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Citing & Defining CREE

About Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation (CREE)

Expanding the Bench® (ETB) has worked in partnership with many evaluators, Funders of Evaluation, and evaluation partners to arrive at the current definition of culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE). We are committed to not only diversifying the field of evaluation but making it an equitable one. We encourage you to explore the definition of CREE in-depth, and we urge you to cite ETB if you use the term in your work.

CREE Definition

Culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) 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.

Suggested Citation

Expanding the Bench® Team and Advisory Team (2019). History and Definition of Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation. Change Matrix.

ETB hopes that everyone one day instills CREE into their methodologies and evaluation practices, and the Initiative hopes to further the use and sharing of the term CREE. If you do use the term in your own practices or work, please cite ETB using the language above. ETB’s intent is not to gatekeep language that is deeply rooted in the evaluation community, instead, ETB wants to ensure that folks who contributed to the development of CREE are celebrated and acknowledged appropriately.

When you cite the ETB Team and Advisory Team, you are also highlighting:

Building the Definition of CREE

In 2018, Change Matrix — the organization that manages the ETB Initiative — took on ETB as a project. The ETB Team recognized that the emphasis prior to that was mostly on strategies to increase partnerships with evaluators from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and Funders of Evaluation. ETB, wanting to focus on evaluation practice, launched a literature review to more deeply understand the various ways in which culture, equity, participation, and methods showed up in evaluation practice. After several months of review, 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. The ETB Advisory Team was also integral in creating the definition of CREE. 

The ETB Team offered the term CREE that included elements from a variety of sources (please see some contributing voices below). Since 2019, ETB has promoted CREE as a rigorous practice that is a principled approach rather than a singular methodology. 


ETB was founded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation (Casey) to increase the number of people from historically underrepresented minority groups in the field of research and evaluation. To frame ETB’s principles, Casey relied on the work of and/or consulted with academics, authors, and practitioners including, but not limited to: Aasha Abdill, PhD; Anna Ah Sam, PhD; Arthur (Art) Hernandez, PhD, NCSP, NCC; Ashaki M. Jackson, MFA, PhD; Christina (Tina) Christie; Courtney Brown, PhD; Debra Joy Pérez, PhD; Denise E. Herrera, PhD; Donna M. Mertens, PhD; Geri Lynn Peak, DrPH; Gerri Spilka; Ilana Yamin, LMSW; MPA, Jackie W. Kaye; Jara Dean-Coffey, MPH; Jasmine Haywood, PhD; Jennifer Greene; Ji Won Shon; José A. Muñoz, PhD; Josephine V. Serrata, PhD; Kantahyanee Murray, PhD; Karen E. Kirkhart; Karla Mendez, MPA; Katrina L. Bledsoe, PhD; Keecha Harris, DrPH, RD; Kevin Nadal, PhD; Laverne Morrow Carter, PhD, MPH; Leah C. Neubauer, EdD, MA; Leticia Peguero, MPA; Maurice Samuels, PhD; Mindelyn Anderson, PhD; Natalie Alizaga, PhD, MPH; Paul Elam, PhD; Renée Byng Yancey; Rodney Hopson, PhD; Ruth Enid Zambrana, PhD; Sara Padilla, MPH; Shanell Brumfield; Stafford Hood, PhD; Tamara Bertrand Jones, PhD; Thomas Schwandt; and Veronica Olazabal, MCRS.

ETB would also like to acknowledge that CREE unintentionally shares a name with the Indigenous Cree people. Please read more about this Indigenous nation here.