Long-Range Plan Consultant
Responses Due July 30, 2021
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics (VLC) invites proposals from qualified strategic planning consultants to partner with our staff and volunteer leadership as we develop our next five-year Long-Range Plan (LRP).
The VLC is a research center and platform for public scholarship on art, culture, and politics. It was established at The New School in 1992—a time of rousing debates about freedom of speech, identity politics, and society’s investment in the arts. An early leader with many distinctive contributions to the field, the VLC serves a critical mission: to foster a vibrant and diverse community of artists, scholars, and policymakers who take creative, intellectual, and political risks to bring about positive change.
Founded in 1919, The New School was established to advance academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. A century later, The New School remains at the forefront of innovation in higher education, inspiring more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students to challenge the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The university welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and public programs that encourage open discourse and social engagement. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.
Launched to coincide with the VLC’s 30th anniversary celebrations during the 2022-2023 academic year, the upcoming LRP will capitalize on the momentum of this milestone anniversary as well as significant developments at The New School under the university’s new leadership.
The entirety of the VLC’s 4.5 person staff as well as its 20-member board will be meaningfully engaged and supportive of this process, which will be guided by a Long-Range Plan Committee as well as three 30th Anniversary Task Forces focused on: Endowment Growth; 30th Anniversary Programs/Celebration; and 30th Anniversary Media/Visibility.
A prior LRP covering the period Fall 2017-Spring 2022 was launched to coincide with the VLC’s 25th anniversary. That plan has been successful, with nearly every major objective completed, and the VLC’s program and fundraising have flourished as a result.
II. Overview of Services Solicited
The purpose of the LRP is to articulate strategic priorities and key action items to be implemented for the five-year period spanning Fall 2022 to Spring 2027. Proposals should demonstrate the applicant’s proven capacity to guide organizations through a successful multi- year planning process. Specifically, we expect the LRP to lay the foundation for the following goals:
● Growth of the VLC’s impact in and service to the global fields of art, politics, and social justice, with a particular emphasis on expanding and enhancing our fellowship program;
● Greater integration of the VLC’s programs into the core academic project of The New School, with well-articulated benefits to the university’s faculty, staff, and broader public communities in New York City and beyond;
● Higher visibility and reputational growth;
● Diversification and strengthening of the VLC’s financial core, with special focus on establishing an additional endowment;
● Furthering of our commitments to equity and social justice as evident in our program, publics, staff, and institutional partnerships; and
● Thoughtful and intentional planning around future leadership transitions.
Consistent with the VLC’s values and approach to work, the development of the LRP will be an inclusive, collaborative, and iterative process. It will also be rigorous. The LRP consultant will combine subject matter expertise with sophisticated interpersonal and leadership skills to guide the process, which will include:
● Reviewing the current (Fall 2017-Spring 2022) LRP and becoming familiar with the VLC and, to some extent, The New School;
● Consulting regularly with VLC staff;
● Consulting intermittently with members of the LRP Steering Committee and other board members as needed;
● Establishing protocols for the development of the LRP that are aligned with the VLC’s mission and values;
● Proposing and finalizing, in consultation with the staff and LRP Steering Committee, the structure, timeline, milestones, and deliverables of the LRP;
● Attending and presenting at 1 board meeting (Nov. 22, 2021) and 1 half-day retreat (early spring 2022);
● Developing the written LRP, including financial considerations; and
● Helping establish metrics by which the LRP can be evaluated each year.
III. Desired Consultant Characteristics
● Alignment with the VLC’s values and mission and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (see DEI Statement below);
● Impeccable integrity and discretion;
● Creativity and confidence to design visionary, unconventional pathways to success;
● Experience working with a range of innovative organizations, especially in the arts and culture, higher education, and social justice spaces;
● Broad functional knowledge of fundraising and experience aligning goals for organizational growth with fundraising goals; and
● A sense of humor, appreciation of diverse perspectives, and genuine enjoyment of the work.
IV. DEI Statement
The principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are inherent to the work of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. As we strive to create new spaces for political and civic engagement that are generative, effective, and inspiring, we reach across boundaries to bring together ideas and experiences from a wide range of publics, especially those historically marginalized. Art, to us, holds the greatest promise for such spaces and encounters and inspires us to uphold the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
We approach DEI intersectionally and qualitatively. It informs all aspects of our work as well as all tiers of our organization: from programming and publications to speakers and independent contractors; from audiences and partner organizations to fellows and the staff and board.
These values and our understanding of them have evolved since our founding and continually transforms what the Vera List Center stands for in the present. Art is the vector that allows us to respond to changing political contexts and to imagine more just and equitable futures.
V. Proposal Format
Proposals should be submitted as Microsoft Word documents and should be no more than 6 pages single-spaced with standard margins and font sizes. Informed by a careful reading of this RFP, they should articulate the applicants’ background and qualifications with a focus on prior success leading similar projects, a proposed methodology and timeline for the development of the LRP, a proposed LRP format (table of contents), and a preliminary cost proposal, with a suggested total cost in the range of $8,000 - $12,000. Additionally, please submit a one-page cover letter articulating your interest in this project as well as a resume or CV. References will be requested later in the process.
VI. Process & Timeline
Proposals are due by July 30, 2021. The VLC staff is available for 1 preparatory meeting leading up to proposal submission and on request will provide additional information and relevant documents. The proposals will be reviewed by the VLC staff and LRP committee and selected applicants will be contacted for interviews. Additional materials may be requested from applicants during the interview process. References will also be requested. The consultant will be hired by August 31, 2021, and should be able to begin work immediately thereafter. The consultant will work with the VLC throughout the Fall 2021 semester and into the Spring 2022 semester. A final draft of the LRP will be presented for approval by the VLC board at the Spring 2022 retreat (to be scheduled, likely February/March 2022) for in-depth discussion and fine- tuning with the goal of approval at the Spring 2022 meeting (April 25, 2022), for implementation starting in academic year 2022-2023. It is expected that the consultant’s work with the VLC will conclude upon the board’s approval of the LRP in April 2022.
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