Request for Proposals: Equitable Community Engagement Services

Request for Proposals: Equitable Community Engagement Services

Closing Date: 9/6/19

The City of Durham is seeking local community-rooted organizations that are representative of marginalized and/or under-represented persons, and are willing and able to effectively engage such groups to participate in City processes.

A. Overview
In November 2018, City staff drafted the Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint as a guideline to address systemic barriers that cause certain populations to have less access to city processes. The Blueprint recommends that, to be equitable, engagement around City projects must aim for participation from a group representative of a community’s geography, race/ethnicity, age, gender, and other demographic characteristics. Furthermore, it must place specific emphasis on those who will be most adversely impacted by the City’s projects and intentionally seek input from persons and communities who are often excluded from authentic participation in these conversations.


One of the primary principles in the Blueprint is inter-departmental coordination of engagement around projects deployed in the same general geographic area. An engagement model that is focused on geography, as opposed to project-based, is efficient and effective. Furthermore, geography or community-based engagement avails the opportunity for the City to gain a more vivid understanding of the communities’ comprehensive priorities, reduces community fatigue that results from duplicative engagement for each City project, and increases equity.


Community-rooted organizations have deep networks in the communities where they operate, and a high degree of trust among members of those communities. These organizations, therefore, will play a critical role in the effort to maximize community-based engagement and increase equitable opportunities for marginalized and under-represented communities to participate in the City’s decision-making processes. Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), the City of Durham is seeking local community-rooted organizations that are representative of marginalized and/or under-represented persons, and are willing and able to effectively engage such groups to participate in City processes.

B. Scope of Work

Brief Description

Through this RFP, the Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) is seeking proposals from local community-rooted organizations that are representative of marginalized and/or under-represented persons, and is willing and able to effectively engage such groups to participate in City processes. The engagement will focus on:

 Educating residents on the City’s upcoming development projects;
 Collecting ideas related to City projects and/or the engagement process; and
 Communicating with staff regarding resident concerns of adverse impacts of the City’s projects.

The community-rooted organization will help inform the City’s engagement strategy based on their deep knowledge and relationships in the surrounding neighborhoods. Work will include, but will not be limited to:

 Assisting the City’s design engagement materials;
 Identifying geographic areas and identity-based groups for focused engagement;
 Increasing community capacity and supporting local neighborhood organizations. This will include training, leveraging community resources and connecting to grant opportunities;
 Planning and/or hosting meetings with neighborhood leaders, religious institutions, and local businesses and organizations;
 Leading and/or hosting community engagement workshops;
 Door-to-door canvassing in focus areas;
 Assisting the City in further developing the Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint. This will be done based on data and experiences collected through the engagement process; and
 Identifying best practices to help build a guide for future equitable engagement work.

For more information and the complete RFP document, visit the City's Bid Posting website

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