This article presents the challenges and successes of a university-based empowerment evaluation team as they promoted community-based organizational (CBO) self-evaluation skills through a large community capacity building effort funded by a community foundation. Using a reflective inquiry approach, the team's approach to empowerment evaluation is discussed, and the how's, the why's, and the outcomes of the team's efforts are presented. Lessons learned emphasize the significance of training, role clarity, management of power relations, participant readiness, adequate resources, technology, coaching skill, and mutual support through a coaching network and interagency networks. Perhaps most significantly, clear and consistent communication between grantee and grantmaker, mediated by evaluation coaches, promoted evaluations that address internal and external stakeholder needs. The ideology of empowerment guided this project, and participatory research did prevail, but grantee self-direction was harder to enable. Likewise, consumer participation was woefully limited. (Author abstract)
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