DE Week: Wade Fauth and Allison Ahcan on the Mountain of Accountability

Greetings to the aea365 community.  We are with the Blandin Foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota with the mission of strengthening rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area. We are Wade Fauth, Vice President, and Allison Ahcan, Director of Communications.

Since 2007, Blandin Foundation has committed itself to building an organization-wide assessment system that contributes to improved performance and adaptation to a changing world.  In 2013, Blandin Foundation engaged evaluation expert and author Michael Q. Patton to take its assessment work to a new level.  Together we explored how the field of “developmental assessment” might strengthen the work of the foundation, and how all of the various assessments at play might work together.

Rad Resource: A simple graphic has come to be valuable in understanding and describing what is, admittedly, a complex system.  Blandin Foundation’s Mountain of Accountability© summarizes its three levels of accountability, and the interconnections among them.  The journey to the summit (mission fulfillment) begins in the foothills of basic accountability.  From there, the ascent leads up to the middle of the mountain where more complexity and commitment is involved.  The final level leading to the summit, with its holistic and comprehensive panorama, offers no pre-set trail.  This is first-ascent territory, where the conditions along the route and what has been learned along the way combine to inform further learning and guide the way to the summit. This is the territory of Developmental Evaluation.

Fauth 2


Hot Tip:  The Foundation’s entire senior leadership team was involved in developing the Mountain of Accountability through a developmental evaluation reflective practice process. So, the entire leadership team understands, feels ownership of, and uses the Mountain of Accountability. 

Hot Tip:The Foundation’s Trustees have devoted time to reflective practice framed by the Mountain of Accountability.

Cool Trick:On our website where the Mountain of Accountability is posted and explained, we invite comments.  We would be interested in your reactions and any uses you make of the graphic. Please click here to add your comments.

Rad Resource:  We invite you to use the Mountain of Accountability and let us know how you use it.  It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This week, we’re diving into issues of Developmental Evaluation (DE) with contributions from DE practitioners and authors. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

4 thoughts on “DE Week: Wade Fauth and Allison Ahcan on the Mountain of Accountability”

  1. Pingback: Canadian Evaluation Society 2016 conference recap | Dr. Beth Snow

  2. Christina Poulin

    As a relative newbie to evaluation, this graphic and accompanying information is highly useful for seeing the evaluation projects I support with a new set of eyes. I plan on bookmarking this resource for future reference. Thanks, Blandin Foundation!

  3. This should be required reading for all grad students (and seasoned evaluators too!).

    Thank you thank you thank you to the Blandin Foundation and Michael Quinn Patton for sharing this resource with the broader evaluation community.

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