Portland-based arts council seeks consultant(s) for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access (EDIA) work

Request for Proposals:

Portland-based arts council seeks consultant(s) for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access (EDIA) work


  • Issuing organization: The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), 411 NW Park Ave., Suite 101, Portland, OR 97209
  • Proposals will be accepted until July 15, 2019 at 5 p.m. PDT
  • This call is also available on our website: racc.org/edia-rfp


  1. General Information

PROJECT OBJECTIVE: RACC seeks to identify a consultant or team of consultants who can collaborate with staff and board to advance RACC’s equity and inclusion work, including:

  • Assessment: Providing methods and tools for assessing the current state of the organization;
  • Setting the Course: Supporting RACC staff and board to establish a clear equity vision and associated strategic goals, both internal and external;
  • HR Support: Applying RACC’s racial equity lens and best practices to RACC’s hiring process;
  • Frameworks & Skill Building: Providing intensive training to staff and board on equity and social justice, including training specifically for supervisors;
  • Facilitation: Facilitating meetings of the staff equity workgroup or comparable committee.

TIMELINE AND TERM: RACC intends to award a single contract as a result of this RFP by July 26. The contract term will extend through June 30, 2020, with options for additional work beyond.

DUE DATE FOR PROPOSALS:  July 15, 2019 at 5 p.m.

QUESTIONS? Contact Madison Cario, Executive Director, ed@racc.org, by July 8.

  1. Background

RACC was established as an independent nonprofit organization in 1995 following the nation’s first regional cultural plan known as Arts Plan 2000. RACC receives funding from a variety of public and private partners to serve artists, arts organizations, schools and residents throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. RACC’s largest funder by far (about $7M/year, including general fund dollars, percent-for-art projects and proceeds from the Arts Education and Access Fund, or arts tax) is the City of Portland, and RACC works to align our equity goals with those of the City’s Office of Equity and Human Rights.

RACC provides grants for artists and nonprofit organizations; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through workplace giving; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists and organizations; and integrates the arts into other curriculum subjects in public schools throughout the region (The Right Brain Initiative).

  • RACC’s Vision: An environment in which arts and culture flourish and prosper.
  • RACC’s Mission: To enrich our communities through arts and culture.
  • Core Values: We value freedom of artistic and cultural expression as a fundamental human right. We value a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences. We value a community in which everyone can participate in arts and culture. We value a community that celebrates and supports its artists, and its arts and cultural organizations. We value arts and culture as key elements in creating desirable places to live, work and visit.

In 2010, RACC began to articulate new goals for equity, diversity and inclusion, and began measuring the demographics of its staff, board, volunteers and grant recipients in order to set new goals for more equitable distribution of its resources. In 2015, the staff and board adopted an Equity Statement:

We believe that the arts have the power to change hearts and minds, and to inspire social change. Prejudice and privilege have created barriers that RACC must dismantle, systematically and strategically, until everyone in our community has equitable access to arts and culture.

We acknowledge that there is no one perfect way to achieve equity, but we are willing to take risks because there is much work to do. We are thoughtfully researching and implementing new methods of thinking within our organizational culture, starting with an in-depth assessment of our services, policies and procedures. We are seeking out and listening to voices that have not been heard, and fully engaging under-represented populations in dialogue that will help us improve.

We are committed to the full scope of this work and will hold ourselves accountable along the way—anything less would prove a disservice to ourselves and the communities we serve. RACC strives to be an organization that values and celebrates everyone’s life experiences, their voices and their histories. By consistently bringing new perspectives to our decision-making table, forming new relationships and alliances, and finding new ways to support creativity, RACC will be a strong, equitable and relevant organization. Throughout this process, we commit to humility, optimism and respect.

The RACC staff and board have participated in a number of trainings and have convened themselves in a variety of committee configurations over the years to move RACC’s equity work forward. There is a strong sense that we would like to organize our work more effectively, go deeper in dismantling the systems of oppression that exist at RACC, and capitalize on our true potential as changemakers for social justice in our community.

There is a desire to be more strategic, cohesive and consistent in our EDIA work at RACC. Past work has included workshops on structural racism and white dominant culture with Scott Winn (2013-2014); cultural competency assessments and implicit bias training with Figure 8 consulting (2015); focus groups with artists from underrepresented communities to identify barriers to access, facilitated by Resolutions Northwest (2016); a board and staff equity committee, led and facilitated by Resolutions Northwest (2016-17); and a self-facilitated Staff Equity Workgroup (SEW, 2017-19). RACC staff created a racial equity lens in 2017 and refined/simplified it in 2019.

In January 2019, Madison Cario was appointed RACC’s new executive director, affirming RACC’s commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and access, adding the “A” to “EDI” to represent both physical accesses for people with disabilities and also underscoring RACC’s fundamental belief that everyone in our community should have access to culture, creativity and the arts.


III. Scope of Work

The consultant or consultant team’s tasks will include:

  • Assess the current state of the organization;
  • Articulate and differentiate the roles and responsibilities of the staff and the board in becoming a more equitable and inclusive organization;
  • Collaborate in revisiting the organization’s Equity Statement and help identify RACC’s EDIA vision, goals and priorities going forward;
  • Support RACC staff and board in establishing a clear equity vision and associated strategic goals;
  • Support Human Resources and leadership staff in analyzing practices, services and policies around hiring and retention, and in communicating issues of race and the advancement of equity.
  • Provide HR staff and leadership with coaching, consulting and training to build capacity to operationalize and promote equity and inclusion efforts;
  • Provide intensive training and connect staff and board to other resources for equity and social justice learning;
  • Facilitate meetings of the staff equity workgroup or comparable committee as appropriate;
  • Develop an onboarding process for new EDIA team members, and recommend changes as needed to RACC’s onboarding process for new staff and board members;
  • Develop an EDIA plan that is integrated with RACC’s org-wide strategic plan and informs RACC’s systems internally, RACC’s programs impacts externally, and RACC’s communications and community engagement strategies;
  • Help identify mechanisms for expanding RACC’s knowledge and for holding the organization accountable for progress, including the possibility of a Community Advisory Board and/or Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board;
  • Provide ongoing EDIA consultation and education to staff and board (including staff and board leadership) through the life of this contract;
  • Other tasks that may emerge as RACC moves through the process.

The consultant will work directly with:

  • RACC’s Executive Director;
  • RACC directors, managers and supervisors;
  • RACC HR staff;
  • RACC’s EDIA team or equivalent (RACC currently convenes a “Staff Equity Workgroup” of 15 staff members on a monthly basis. We anticipate that the consultant will bring recom-mendations about the ideal size and composition of this team to move the work forward.)
  • RACC staff as a whole;
  • RACC’s board leadership and board members;
  • Local government partners and community members as appropriate.
  1. Desired Qualifications

Competitive contractors will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the structure of nonprofit organizations, including volunteer boards of directors, and how to best navigate inherent hierarchies and power structures;
  • An ability to collaborate with staff, board and community members in EDIA implementation;
  • An understanding of how race plays a role in the history of Portland specifically;
  • Experience training groups and coaching individuals;
  • An ability to develop trusting relationships with staff and board in order to operationalize EDIA work;
  • A commitment to transparency and guidance for communicating this critical work publicly;
  • Strong and effective facilitation skills;
  • A history of working with clients to develop strategic organizational EDIA plans.


  1. Timeline
  • Direct all questions regarding this RFP to ed@racc.org by July 8.
  • Due date: Proposals will be accepted through July 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PDT
  • Planning committee awards contract by July 26, 2019
  • Work begins: August, 2019
  • Contract ends: June 30, 2020


  1. Information Required of Respondents

Please include in your proposal:

  • General description of planning activities recommended (no more than four pages);
  • Description and/or samples of the tool(s) you use to assess an organization’s status and competencies around EDIA work;
  • Work plan and timetable;
  • Budget;
  • Professional resumes of all individuals who will be involved in this project;
  • Three references, including contact information and a description of relationship;
  • Relevant work samples, including EDIA plans that you have designed or assisted with designing.


VIII. Proposal Submission

Please address proposals to:

  • Email address: ed@racc.org
  • Subject line: Call for EDIA consultants
  • Deadline: July 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PDT