Request for proposals: Cultural organizing technical assistance consulting services

Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), Smart Growth America (SGA) is seeking proposals for consultant services to support the programming of its Arts & Culture team. Services include providing technical assistance in community and cultural organizing, power and movement building, and leadership and strategy development and implementation, by and within communities of color around issues of transportation and climate justice. SGA is looking for qualifications from individuals or teams who can provide quality consulting services to SGA in 2024.

The deadline to submit is Friday, February 2, 2024, 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time.


Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

We believe that arts and culture play a crucial role in supporting this vision by providing an organizing force for residents, business owners, and other stakeholders, particularly in marginalized and underinvested communities, to build power and work towards strengthening neighborhoods, by revealing the multifaceted character of communities, and by connecting residents with decision makers to collectively pursue smart, equitable policies and projects. The Arts & Culture team is building on its success in integrating arts and culture in transportation projects to explore more deeply the role of arts and culture in advancing racial equity and climate justice within, by, and through the Smart Growth movement, its partners, and practitioners, through social, cultural, and narrative change.

Project goals and scope of services

SGA is seeking an individual or team of consultants to provide technical assistance as part of an SGA Arts & Culture program that will fund and provide technical assistance to artist-activist teams to address transportation and climate issues in disadvantaged communities of color highly vulnerable to climate change and cultural displacement. Essential responsibilities for the consultant include the following tasks and deliverables:

Program input and thought partnership (25%)

  • Review program materials, and provide input and recommendations to SGA on program design and implementation.
  • Provide meaningful thought partnership to the Arts & Culture team on desired outcomes, strategies, content, curriculum, speakers, and partners.
  • Provide recommendations for program evaluation and measurement of impact.

Technical assistance and project support (75%)

  • Plan and design technical assistance for the overall program and individual projects with SGA’s Arts & Culture Director’s input.
  • Group technical assistance: produce two (2) virtual training sessions for the group that cover topics relating to working in and with communities of color experiencing or most vulnerable to climate impacts and cultural displacement, such as the following:
    • Identifying systems of oppression
    • Community and cultural organizing
    • Power and movement building
    • Public narrative creation and transformation
    • Strategy development and implementation
    • Other topics that may be relevant to the proposed team projects
  • One-on-one technical assistance: Meet with each of the three project teams for an hour 3 times virtually over the course of the program and provide structured input and recommendations on project goals, strategies, activities, and communications.


Work is planned to begin immediately and conclude by November 2024. It is anticipated that all work will be completed remotely and that the available funds for the project will be $10,000. Payment will occur on a monthly basis corresponding to a negotiated timeline for deliverables.

Evaluation criteria

SGA is seeking a diverse pool of candidates. Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led companies are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants will be selected based on the following desired criteria:

  • Substantial experience and leadership providing technical assistance in community organizing and movement building at the intersection of culture and transportation, community development, urban planning, environmental justice, climate resilience, or other related fields;
  • Demonstrated experience working and trust-building in and/or with community-based organizations and artists and culture bearers within communities of color or other marginalized communities;
  • Deep commitment to racial equity, social change, and/or climate justice; and
  • Leadership in challenging the status quo and designing and implementing institutional, social, cultural, narrative, or policy change within the arts, culture, design, or transportation, community development, or climate justice sectors.

Proposal submission

Interested applicants should submit proposals via email to Marian Liou, Director of Arts & Culture at Smart Growth America, at [email protected] by 11:59 pm EST, Friday, February 2, 2024. Proposals should be succinct and include the following information:

  • A short one- or half-page letter describing your approach, interest in the project, and any similar work.
  • A draft budget for the project.
  • Some samples of recent work relevant to this project’s scope.
  • List of references.
  • Key staff.

Anticipated selection timeline

If interviews are necessary, the short-listed firms or individuals will be invited to participate in an interview process with an evaluation committee, to take place during the week of February 12-16, 2024 (tentative). SGA will coordinate a specific interview date and time with short-listed firms by the week of February 5, 2024 (tentative). SGA reserves the right to award this contract based on initial proposals received without formal interviews and to award all or part of this project to one or more firms.

SGA will make a selection by the week of February 19, 2024, and will notify candidates after the selection is complete. Questions regarding the RFP should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, January 29, 2024.


Technical assistance