Center for Evaluation Innovation Receives Historic Grant from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

Grant underscores importance of CEI’s mission to increase racial equity within the historically white-led field of philanthropy

Washington, DC (June 15, 2021)Today, Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI) announced they are the recipients of a historic contribution from novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The grant, a part of Scott’s $2.7 billion investment in equity-oriented organizations, will help CEI guide the philanthropic sector to use its power to create a just, multiracial democracy through strategic learning and evaluation.

“CEI is honored to receive this historic grant. We are proud to be recognized for our hard work and dedication to the mission of increasing racial equity in philanthropy,” said Julia Coffman, co-executive director of CEI. “It is gratifying to be honored with this gift by the most innovative and groundbreaking funder in the philanthropic world at the moment. MacKenzie Scott radically altered the world of philanthropy last year, and it is thrilling to see such a bold continuation of her efforts.” 

In response to the racial justice reckoning inspired by George Floyd’s murder, foundations, nonprofits and funders have been asking how they can deepen their commitments to racial equity. However, as a historically white-led field, the philanthropic sector’s attempts to become more equitable will continue to be undermined until the sector addresses its own systemic inequities. To effectively model the anti-racist ideals the sector hopes to see in the world, CEI is working with philanthropy to shift systems and practices that perpetuate racial injustice. This moment marks a radical opportunity for new possibilities in philanthropy and for CEI’s role in supporting it.

“Philanthropy can do the most good when it is aware and intentional about how power and influence are distributed and who wields it,” said Chera Reid, co-executive director of CEI. “Through this gift, MacKenzie Scott — one of philanthropy’s most influential funders — is acknowledging the systemic racism embedded in the philanthropic sector and taking concrete action to address it.”

“Under the leadership of Julia and Chera, CEI is emerging as one of the boldest voices in philanthropy on the role that strategy, learning, and evaluation can play in efforts to advance equity and justice,” said Subarna Mathes, Strategy and Evaluation Officer at The Ford Foundation. “This generous grant from MacKenzie Scott acknowledges their longstanding great work, and supports their institutional strengthening and growth. I am excited to see what this grant empowers CEI to accomplish next in the philanthropic sector. ” 

CEI joins an outstanding group of organizations who have received grants from Scott for their leadership on racial equity including NAACP and Black Voters Matter. This year’s recipients include fellow organizations fighting for inclusivity and diversity — Equitable Evaluation Initiative, Race Forward, and many others. 

About Center for Evaluation Innovation

Center for Evaluation Innovation is a nonprofit that partners with philanthropy on strategy, learning, and evaluation efforts that are intended to advance racial equity and justice.