Request for Proposals | Strategic Framework Consultant

Request for Proposals | Strategic Framework Consultant

Update: Proposal cost details have been updated. See Below.

The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative (BWFC) seeks a consultant to assist in revising our:

  1. goals, objectives, and strategies, and
  2. oversight and operational structure.

Over the past year, we began a collective journey to educate ourselves and each other about racial equity in the Collaborative’s grantmaking and functions. We are now ready to begin the Strategic Framework process and intend for this work will be aligned with our newly revised vision, mission and values:

VISION: We envision the Baltimore region as a place of equity and shared prosperity, where all communities and workers can access employment that brings dignity and enables families to thrive and build wealth.

MISSION: The BWFC is a collective committed to advancing equity, job quality and systems change efforts that lead to family-sustaining wages, strengthened communities and a vibrant local economy.


  • Racial Equity, Justice, and Inclusion: The systematic fair treatment of all people through transformative and reparative action as the foundation of our work, resulting in prosperity for Black, Indigenous and People of Color who have been excluded from the benefits of the American economy.
  • Harnessing the Power of the Collective: The amplified and increased impact that occurs when we bring our ideas, expertise, and resources together as a group.
  • Continuous Learning: The importance of an ongoing journey as a collective includes personal, professional, and organizational growth for Collaborative members, learning from grantees, policy makers, community, and individuals with lived experience.
  • Courage to Take Risks: The responsibility to show up as a leader in support of unemployed and underemployed residents and the willingness to support early innovation in the field.
  • Trust: The commitment to being honest with each other, stakeholders, partners, and grantees; and to strive to achieve transparency and integrity in our decision making and grantmaking.

The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative is a group of private and public funders which began in 2006 to support the alignment and pooling of resources around common workforce development goals and strategies. The Collaborative is hosted by the Maryland Philanthropy Network, a statewide philanthropic membership association representing more than 130 organizations that together steward more than $9 billion in charitable assets. Over time, the BWFC has grown from a group of 4 partners and now involves 18 philanthropic and governmental organizations. Together, BWFC members align more than $17Million in annual grants to support workforce development in the Baltimore region.

As a signed partner to the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Collaborative has committed to supporting the strategic priorities of the National Fund network and receives the benefits of pertaining to a peer network of funder collaboratives, has access to the National Fund’s resources, and is eligible to apply for and receive funding through the National Fund.

The National Fund defines a regional funder collaborative “as an organization that brings together local funders around a shared strategic vision for workforce development in a particular region. A regional funder collaborative pools and aligns resources from philanthropic, corporate, public, and other funders in an investment strategy to carry out its vision.” Please see more on this topic here: Characteristics of a High Performing Regional Funder Collaborative.

In 2021, the BWFC has a budget of approximately $800,000. It is staffed by one full-time Director and a part-time Program and Research Associate. Currently, approximately 1/3 of members make direct financial contributions to support the Collaborative’s operations and/or pool resources to operate distinct projects (such as a Wage Record Study of training participant outcomes.) The Collaborative also operates as an intermediary for strategic projects led by Collaborative staff in conjunction with sub-contracted partner organizations. Since its creation, the BWFC has brought in more than $4Million in national grant funds for these initiatives.


In alignment with our vision, mission and values, the consultant will work with the BWFC members and staff to conduct a process that ultimately seeks to address the following underlying questions. We expect this process to be conducted through consensus building and appreciative inquiry.

Moving forward:

  1. What is the BWFC’s shared perspective on structural racism and its impact on the Baltimore economy? Should the Collaborative frame our work and operations through an “anti-racism, anti-oppression” lens? What is the collaborative’s role in driving greater workforce equity in the region?
  2. What is the primary role of the BWFC within the greater workforce ecosystem of the Baltimore region?
  3. What are the BWFC’s strategic priorities, goals and activities in fulfilling our agreed-upon role and achieving real impact with respect to our vision and mission?
  4. How is the BWFC structured with respect to our membership criteria and governance, and what is the role of members in funding and carrying out the strategic priorities, goals and activities of the BWFC?

The consultant will lead a process that results in an agreed upon set of strategic priorities and goals for the next three years. This process will produce a common understanding of:

  • how these strategic priorities and goals advance the Collaborative’s vision, mission and values.
  • what projects are currently underway and the extent to which they are in line with our vision, mission, values, strategies and goals.
  • a plan forward with respect to existing and new work and commitments.
  • whether the Collaborative operates with a “collective impact” approach to our strategies.
  • the analysis through which our racial equity work will be framed. (Do we agree to adopt an “anti-racism, anti-oppression” lens or another approach?)
  • the range of other “tables” for workforce development in our region and the Collaborative’s role within the larger workforce development/economic development ecosystem.

The consultant will help the BWFC to review, refine and/or re-envision our oversight and operational structure regarding the following 5 key areas. This work will be aligned and integrated with our vision, mission and values and will be developed in tandem with goals, objectives and strategies.

    • Eligibility
    • Fiduciary Obligations of Members
    • Onboarding and Support
  2. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND ROLES (mechanisms to carry out strategic objectives)
    • Full Collaborative table
    • Staffing/Role of Director
    • Standing Committees
    • Project Based Task Force/Subcommittees
    • Decision Making Protocols:
      • Strategies and Objectives
      • Advocacy/Policy
      • Evaluation and Outcomes
    • External Advisory Partners:
      • Employer Engagement
      • Worker Voice
      • Grantees / Workforce Practitioners
    • Develop Operating Financials Process and Approval
    • Revenue
    • Internal
    • External
  5. FISCAL HOME. Relationship to MPN as host organization
  • Work with BWFC staff to gather information needed to create a strategic planning process project plan and timeline.
  • Coordinate with Strategic Planning Committee comprised of BWFC members and staff to refine scope of work, process and timeline.
  • Facilitate live virtual sessions with BWFC members and staff.
  • Hold monthly meetings with Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Lead stakeholder engagement in the process including:
    • Conduct interviews with individual funders and key stakeholders to get feedback on role of the collaborative, its strengths and challenges, and input on strategic planning process
    • Broad engagement from additional stakeholders using virtual tools or surveys
  • Synthesize and Assemble the Strategic Framework through iterations and in its final form working closely with the Collaborative members, staff, and stakeholder input.

Final Strategic Framework that, at minimum, includes:

  • Three-year strategic plan
  • Operational and management structure

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Expertise in applying a racial equity framework to strategic planning
  • Experience working with collaboratives – where members represent various other organizations
  • Knowledge of workforce development organizations including, but not limited to, other Workforce Intermediaries, Workforce Investment Boards (WDCs), Community and Technical Colleges, and/or Community-Based Organizations
  • Experience in facilitating strategic planning meetings and completing strategic planning documents.
  • Experience with nonprofit strategic planning, including working with boards of directors and staff and external stakeholders to the organization.
  • Ability to complete process within 6 months of engagement.

Timeline: 6 months
Please include the following application materials as one file:

  1. Business name(s) (if applicable) and contact information
  2. Names and resumes for all individuals who will be completing the work
  3. Three references including name, title, contact information as well as a brief statement (1-2 sentences) of the relevant work performed for that reference, including time frame of the work. The BWFC will contact these references to discuss their experience with a strategic planning process. Ideally, one of these references will be able to speak to how the plan turned out with implementation.
  4. Please include a maximum of 1-3 samples of your previous work (or website that includes examples of your work) that demonstrates your ability to successfully execute the work described in this call for applications.
  5. Cost proposal (We expect a budget in the range of $20,000 - $30,000 although we will accept and review other cost proposals.)
  6. Narrative Proposal. Maximum five pages.
    • Provide a brief background of your organization/business
    • Describe your qualifications and experience completing similar projects related to the preferred and required qualifications (above).
    • Describe the process/approach you would use to complete this project successfully
Please submit applications: