Deadline date

January 29, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU-VA or ACLU of Virginia) is seeking a consultant(s) to facilitate the work of the Board of Directors on equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB). We are seeking consultants with EDIB experience working directly with boards. The consultant(s) chosen to work with the Board will be working with the affiliate's Executive Director and Chief of Staff, the Board's Equity Officer, and a working group of Board members appointed by the Board President.

Executive Summary

The ACLU of Virginia seeks to hire a highly competent, ethical, and experienced EDIB consultant(s) to conduct an assessment of the Board and its current policies, culture, and practices with regards to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging and initiate and facilitate dialogue about what it means for the ACLU-VA to be an anti-racist organization. The assessment of the Board will identify strengths and weaknesses, recommend appropriate interventions, and inform Board dialogues/training regarding these issues to be facilitated by the consultant(s).  The work completed under this RFP will set the stage for continued progress on the organization’s journey.

ACLU of Virginia Background

For over 50 years, the ACLU-VA has been the Commonwealth’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislature, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution, federal, and state laws for everyone in Virginia. The ACLU-VA has filed more than 300 lawsuits in Virginia over the last 50 years to advance freedom and equality in the Commonwealth. In addition to the ACLU-VA’s robust litigation efforts, we also educate the public, inform the media, lobby legislators, organize grassroots activists, and disseminate information to the community through our membership and volunteers.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the consultant(s) is to assess EDIB among the Board of Directors at the ACLU of Virginia and help guide the Board’s on the journey to becoming leaders of a diverse, equitable, inclusive organization in which everyone feels that they belong.  The consultant(s) will review current policies and practices and make recommendations for engagement and advancement to ensure every individual on the Board experiences the Board as an inclusive organization and that the Board as a whole understands and is committed to leading the ACLU-VA EDIB efforts.  

Key objectives include:

  1. Reviewing the organizational by-laws, strategic direction and planning processes and board recruiting, selection, and succession practices.
  2. Creating and/or administering a Board climate assessment (including board members and staff as appropriate) to provide a foundation for future work and to guide Board dialogues.
  3. Identifying overt and covert biases that may be limiting the Board from functioning as a supportive and inclusive body.
  4. Identifying any barriers to the retention of board members who are people of color or from marginalized groups.
  5. Facilitating dialogues among Board members focused on creating a shared understanding of equity objectives and what it means to be anti-racist and offering the opportunity to address areas of need identified through the climate assessment.
  6. Working with the Board's Equity Officer and Equity Working Group to create a plan to address Board centered equity issues identified through the assessment and to establish goals to measure success in addressing them including identifying learning objectives and desired outcomes that would shape one-time or regular training, and, potentially, design and conduct training, in order to ensure the Board functions in an inclusive and supportive manner.
  7. Establishing standards and a process based on best practices to track implementation of the plan and lessons learned and to evaluate the success of the action plan and recommend needed changes and adjustments.
  8. Institutionalizing an ongoing cycle of “reflect, plan, implement, and evaluate” to test strategies and develop best practices over time.
  9. Providing resources and tools to support ongoing learning, development, and engagement.
  10. Working with the Chief of Staff, the staff EDIB Team, the Board Equity Officer, and the Board Equity Working Group to define a collaborative process for bringing an equity lens to governance and decision-making and coordinating the organization’s EDIB initiatives.

Core competencies

  • Understand the ACLU-Virginia’s mission and purpose, as well as how equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging impact organizational cohesion and efficiency
  • Connect diversity, equity, and inclusion back to work processes and work design
  • Understand diversity, equity, and inclusion in the context of organizational and cultural change
  • Understand systemic issues of discrimination, and apply a broad and expansive definition of diversity
  • Be reliable and professional, communicate clearly, be reasonably available, respond to messages, and honor deadlines and commitments
  • Possess a strong leadership ability and willingness to work with the Executive Director, the Chief of Staff, the Board Equity Officer, and a Board equity working group throughout the process to formulate a plan specific to the ACLU of Virginia.
  • Able to evaluate metrics, climates, data, etc. and make helpful recommendations, both in the short-term and in developing long-term goals and plans
  • Understand key concepts within equal employment opportunity and affirmative action issues

Proposal Contents

Successful proposal will include the following:

  • Clear outline of work and timeline for completion of:
    • Climate assessment and policy analysis
    • Dialogue, resources, sustainability, and action
  • Costs and fees
  • Professional references from clients regarding work with boards of directors
  • Examples of a successful project or client work with boards of directors
  • Dialogue proposal and facilitation strategy
  • How you heard about this opportunity

Please note that the ACLU of Virginia reserves the right to choose one or more consultants to complete the work included in this request for proposals (RFP). Vendors not willing to accept award of partial bid must so indicate as part of their proposal. Partial bids from vendors will be accepted.

Process Schedule

Schedule for Evaluation Process

RFP released publicly

December 21, 2020

Vendor question and answer period

December 21, 2020 to January 29, 2021

Deadline to assure full consideration for proposals

January 29, 2021

Submission Information

To ensure full consideration, proposals should be submitted via email no later than midnight on January 15, 2020 to:

Questions about this request for proposals should be sent to Cynthia Moore or:

Please see the full RFP below for details on scope of work and deliverables.