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Request for Proposals Consultant on Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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Philanthropy Massachusetts is seeking a consultant to help us prioritize and advance our race, equity, diversity and inclusion goals and strategies for our organization and our philanthropic members in Massachusetts. 


Philanthropy Massachusetts believes that systemic and structural racism is one of the biggest challenges facing our society today. Philanthropy, in its very existence, has played a role in contributing to this centuries-old challenge.   There are few areas as critical now and moving forward than leading on advancing equity (racial and other forms) at all levels. Although we have seen progress in the philanthropic sector in recent years, there is more to be done. Philanthropy MA, as a membership organization with a strategic goal to lead, has an opportunity and responsibility to address these inequities. We believe funders in Massachusetts can change their own systems, policies, practices and structures that contribute to inequity. These include how and where they invest their dollars through financial investment and grantmaking; through their operating practices (hiring, vendor engagements, governance), and in their grantmaking practices.

Scope of Work

The consultant will provide guidance to the staff and board of Philanthropy Massachusetts to prioritize and advance our work on race, equity, diversity and inclusion. The scope of work should include but may not be limited to:

1.   Refining our hypothesis.
2.   Helping us develop short- and long-term goals and pathways to achieve these goals.
3.   Working with us to craft and tell the story and that of our sector of our priorities and work on race, equity, diversity and inclusion. This may include distilling stories from the philanthropic networks under our management and from our work, and identifying patterns and themes to elevate.
4.   Shaping “meta conversations” for the Massachusetts philanthropic sector as a whole, including looking at and talking about systemic and structural racism in the U.S. and philanthropy’s role in this and identifying questions to which we as a sector should be paying attention.

About Philanthropy Massachusetts and our REDI work to date

Philanthropy Massachusetts is a 51-year old nonprofit professional membership association of foundations (philanthropic organizations including private, public and corporate foundations, corporate giving programs, bank trusts, and donors) with grant making interests and nonprofit organizations providing services in Massachusetts and surrounding areas. Philanthropy MA connects its constituents to each other, to their communities and to emerging and relevant issues in the field by holding convenings, workshops and events. We serve as a bridge between funders and fund applicants for better understanding, efficiency, and impact. Philanthropy MA is an influential voice for effective philanthropy through its leadership and access to knowledge and cooperative action that enables our grantmaking Members and nonprofit Partners to create valuable relationships and to collectively shape the future of a healthy region. Philanthropy MA is led by a staff of 10 and a board of directors comprised of 51% people of color.

Philanthropy Massachusetts has history in working on race, diversity, equity and inclusion over the years. Our work has included: the creation of The Diversity Fellows, an initiative for mid- career professionals who transitioned into philanthropy (2007-2010); participation in the D5

Coalition, a national coalition of funders and other PSOs advancing REDI in the field (including representation by CEO Jeff Poulos on the national advisory committee); a former Diversity Advisory Committee of board members and members from the field, and a current Race Equity Diversity and Inclusion Working Group of board and staff; Programming including trainings, workshops, networking, and convenings advancing REDI practices and leadership; and convening the Grantmakers of Color network, an identity-focused peer network of 100+ colleagues in philanthropy. In 2020, the Board elevated REDI as a priority and with the global pandemic of COVID19 revealing disparities among who were affected at higher rates and a reckoning in the U.S. on racial equity and racial justice following the murder of George Floyd, Philanthropy MA increased its programming and leadership on REDI.


Please provide a written proposal no later than Friday, July 9, 2021 detailing how you or your firm would approach the proposed scope of work, a recommended timeline, and proposed detailed budget. Include in your proposal an overview of the qualifications of the consultant or team and examples of similar engagements.

For Questions, Contact:

Alex McCray, Senior Director of Programs
Philanthropy Massachusetts
133 Federal Street, Suite 802
Boston, MA 02110
amccray@PhilanthropyMA.org www.philanthropyma.org

Historical Overview – Programs and Activities
May 2021

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Philanthropy Massachusetts

Philanthropy Massachusetts has history in working on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion over the years. Here is an overview of the recent history, dating back more than 13 years. Though this history highlights work within and across Funder Communities, we continue to advance this work across all strands of our business, which includes both funder and the nonprofit communities.

-     The Diversity Fellows program, started in 2007, featured three cohorts of early- to mid- career professionals who transitioned into philanthropy through a fellowship which included placement at a foundation and a 10-month learning collaborative. In 2010, the Diversity Fellows program moved to Proteus Fund, where it remained until sunsetting in 2015.

-     D5 Coalition: Philanthropy Massachusetts was one of a handful of regional associations of grantmakers that worked with a coalition of funders and other PSOs to advance DEI in the field. Jeff Poulos joined the national advisory committee in 2011. The work focused on developing definitions; researching and highlighting programs and practices for field; spotlighting population-focused funds; diversifying leadership in the field; data collection; building awareness and spurring action; and producing an annual state of the work

-     Diversity Advisory Committee: in 2012-13, a committee of the board and members built on D5 Coalition’s work to advance work in our region

-     Programming & Networks: Philanthropy Massachusetts continued to offer trainings, workshops, networking, and convenings advancing DEI practices and leadership through its Grantmakers of Color network and others such as Social Justice Funders Network, EPIP and other affinity group partnerships on programming.

-     In 2020, the Board elevated DEI as a priority and with the global pandemic of COVID19 revealing disparities among who were affected at higher rates and a reckoning in the U.S. on racial equity and racial justice following the murder of George Floyd, Philanthropy MA increased its programming and leadership on REDI.

Specific Activities 2007 to present

Philanthropy MA Staff/Board Activity in 2020 & 2021

-       In 2021, Board centered REDI priorities and goals at its meetings, established an REDI working group of board and staff, and developed an RFP to engage consultant to advance sector-focused work on REDI.

-       MA Board elects new slate of board members, September 2020, with composition of board comprised of 51% people of color

-       Philanthropy MA Board Conversation on Racial Inequity, Power & Wealth Disparities, and Philanthropy’s Role and Responsibilities, June 2020

-     Jeff Poulos issues Call to Action, June 3, 2020, on racial equity: https://philanthropyma.org/in-philanthropy/racial-inequity-and-call-action- philanthropic-sector-massachusetts

-     Jeff Poulos signs Joint PSO Statement on Keeping Equity Forefront of COVID Response, March 23, 2020:  https://www.unitedphilforum.org/news/joint-pso-statement-keep- equity-forefront-philanthropy-s-response-coronavirus

-     In March 2020, Philanthropy MA had an independent contractor develop an internal tool kit on REDI which included an organizational assessment of policies and practices to be reviewed and lifted up key questions to address. Beyond the rationale and values; other issues were identified to address including: Language, Hiring Practices, Personnel Policies, Vendor Diversity Policy, Investment Policy and Programming Considerations

-     Kate Carney Larissa and Josie Greene blog posts, at Philanthropy MA, Feb 2020

-     Jeff Poulos blog post Philanthropy MA’s Road Toward Equity, Feb 2020, https://philanthropyma.org/in-philanthropy/philanthropy-massachusetts%E2%80%99- road-towards-equity

-     In February 2020, the board and staff held a half-day retreat followed by a half-day staff working session facilitated by trainer Angela Park. Discussions centered on identity, language, rationale, and workplan. This set context as to why this work is important, and how we advance the work – two key questions were explored – 1) What is the rationale for Philanthropy Massachusetts making equity a priority? and 2) Why is equity essential for achieving mission?

2020 and 2021 Programming (broad Funder audience)

•      Power & Equity Series (launched Fall 2020)

o  Building an Inclusive Investment Portfolio, March 2021
o  Trust, Power and Action: The Deep Work of Trust-Based Philanthropy, March 2021
o  Investing in spatial justice: supporting vibrant, resilient, and equitable places, February 2021
o  Participation Power - Giving Nonprofits & Communities the Lead with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), November 2020
o  Adopting & Practicing a Trust-Based Approach with Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, October 2020
o  "We Must be in It for the Long Haul": Black Foundation Executives Request Action by Philanthropy on Anti-Black Racism, featuring Susan Batten from ABFE, September 2020

•    Moving Towards Social Justice Philanthropy: One Family Foundation's Journey, Challenges and Lessons, in partnership with Social Innovation Forum, June 2020
•    Equity & Equitable Focused Evaluation, Feb 2020

Funder Networks

In 2020 and 2021 Philanthropy MA Networks increased their focus around learning and acting in support of racial equity and justice, and antiracist grantmaking. The below list includes both programmatic work and process/network development efforts in the 2020 – 2021 period. The list includes programs with a specific REDI focus, but all have committed to a using a racial equity in their work together.

1.   Behavioral Health Funders’ Network

a.   Created a vision statement for the group which centers healthy equity, access, and drawing on community expertise and perspective
b.   Formed a REDI working group
c.   Began providing stipends to all non-funders who present and share expertise with the Network
d.   4 Network meetings w/ REDI focus, both with external guests and peer learning

2.   MA Arts Funders’ Network

a.   Formed a REDI working group
b.   Co-created “Guiding Principles and Norms for the Network”. These Principles will orient Network’s collaboration and as a steady reminder of how their work in the arts and culture sector in service of a just and racially equitable future. Above and beyond these Principles, the Network seeks to address the lack of diversity in the Network in order to ensure the work isn’t white focused or that white fragility isn't setting the pace for conversations and learning.
c.   Co-created a glossary of key language and concepts
d.   MA Arts Funders: building on Racial Equity in the Arts training March 2020; Fall 2020 session focused on “What do we mean by racial equity?”
e.   2 REDI focused, peer-led Network meetings

3.   Family Foundation CEO Roundtable,

a.   Peer learning session featured three foundations at different stages of their journey on diversity, racial equity and inclusion

4.   CFO Roundtable

a.   Working group focused on REDI
b.   REDI work plan in place
c.   3 REDI focused Network meetings

5. Mid to Senior Level Program Staff Learning Network

a. After a Philanthropy MA program on Trust Based Philanthropy, Network organized an informal meet up to follow-up the conversation and seek ways to put principles into practice.
b. The “Applied Finance” 3-part workshop centered on race, equity and power
c. Meeting on philanthropic approaches to racial justice and racial equity

6. Western MA Funders' Network

a. Purpose statement
b. REDI working group in place
c. REDI work plan in place
d. 3 REDI focused meetings

7.   Other Networks

a.   Essex County: 1 session on REDI
b.   Lowell: racial equity in lens in their annual programs
c.   Grantmakers of Color focused conversation on gaps internally on advancing racial justice and equity, August 2020


Pre-2020 Activities

-     Grantmakers of Color partnership with Social Justice Funders Network and Affinity Groups “Network Members and Allies Social Gathering”, June 2019

-     Grantmakers of Color roundtable/lunch, spring 2019

-     Philanthropic Leadership on Justice and Equity in Grantee Engagement and Internal Practice, led by Angela Park, May 2019 (with the Island Foundation)

-     Deepening Learning In Diversity and Inclusion, The Island Foundation – led by Angela Park, with support from Philanthropy Massachusetts, November 2018

-     Grantmakers of Color brownbag lunch, August 2018

-     Putting Racism on the Table, Tamara Copeland, President, WRAG, December 2017

-     Catalyzing Change Within Our Internal Organizations and Into Communities We Serve: featuring Ben Francisco (Funders for LGBTQ) and Nakisha Lewis (MS Foundation), December 2016

-     Developing and Retaining Diverse Leadership: Rahsaan Hall, Trustee, The Hyams Foundation; Bithiah Carter, President, New England Blacks in Philanthropy; Stephen Chan, Chief of Staff, The Boston Foundation; Nora Moreno Cargie, President, Tufts Health Plan Foundation; February 2016

-     Advancing a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Agenda in MA, Kelly Brown, D5 Coalition; November 2014

-     Achieving Career Success: Seeking Out Mentors and Professional Development: Carol Goss, former Executive Director of Skillman Foundation, March 2014

-     Implicit Bias: The Science of Wringing Out Racial Bias, and Emerging Leader Salon/Reception, with Proteus Fund, EPIP and Harvard Law School, November 2013

-     Working in Concert and State of leadership and support in the GOC Community; Karla Nicholson, Haymarket People’s Fund, June 2013

-     AGM Diversity Committee convening, “Building a Regional Road Map for D & I: The Michigan Model”, November 2012, facilitated by Vicki Rosenberg, Council of Michigan Foundations

-     Leadership in the Sector: Robert Lewis, VP, The Boston Foundation, November 2011

-     Intersectionality of LGBTQ and Communities of Color, October 2010

-     Susan Batten, President of ABFE, October 2009

-     Diversity Fellows Program, started in 2007 and run for 3 cohorts (2007-2010) while at Philanthropy Massachusetts before moving to Proteus Fund in 2010. The program sunset in 2015.

133 Federal Street, Suite 802 | Boston, MA 02110
Phone: 617.426.2606
© 2019 Philanthropy Massachusetts