Remembering Molly

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It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved colleague, friend, and mentor, Molly Hageboeck. As the MERL Director and later Director Emerita at the Institute for Development Impact (I4DI), Molly was not just a part of our team, but an inspiration and driving force for our mission.

An esteemed recipient of USAID’s Excellence in Evaluation Award, Molly was a pioneer in the field of performance monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) for more than 45 years, constantly pushing the boundaries with innovative and impactful approaches to improve the way clients and partners viewed their data and evidence. Her decades of service placed her in influential positions within USAID and as a trusted advisor to myriad public and private sector development actors including USAID, the U.S. Department of Labor, many multilateral donors, the Government of Zambia, and several non-governmental organizations.

Before her time with us at I4DI, Molly had a long and successful tenure with Management Systems International (MSI). There, she provided outstanding contributions to the field of international development and further established her reputation as a leader in monitoring and evaluation.

Molly’s exceptional work set new standards for our field. Her landmark reports, such as the 2013 Meta Evaluation of the Quality and Coverage of USAID Evaluations, and the 2016 Evaluation Utilization at USAID study have been an invaluable resource for practitioners worldwide and are proudly highlighted on USAID’s main evaluation webpage. Her thorough evaluation of trade capacity-building programs led to significant policy updates and the creation of Project Starter, an innovative online MEL training resource.

Her dedication to knowledge-sharing was evident in her influential studies, Learning from Evaluation Syntheses, and Impact Evaluation: Critical Challenges/Promising Solutions. As an expert evaluation trainer, she educated and mentored hundreds of individuals through her Certificate Program in Evaluation, initially established at George Washington University and subsequently taught at Georgetown University. Many of those individuals who learned under Molly went on to become prominent practitioners, leaders, and thinkers in the MEL and development communities themselves.

Today, we mourn the loss of Molly Hageboeck, but also celebrate the remarkable legacy she leaves behind. Her work has shaped the landscape of evaluation and her contributions will continue to inspire us and future generations. Beyond her professional accomplishments, we remember Molly for her warmth, integrity, and commitment to a better world. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know her and learn from her, especially her daughter and granddaughters.

In the coming days, we will share more about how we plan to honor Molly’s life and contributions. Today, we pause to remember a remarkable woman, whose passion, expertise, and kindness made our world a better place. Molly’s spirit will always remain a part of I4DI.