Strategic Plan Request for Proposals

Website growpittsburgh Grow Pittsburgh


Grow Pittsburgh is requesting proposals from experienced organizational consultants to guide Grow Pittsburgh’s Board of Directors and staff through a process to update and refresh its strategic plan.


Our Mission: We teach people how to grow food and promote the benefits gardens bring to our neighborhoods.

Our Vision: We envision the day when everyone in our city and region grows and eats fresh, local and healthy food.

Our Values:

  • COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION: prioritizing neighborhood voices to guide programs
  • ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: using, teaching and advocating for restorative practices
  • EQUITY: working alongside communities to build access and power for all
  • FISCAL INTEGRITY: making responsible and effective use of available assets
  • FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: supporting everyone’s right to access, produce and distribute healthy and culturally appropriate food
  • RESOURCEFULNESS: creating hands-on opportunities to build individual and community self-sufficiency
  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: understanding systems of privilege, oppression and racism, and using this knowledge to drive our work
  • TRANSPARENCY: being accountable by using clear, direct and inclusive communication


Grow Pittsburgh, founded in 2005, has experienced significant growth in the last five years. The organization went through a comprehensive strategic planning process in 2017 and successfully carried out that three-year plan to its completion in 2020. At the end of 2020, a new Executive Director was hired and time was spent early in 2021 bolstering internal operations and stewarding a successful transition in leadership.

The last plan was significant for Grow Pittsburgh and is still relevant in many ways.  The Board and staff envision a process to allow the organization to build upon, not completely revise, its existing strategic plan. Some highlights of the last plan include:

  • An overarching goal to solidify food-growing projects across our region as essential resources for generations to come
  • Three core goals and six strategies to achieve those goals
  • Unique and specific three-year plans for each department
  • An ambitious mandate to expand fundraising capacity and sources
  • An acknowledgement that our staffing structure and operational resources had to expand in order to meet our growth strategy

While elements of the past strategic plan still resonate for the organization, we are now in a new phase of development as Grow Pittsburgh expects its staff and programs to stabilize as we plan for long-term sustainability. Several recent growth events, such as the acquisition of the Garden Dreams property in Wilkinsburg, will be key strategic focuses moving forward.


The process should include but not necessarily be limited to activities that:

  • Facilitate cross board-staff conversations to review past strategic plan and assess its relevance for the next five years
  • Facilitate a board/staff retreat in October 2021
  • Evaluate recent growth events (e.g. acquisition of Garden Dreams in Wilkinsburg, opportunities for earned revenue through consulting) and update five-year program plans accordingly
  • Facilitate conversations about ways to match staffing capacity with recent and future growth, especially fundraising
  • Evaluate current mission statement and facilitate creation of departmental mission statements that align with overall organizational purpose


In developing this plan, the selected applicant will be expected to:

  • Address all of the above-stated components of the scope of services.
  • Gain an understanding of Grow Pittsburgh’s programs and structure  through staff, board, and community stakeholder conversations. Grow Pittsburgh will provide historical and programmatic narrative as well as financial information.
  • Be responsible for completing final deliverables (i.e., writing a final plan) and should not expect staff and/or board to be involved in writing final deliverables.
  • Propose which aspects of the project will require staff and/or board involvement and the expected time requirements for activities involving their participation.
  • Include check-in points for Grow Pittsburgh to obtain project status updates.
  • Present a summary of their preliminary findings and recommendations prior to writing the final project deliverables.
  • Facilitate all working sessions with the organization’s Strategic Planning Committee and other key Board Members and staff.
  • Assign responsibilities to Grow Pittsburgh Board Members and staff and to hold all parties accountable for fulfilling project responsibilities in a timely manner.
  • Develop all timelines for the project, any key data sheets/materials, and provide bi-weekly progress reports.
  • Complete the plan by no later than December 1, 2021.


The final 5-year strategic plan document, which will ultimately be the applicant’s responsibility to produce with support from Grow Pittsburgh board and staff, should meet the criteria outlined in Scope of Service.


In awarding a contract, the committee will examine a number of factors and criteria, which may include:

  • Demonstration of prior consulting experience in assisting an organization similar to Grow Pittsburgh in size and scope;
  • A commitment to and belief in Grow Pittsburgh’s values and overall mission;
  • The extent to which the proposal addresses the scope of work, timeframes and engagement plan;
  • Specific plans or methodology to be used to perform services;
  • Availability to start and complete the project in the given timeframe.


Applicants should submit a complete proposal that highlights their qualifications no later than June 18, 2021.

Proposals should include:

  • A brief Executive Summary
  • A clear statement related to the management issues to be addressed
  • A list of deliverables to be created
  • A timeline for project completion
  • A detailed budget that breaks out expenses
  • Credentials and qualifications of key personnel who will work on the project
  • At least two examples of clients of similar size and scope the applicant has previously worked with including brief descriptions of the projects

Signed proposals may be submitted via email only to: (Denele Hughson, Executive Director)

Selection Timeline: Grow Pittsburgh’s selection timeline is as follows:

  • June 1, 2021 – RFP Released
  • June 18, 2021 – Proposals Due
  • Week of June 28, 2021 – Interviews of Finalists
  • July 9, 2021 – Consultant Selected
  • July 28, 2021 – Consultant Attends Board of Directors Meeting
  • August 1, 2021 (approx) – Engagement Begins
  • October: Board/Staff Retreat
  • December 1, 2021 – Final Deliverable Due

For further information regarding the proposal, please contact Denele Hughson, Executive Director, at or 412.362.4769 x204. Please follow this link to submit a proposal. For more information about the organization, please visit

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