ETB Blogs

Fostering Collaboration and Innovation in Culturally Responsive Evaluation

From initial discussions to joint presentations, this journey has been a dynamic exploration of co-creation and evolving ideas. What began as conversations with Stephanie Teleki, PhD, and Gina Martinez, PhD, of the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) in 2021 has blossomed into a meaningful partnership in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE), leading us to present at the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) 2024 National Conference. Marked by trust-building, reflection, and a shared dedication to advancing equitable evaluation practices, this journey embodies our commitment to fostering collaboration.

Building off the partnership with CHCF, this initial conversation with Stephanie and Gina initiated a year-long planning process, fostering dialogue tailored to an audience deeply immersed in equity-related work. Through self-reflection, creativity, and flexibility, a space was cultivated for open conversations on content, flow, and presentation topics. These discussions refined the approach and deepened mutual understanding and trust, bringing us closer to a shared vision for this partnership.

Joint efforts led to presentations at GEO’s 2023 and upcoming 2024 conferences. At GEO’s 2023 learning conference, a practical approach to CREE was shared, laying the groundwork for an interactive session at the 2024 conference. Titled Destination Evaluation: A Choose Your Own Adventure Exploration to Learning, this session represents an evolution of our work—an engaging journey inviting participants to actively engage with meaningful evaluation approaches. Inspired by the work of Expanding the Bench® (ETB), the session aims to provide practical guidance and foster dialogue within a supportive space that goes beyond the two-hour session. Felisa Gonzales, Senior Learning and Evaluation Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation, will join us to present the Eval Matrix tool—an invaluable resource for understanding seven evaluation approaches and philosophies that address issues of equity and prioritize meaningful partnerships between evaluators and communities.

This journey underscores the importance of expanding (pun intended) the ETB community and challenging traditional learning paradigms. As we explore innovative approaches, we invite others to join in embracing new learning methods. We invite those who will be in attendance at the GEO’s conference in Los Angeles to join us on Wednesday, May 22nd, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Elizabeth Waetzig and I will also be at the Grant Makers in Health Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy in Portland, where we hope to make new connections and further strengthen our relationships with those of you who will be in attendance.

~ Angel Villalobos, ETB Co-Director