The evidence is now clear. When it comes to improving the wellbeing of people and communities, place matters.  That is why foundations, nonprofits, and their public and private partners have worked together on hundreds place-based initiatives across the country in recent years.

This work has had successes and challenges, and it is highly dynamic. Many partners involved in these efforts are increasingly asking: How we can advance our work on this front—and how can we use tools of evaluation and learning to improve place-based initiatives?

The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation will take a deep dive into these questions. Unlike conventional conferences, which often keep attendees watching from a distance, this two-day event will invite everyone to contribute their knowledge and ask questions about evaluating place-based community change efforts.

Goals of the Convening

Join us to learn about evaluating the complex, multi-level, cross-system place-based approaches from peers working in communities across the country. This convening is specifically developed for funders, evaluators, and community representatives actively involved in place-based work. Through targeted conversations we will:

  1. Share effective, innovative learning practices for dynamic, complex environments
  2. Identify appropriate questions and metrics at different developmental stages of place-based initiatives
  3. Explore evaluation’s role in the power dynamics of place

“The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation”  builds on two prior events hosted by the Aspen Institute (“Towards a Better Place”) and the University of Southern California (“Prioritizing Place”) to provide a deeper, targeted discussion about how to use evaluation to improve understanding of place to accelerate change.

The results of this convening will be curated into a central portal, designed to extend the lessons learned from GEO’s Place-Based Evaluation Community of Practice. This convening, and its resulting Community of Practice, will ensure an ongoing dialogue for continued learning on place-based evaluation’s role in affecting positive change.

Who Should Attend

We encourage participants to attend as “triads” – funder, evaluator, community leader (nonprofit/resident) – each bringing a different, valuable perspective to how evaluation can support positive change in a place. However, individual funders, evaluators or community leaders are welcome to attend.

Unsure how you fit? To guide who should attend, the convening Advisory Committee developed the following definitions:

  •  Funder: foundation staff who work closely with evaluation consultants and the community to identify appropriate methods, uses, and results. They should be able to talk specifically about challenges and successes of the initiative’s implementation.
  •  Evaluator: external or internal staff who have a hands-on role with design and evaluation and works closely with the funder and/or community.
  • Community Leader: a resident or organizational representative from the community who is involved in the effort’s evaluation. They should be able to talk about the community’s perspective of evaluation and how it’s used.

Learn More and Register: Visit the convening website