Due: MAY 26, 2022 at 8pm EST
In April 2022, the Wallace Foundation launched its new arts initiative with a cohort of 18 arts organizations of color.1 The arts organizations are diverse in terms of geography, artistic genre, communities served, and project focus. All the organizations are spending the next twelve months planning the projects they would implement in the following four years, centered around the guiding question of this initiative:
|Facing strategic challenges, how can and do arts organizations of color leverage their community-orientation2 to increase their resilience, while sustaining their relevance?|
In addition to five years of funding, the Wallace Foundation will provide:
- individualized support capturing their project’s theory of action;
- peer learning opportunities with the cohort; and
- financial management coaching.
Throughout, lessons related to the initiative’s guiding question will be captured through two research projects – qualitative ethnographic research and a transformational action research study – designed to capture and share insights to benefit the field at-large.
The purpose of this RFQ is to identify a financial management consultancy to provide universal support for the grantee cohort. Contracted work would begin in summer 2022 to last through the end of March 2023. The contract is expected to be up to $200,000. The contract may be extended based on evolving grantee needs (up to five years total).
What we seek
We are looking for a partner to provide financial planning coaching and advice to:
- Support each grantee organization’s aspirations; and
- Engender shared language and common understanding towards cohort learning.
Therefore, we seek a partner who will work with grantees on a one-on-one basis as well as facilitate learning across the cohort.
While the specifics of each organizations’ projects are unique, there are some common elements that we believe create shared opportunities for learning and support that are tied to financial management. Generally, the cohort has expressed interest in:
- Seeking new (or expanding) business models;
- Diversifying revenue streams and/or new fundraising strategies;
- Financial planning for real estate acquisitions (placekeeping); and
- Right-sizing staff and other investments in organizational infrastructure
In addition, the following is a preliminary list of areas we’re interested in exploring and potentially providing support to the cohort related to financial management:
- How to tell an organization’s story and all its capital, beyond the dollars;
- Financial management and planning for sustainability, especially to mitigate negative impacts from the inevitable cessation of Wallace funding at the initiative’s conclusion;
- Complementing the initiative’s research effort, e.g., understanding financial resilience and/or baselining financial health of our grantees
To be as responsive as possible to cohort needs, the list will be refined and/or adjusted as relationships develop and the work begins.
This contract would begin in late spring/early summer 2022 to begin work immediately with Wallace and our grantee partners during their planning grant year. We are planning a cohort-wide gathering in New York on July 27-28, 2022, which could be an opportunity to meet the cohort in person, and possibly introduce financial management TA.
This Wallace Foundation initiative requires many partners to collaboratively work together towards uplifting grantee work and generating lessons to be shared with the broader field.
We engaged a research team from Arizona State University and University of Virginia, who will work with grantees to refine the research questions and develop the research approach in exploring the initiative’s guiding question. We expect opportunities to explore the guiding question from a financial perspective to emerge. This may lead to collaborations between the research team and the financial management coaching team.
We will also engage a learning system design team to create learning opportunities that support the grantees’ programmatic work and the exploration of topics that will enrich the research efforts. We expect the financial management coaching team to work collaboratively with the design team to incorporate financial management topics into the overarching learning design.
Given the various partners involved and the relationship between the issues grantees are grappling with with insights we hope to capture in the research, we expect that the financial management coach will coordinate and collaborate with Wallace and all the initiative partners.
Request for Qualifications
Please provide a narrative response to the following questions, with a five-page limit in total. You may also submit additional attachments, and respond in bullet points and/or charts.
- Please describe your experience and approach to working with…
- Organizations that are founded by, for, and with the BIPOC community -- including organizations that have been chronically underfunded or undervalued by traditional philanthropy or whose [non-financial] assets are overlooked on balance sheets
- Arts and culture organizations, especially if they are community-centered
- Nonprofits with annual operating expenses between $500,000 and $3,000,000 (and how they differ from greater or smaller organizations)
- How are values of diversity, equity and inclusion reflected in your practice and the team that will provide the financial management coaching?
- What is your approach to cohort-based learning? We’d like to hear how you would encourage collaboration among the cohort and engage the participants in co-designing the learning experience.
- How do you build trust and a sense of a community among learners?
- How do you balance meeting cohort-wide needs with the needs of individual grantees?
- What is your experience working with a research partner and/or publishing lessons from your client work?
- What opportunities can you envision for supporting learning around the relationship between relevance and resilience and collaborating with our initiative research partners to capture lessons for the field?
- Please tell us about your team:
- Who would potentially be involved in this project for Wallace, and in what capacity?
- If not on staff, please also tell us who you have partnered with that you might bring in to complement grantee questions in fundraising, seeking new revenue streams, accessing real estate markets, etc.
- Friday, April 29: RFQ released
Thursday, May 26, 8pm EST: Responses due via email to
- Tuesday, June 7: Finalists invited for an interview
- Thursday, June 23: Financial management coach selected
- Beginning of July: Ideal start of contract
Frequently Asked Questions (as of 5/18/22):
- Would a cover page and/or table of contents count towards the five-page limit?
Would you be able to share the geographic footprint of participating organizations?
- No, it would not count towards the limit. Feel free (but it is not necessary) to include either cover page or table of contents.
We want to make sure we are interpreting the following question as intended so our response is most useful: “What opportunities can you envision for supporting learning around the relationship between relevance and resilience and collaborating with our initiative research partners to capture lessons for the field?”
- The 18 funded organizations are located: 5 in the northeast; 7 in the mid-west; 2 in the south; 3 on the west coast and 1 in Puerto Rico.
- All organizations have annual operating expenses between $500,000 and $3 million.
- Please address the question by how you would interact with the research partners to co-develop and respond to research questions about the relationship between relevance and resilience as well as how you imagine building valuable tools, insights, and published materials that could serve as practical outcomes to benefit the field.
The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is a nationwide philanthropy based in New York City whose mission is to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people and in the arts for everyone. We identify important knowledge gaps in our areas of interest, support the field to develop and test promising ideas to narrow those gaps, and then broadly share what’s been learned to inform those who can effect beneficial change. We hope to broadly share what we’re learning alongside our grantees to strengthen practices and policies within a field. Please visit our knowledge center at
1 For the purposes of this initiative, the term ‘arts organizations of color’ describes organizations that were founded by and for communities of color. Wallace recognizes that no one umbrella term can accurately represent the plurality and diversity of arts organizations that serve communities of color, including Black, Indigenous, Middle Eastern and Arab American, Latinx and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
2 By community orientation we mean the ways in which an organization engages and uplifts the communities they serve, including how organizations: engage their target public audiences; develop and diversify the cultural workforce; foster new artistic production through commissions and partnerships; and advocate for their communities within the cities where they reside