We Are SeekingSkilled Evaluators Committed to Race Equity and Inclusion!
Request for Proposals (RFP)
Process Evaluation and Equity Audit of the Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative
Overview The Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative (SFC or the Collaborative), a partnership of more than 10 public, private, and nonprofit organizations, requests proposals for a process evaluation of the effectiveness of the work of the Collaborative, inclusive of an equity audit. The objectives of the SFC are to expand access to high-quality summer opportunities for children and youth, utilize a shared application and review to streamline the grantmaking process for summer program providers, and cultivate a sustainable summer program landscape through central data collection. In addition, the SFC identifies equity as a core value and seeks to uphold this value in its operational practices.
The process evaluation will employ diverse methodologies to assess the implementation of the Summer Funding Collaborative at all stages and draw conclusions about the degree to which the SFC has made progress toward aligning philanthropic institutions to fund summer enrichment opportunities for youth in Baltimore City. The inclusion of an equity audit as a foundational element of the evaluation will strengthen the analysis as it supports the SFC in defining and operationalizing its understanding of equity and the extent to which this principle is currently upheld by the Collaborative.
In the following sections, we offer a brief overview of the work of the Summer Funding Collaborative, outline our evaluation objectives and research questions, and provide information about the evaluation application process. The deadline to submit proposals is 5:00 PM on Friday, May 7, 2021. All materials must be submitted online via Formstack. The maximum award for this evaluation of the Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative is $60,000. The Summer Funding Collaborative expects to complete the selection process within two weeks of the proposal deadline on Friday, May 7, 2021. The evaluator will begin work with Baltimore’s Promise and partners to plan the evaluation no later than June 4, 2021 and will be expected to conclude and produce all deliverables by October 31, 2021.
The Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative: Background and Approach The Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative was established in 2015 between the three largest philanthropic organizations in Baltimore City to reduce the application burden on summer enrichment providers by establishing a shared application and review process. After the Baltimore Uprising during the year the partnership was established, there was a groundswell of philanthropic interest in youth engagement during the summer months, and the SFC has consistently maintained at least 10 member funders since 2016.
Since its inception, the Collaborative has awarded $19.8 million in support of summer enrichment opportunities to expand learning, recreation, and college and career readiness opportunities in the city. When children are disengaged from learning and enrichment over the summer months, they can lose up to three months of knowledge and skills gained during the previous school year. High-quality summer programming has been proven to help reduce this learning loss or “summer slide.”The Collaborative members hope that Baltimore City youth can access programs that allow them to learn and grow during the summer months.
Today, the SFC consists of 13 organizations that fund high-quality summer programs serving children and young adults from low-income families in Baltimore City: the Abell Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Clayton Baker Trust, Constellation, Family League of Baltimore, France-Merrick Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Hinkey-Benson Family Fund, Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Charitable Funds, Lockhart Vaughan Foundation, Under Armour, and United Way of Central Maryland.
While funders make grant awards in response to their foundation’s specific funding priorities, SFC members share a commitment to expanding access to high-quality summer opportunities and streamlining the process by which providers can access private grant dollars. To be considered for funding, summer programs must promote academic, job readiness, social and/or emotional growth in children and youth and, where applicable, be inclusive of students of all abilities. Applicants must primarily serve children and youth from low-income families who live in Baltimore City and, if operating for four or more hours per day, must have a plan to serve healthy meals to program participants.
In addition, SFC funders have committed to a core value of equity. Historically, the Collaborative has operationalized this value by holding an open Request for Proposals process with access to free technical assistance, distributing funding across the neighborhoods and youth populations with the greatest need, ensuring that a diverse range of programs is available to youth ages 0-24, and by coordinating funding decisions to maximize the fulfillment of whole program budgets.
There have been several significant changes to the way they SFC operates since it was founded:
Incorporating coordinated attendance data collection, aggregation, and analysis data on summer programs across the city to inform targeted programming that serves every young person in Baltimore City.
Incorporating the use of an administrative backbone and full-time project manager once the administrative needs of the SFC grew beyond the capacity of member foundation staff.
Piloting a data matching process with SFC data and City Schools’ data to better understand impact on academic outcomes.
Adopting a formal voting process and tighter protocols for administrative decisions.
Establishing a minimum 4.6% administrative contribution to build sustainability for annual SFC operations.
Expediting the funder decision process in response to grantee feedback to move grant decision announcements several months earlier.
Adding “race equity and inclusion” as a core value of the Collaborative, defined as “prioritizing opportunities that serve youth and young adults from low-income families, understanding that youth and young adults of color live in poverty at disproportionately higher rates compared to their white peers.”
Principal Evaluation Questions The process evaluation will inform Summer Funding Collaborative partners of the extent to which the objectives of the SFC were carried out as intended, the ways in which aspects of implementation affected variation in outcomes, whether the training and services provided were optimal for supporting summer program providers and facilitating successful program execution, and the degree to which the Collaborative made progress in aligning systems and institutions to expand summer enrichment opportunities for youth in Baltimore City. The equity audit, a key component of the process evaluation, will identify the extent to which the value of equity has been successfully operationalized, and support the Collaborative in constructing a more expansive definition of this value, along with rigorous measures for implementation and accountability. The process evaluation and equity audit will ultimately inform Collaborative partners of adjustments necessary in the next phase of implementation and will be the basis for recommended changes to how the Summer Funding Collaborative operates.
While some of this work has been informed by National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) standards (Appendix C) and member knowledge of the sector, the SFC is looking for an evaluator to help us create standard definitions to use in the years to come. The process evaluation will use diverse methodologies to examine the structure and implementation of the Summer Funding Collaborative and the extent to which the SFC has made progress toward streamlining the funding process and expanding access to high-quality summer opportunities for youth in Baltimore. The inclusion of an equity audit as a foundational element of the process evaluation will strengthen the evaluation findings as it supports the SFC in defining and operationalizing its understanding of equity, and the extent to which this principle is currently upheld by the Collaborative.
Examples of key evaluation questions to be answered include, but are not limited to:
To what extent and in what ways is the structure, governance, procedures, and activities of the Summer Funding Collaborative (SFC) contributing to progress toward its objectives?
Have funders been able to coordinate funding to maximize the number of program seats available?
Has the use of a common application, coordinated site visits, and shared final report effectively reduced the burden on providers and streamlined access to funding opportunities?
Has centralized attendance data collection helped assess the capacity and reach of the summer system in Baltimore City?
Has access to technical assistance, professional development, and networking opportunities increased capacity and/or strengthened program offerings among summer program providers?
To what extent and in what ways have SFC funders come to consensus on the Collaborative’s goals and committed to a shared vision of change? Is the logic model used by the SFC currently designed to meet the objectives of the SFC?
To what extent and in what ways has the SFC introduced funders to new grantees and helped funders cultivate more equitable grantmaking processes?
To what extent does the SFC’s allocation of resources fill needs identified by the program landscape and optimize outcomes for program providers and participants?
How do stakeholders describe, understand, and/or experience the SFC and how it functions?
How appropriate are the SFC’s processes compared with other funding collaboratives? Are there components of other funding collaboratives that can enhance the design of the SFC?
Do other funding collaboratives have a mechanism for using research on program model effectiveness to inform their decision making about which programs to fund?
Equity Audit Questions
What is the understanding of equity that the SFC has adopted and operationalized? Is there a shared understanding of equity priorities for the Collaborative?
What are the leadership demographics, organizational characteristics, and geographic locations of programs funded by the SFC?
To what extent are SFC funders using practices and policies to ensure participants have equitable access to high-quality summer programming?
What are the equity implications of the SFC funding practices?
Desired Skills and Experience
Experience evaluating collaborations of institutional partners or similar coalitions, especially collective funding models
Ability to conduct an iterative evaluation
Proven strategy for engaging diverse stakeholders in the evaluation process
Commitment to evaluation through race equity and inclusion lens
Experience supporting institutions in the development and implementation of strategies to promote race equity and inclusion
Experience using community-based and participatory methodologies
Experience with diverse methods of data collection and analysis including but not limited to interviews, focus groups, document review, and surveys
Strategy for and experience with engaging youth in evaluation process
Ability to integrate feedback from stakeholders at multiple levels of responsibility and participation
Understanding of potential sources of bias in qualitative and quantitative analysis
Researchers working with students or sensitive data are required to complete a background check through Baltimore City Public Schools
K-12 program and policy expertise, preferably but not limited to out-of-school-time
Cost of Proposal Baltimore’s Promise and the Summer Funding Collaborative will not pay any costs incurred by applicants associated with proposal preparation.
Timeline Baltimore’s Promise expects to complete the selection process within two weeks of the proposal deadline on May 7, 2021. The evaluator will begin work with Baltimore’s Promise and partners to plan the evaluation no later than June 4, 2021 and expected to conclude and produce all deliverables by November, 2021.
Compensation and Payment The maximum award for this evaluation of the Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative is $60,000. The process evaluation should be conducted throughout to account for all phases of implementation as well as adjustments to the Summer Funding Collaborative. Applicants should provide a line-item budget inclusive of hourly fees by staff members on the project. The selected evaluator will submit a monthly report detailing each billable hour and associated work completed. Baltimore’s Promise does not reimburse for out-of-pocket expenses. Bids should consider all costs of providing services.
Location and Performance of Services Work will be conducted remotely with Summer Funding Collaborative partners and affiliate stakeholders in Baltimore as necessary to collect data and materials necessary for the evaluation and analysis.
Proposal Description The proposal should be no longer than 10 pages (excluding writing samples) and include the following information:
Cover Page (Name, Business Name, Contact Information)
Narrative description, including but not limited to the following:
Description of similar work performed
Description of proposed evaluation strategy, activities, and methodology. Based on your understanding of the SFC and this RFP, please share how you would approach conducting this evaluation.
What are your proposed methods of evaluation (e.g. interviews, focus groups, document review, etc.)?
How would you incorporate key metrics from data generated by the implementation of the Summer Funding Collaborative (e.g. enrollment, completion, attrition, etc.) into the process evaluation?
How will you determine the degree to which the Summer Funding Collaborative was implemented as planned and in such a way that it made progress toward its objectives?
What is your strategy for assessing systems-level change and institutional alignment?
What is your strategy for auditing and assessing the SFC related to equity?
How do you plan to address the concerns of all stakeholders including program providers, the administrative backbone, and funders into your evaluation?
How do you incorporate a race equity and inclusion lens into your evaluation approach?
Proposed list of research questions
CV or resume and short biography of key staff
Two sample reports or writing samples demonstrating implementation analysis and process evaluation approach
Three professional references
Estimated hours and project budget
Disclosure of local work with OST/Summer programs
Sample of work demonstrating prior use of race equity framework (Optional)
Submission Instructions: The deadline to submit proposals is 5:00 PM on May 7, 2021. Prospective applicants may submit proposals as individuals or collaboratively with other applicants. All materials must be submitted online via Formstack.
Expectations and Deliverables: Kickoff Meeting: A 1-hour project team should schedule a one-hour kickoff meeting to discuss the project’s intention, team roles, major deliverables, and the timeline.
Work plan and Introductory Presentation: 1-hour presentation to SFC Data & Evaluation Workgroup outlining the evaluator’s work plan in June 2021. Presentation and accompanying materials should include the following:
Evaluation Plan (should be delivered and approved within two weeks of contract execution)
List of interviewees
Current and past SFC grantees
SFC applicants who have never been funded
SFC administrative backbone staff
Other summer systems stakeholders
Interviews, Focus Groups, Document Review, and Surveys: The evaluator is expected to collect information and data on the implementation of the Summer Funding Collaborative through diverse methods and numerous interactions with representatives of SFC stakeholders and actors.
Equity Audit: An audit of collaborative policies, structures, practices, culture, and assessment of applicant and grantee data resulting in an analysis of current SFC as well as stakeholder perspectives and expectations for future change in relation to equity considerations.
Ongoing Implementation Update Meetings: 1-hour meeting to apprise Summer Funding Collaborative and Baltimore’s Promise partners of issues with implementation, methods of investigation, and recommendations for needed adjustments as necessary. These meetings will also help inform the course of the process evaluation by helping the evaluator prioritize questions for further information gathering.
Funding Collaborative Scan: A field scan of complementary efforts done by other collaboratives and philanthropic groups within Baltimore and other cities.
Interim Report and Presentation: Brief written report (maximum 15 pages) and presentation of findings to SFC Data & Evaluation Workgroup by September 2021. Draft report required 1 week prior to due date.
Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report and Presentation: Evaluator delivers presentation of evaluation findings to SFC in October 2021.
Final Process Evaluation Report and Presentation: A comprehensive written report and presentation detailing the process, key themes, analysis of the gaps and disconnects between current and future/desired state of the Collaborative, and opportunities to build upon. The report should include recommendations for embedding new inclusive practices into the Collaborative policies and procedures, including achievable short-term action steps and sustainable, long-term goals. Final report and presentation will be submitted by November 2021. Final report and presentation required 1 week prior to due date.
Research Materials: Submit research materials such as data collected, interview notes, and other materials created by the evaluation process and used for analysis.
Equal Employment Opportunity Baltimore’s Promise is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity and race equity and inclusion. It is our policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote individuals, as well as administer all personnel actions, without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or ancestry, status as an individual with a disability who is otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of his or her position, or any other protected characteristic in accordance with applicable laws. Baltimore’s Promise will not tolerate any unlawful discrimination, and any such conduct is prohibited.
DEADLINE: The deadline for submission is Friday, May 7, 2021, at 5:00 pm.
Please note that the SFC will not accept late applications or applications by email or postal mail. Plan to submit your application a few days ahead of time in case you need help of have problems submitting your application. You can apply online via Formstack by clicking here.
Please direct any questions to rfps (at) baltimorespromise.org. For more information, please consider attending a virtual information session on Thursday, April 15, from 9-11 am.