positively framed, and not does not minimize the distinct experiences of populations and people that comprise this group. We also find ourselves needing a term to refer to our population of focus that is still relatively succinct to referring to the groups of people for which ETB intends to serve.

We remain dedicated to advocating for the disaggregation of data, experiences, and truths of these diverse population groups. And while there is strength in numbers, in many situations, this group is made up of many culturally distinct populations (and individuals). In the many situations, it is especially critical to name specific racial and/or ethnic populations to better reflect their unique experiences and circumstances. Our hope for the above term is to create an inclusive community that respects and celebrates the diversity of its members.


Do you have thoughts on any of the words we shared above? Send us a message!

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