Request for Proposals: Racial Equity and Arts Funding Project Research Consultant

About the Racial Equity in Arts Funding Report Project 

In 2018, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council completed a research project called Racial Equity in Arts Funding in Greater Pittsburgh, which revealed and quantified gaps between philanthropic funding of white organizations and organizations of color in Southwest Pennsylvania. The report’s conclusion was that the overall picture is one of continuing disparities in funding by race. Recommendations following this project included operational changes for funders in racial/equity policy, data collection, decision-making, and outreach aimed toward improving grantmaking outcomes for organizations of color.

In early 2023, the Arts Council announced that it was awarded a National Endowments for the Arts Research Grant to conduct a five-year update to its 2018 research. This update aims to 1) tell the story of how a philanthropic community has thus far addressed racial inequity, 2) measure the impact of their efforts, and 3) provide examples of successful tactics that could be reproduced elsewhere in the field. In addition, the second round of research will examine funder policy, practice, and power structure updates and their impacts on funding.

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council will design the Racial Equity and Arts study alongside a Learning and Leadership Committee of approximately 15 community arts funders and professionals. This group will be selected for their interest in ensuring equity in the region’s arts ecosystem. As in 2018, the Arts Council will select a committee of majority Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) representation.

Scope of Consultant Services

Research Design and Leadership Facilitation

The Research and Equity consultant will support the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Racial Equity and Arts Funding in Greater Pittsburgh project by incorporating equitable research best practices into the project’s research design, implementation, analysis, and reporting. The consultant will work directly with the Project Director, Morgan Kasprowicz, to define the scope of work and proposed work plan for the project’s Learning and Leadership Committee of advisors. They will also support the facilitation of the advisory committee’s meetings and help ideate the final report vision.

Among the questions the Learning and Leadership Committee will address are:

  • How is currently available grantmaking data like or different from that which was  
    available in 2018?
  • How will we define the race of grantee entities/projects, etc.? Do we find the racial  
    coding from 2018 to be accurate and effective, or might we update it?
  • How do we assess the impact of local funder policies and procedures in shaping funding outcomes?
  • How do we share project findings? With what goals in mind?

The group will work through four sessions focused on:

  1. Reflections on 2018 research and design of 2023 research
  2. Re-examination of racial coding and definitions; discussion of funder policy/procedure data gathering
  3. Review of a) funding outcome analysis and b) the influences of funder policies and  
    procedures on those outcomes
  4. Review close-to-final report, discuss report-sharing and next steps

Research Report Drafting

Experience with data analysis and reporting is preferred but not required. Depending on the research findings and the consultant’s expertise, they may also support data analysis and report content drafting.

Known Exclusions

Since the primary function of the consultant will be to facilitate research design in conversation with the project’s advisory committee, they will not be responsible for managing communications with research participants, collecting data, and cleaning data.

Consultant Timeline

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council will seek bids from experienced consultants who work at the intersection of arts, research, equity, and/or philanthropy with a goal to have a contract in place by May 2023. The contract would extend through spring 2024, or until activities are completed.

  • May 31, 2023: RFP Deadline
  • Early to Mid June 2023: Consultant Interviews
  • Late June 2023: Consultant Decision Made
  • July 2023: Consultant defines advisory board scope and proposed work plan with Project Director (and other staff as necessary)
  • Late July 2023: Consultant co-facilitates Learning and Leadership Committee meeting #1
  • August/September 2023: Consultant co-facilitates Learning and Leadership Committee meeting #2
  • October/November 2023: Consultant co-facilitates Learning and Leadership Committee meeting #3
  • November/December 2023: Consultant collaborates with Project Director and graphic designer/communications team to ideate the report format/strategy
  • December 2023: Consultant supports research data analysis and report drafting
  • February 2024: Consultant co-facilitates research advisory committee meeting #4
  • February/March 2024: Close out any report drafting or analysis details


The budget for the consultant is not to exceed $10,000. This includes travel costs for the four in-person Learning and Leadership Committee meetings.

Consultant Criteria

  • Experience consulting within communities to synthesize information from a variety of stakeholders and perspectives
  • Experience facilitating in-person meetings/workshops to (1) identify group unconscious biases and (2) ensure equity and inclusion are central to group decision-making and dialogue.
  • Experience advising on research projects (in arts or philanthropy)
  • Knowledge and successful implementation of equity and inclusion work with diverse teams
  • Due to the racial equity focus of this project, the Arts Council will highly preference consultants of color and/or BIPOC-led consulting firms.

Response Requirements

Proposals should include a response to all the following items in the order that they are listed for an equal and timely review. Please send all materials to Morgan Kasprowicz, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Director of Research and Special Projects, by 5 p.m. on May 31, 2023 at

  • A brief description of your firm
  • An overview of your firm’s experience in racial equity and diversity assessment, research design and/or facilitation projects. If available, please include links to any relevant community research plans developed or reports published by your team as a part of this work. (Data analysis experience should be included here if applicable)
  • Proposed facilitation framework(s) for Learning and Leadership Committee meetings
  • Name(s) of staff who will be assigned to this project
  • Proposed budget estimate with detailed list of total costs for each element outlined above in the scope of consultant services
  • 1-2 references. Please provide reference name, email address, phone number, and a brief description of the services provided for each reference
  • Optional: Upload a relevant work sample (i.e., research facilitation plan)

Basis of Selection

Consultants Background and Relevant Experience (40 possible points)

  • Demonstrated experience consulting in collaboration with communities
  • Demonstrated experience facilitating conversations around the equity and anti-racist strategy
  • Demonstrated experience in projects involving research (in arts or philanthropy)
  • Firm's demonstration of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in its staff and work

Quality of Approach (40 possible points)

  • Ability to articulate proposed framework of services and expertise in alignment with the project’s objectives, timeline, and community-participatory research best practices

Budget (20 possible points)

  • Ability to provide impactful service at a rate within the project budget, showing detail in proposed costs needed for the project

Applications will be reviewed by Arts Council staff and local arts community stakeholders.