Request For Proposals: Evaluation Consultant/Team

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OVERVIEW

The Native Arts and Cultures Organization (NACF) is seeking an evaluation consultant / team to support the organization in measuring the social impact of select programming as well as inform the further development of programming for the Center for Native Arts and Culture.

Specifically, this consultant / team will be skilled in evaluation models that are supportive of and rooted in Indigenous values, with approaches that: are directed by Native communities and artists; recognize the impact of settler colonialism on Indigenous Peoples; and promote social change impacts.

ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) advances equity and cultural knowledge, focusing on the power of arts and collaboration to strengthen Native communities and promote positive social change with American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples in the United States. The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation was founded in 2007, following a preliminary feasibility study demonstrating a deep need to support Native arts and cultures in the United States. Since its launch in 2009, NACF has been fortunate to collaborate with a wide variety of arts and non-arts organizations across the nation, ranging from tribal to educational to arts to presenting to exhibiting artists. Over these years, they have also developed strong, positive relationships with grant-makers, funders, donors, as well as local and federal government agencies.

Through its program initiatives, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation supports Native artists and culture bearers through a variety of projects that engage the community on issues of social, environmental, and cultural focus. From nationally recognized fellowships to public art and social change projects, NACF lifts the voices and impact of American Indians, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives. NACF supports artists to create new work, develop their arts practice, and produce projects in collaboration with communities. This support includes financial resources, artist training and professional development, presenting and promoting artist work, and project management.

CENTER FOR NATIVE ARTS AND CULTURES

On February 26th, 2021 NACF received the gift of the Yale Union Laundry building in Portland, Oregon. The historic building will become the new headquarters for NACF and has been renamed the Center for Native Arts and Cultures (CNAC). The overall vision for CNAC centers on creating a vibrant gathering place for Indigenous artists and local partnerships for events, exhibitions, art-making, and cultural ceremony and celebration.

STRATEGIC PLANNING BACKGROUND

Embarking upon an intensive strategic planning process in 2019, NACF conducted an internal data review looking carefully at a subset of 120 final awardee reports and surveyed 252 artists and organizations that received support from NACF between 2009 and 2019. Through this review, they learned that the overwhelming majority of awardees were responding to the following: social, political, environmental, spiritual, economic, and food justice issues through a Native lens, drawing increased attention to Native communities, perspectives, and challenges, shifting a national narrative of invisibility, misunderstanding, and misappropriation. Based on this research and the feedback provided by survey respondents, and conversations with stakeholders, NACF has defined one overall focus area: Catalyze Native peoples, artists and cultures bearers to influence positive social, cultural, and environmental change. [NACF Strategic Plan]

Four priorities have been devised to guide NACF’s future work to assist Native artists, cultural leaders, and partners:

  • PRIORITY 1      Develop and Advance Artist Social Change Work
  • PRIORITY 2      Increase Artist Visibility, Reach and Access
  • PRIORITY 3      Make the Center for Native Arts and Cultures (CNAC) a Thriving Place for Programmatic and Partner Work
  • PRIORITY 4      Educate Philanthropy, Stakeholders and the General Public About Native Peoples, Cultures, Arts & Humanities

In addition, in February 2020, a first-of-its-kind gathering took place in Washington, D.C., co-hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF). Native Arts and Culture: Resilience, Reclamation, and Relevance brought together over 225 attendees including members from more than 40 tribal nations, representatives from over a dozen federal/state/regional entities, many Native artists and students, and non-profit professionals and funders who support Native peoples.

The purpose of the convening was to be immersed in all this complexity together with governmental partners who provide resources to Native America—for arts and archives, archeology and linguistics, and education and wellness—in order to listen, learn, and interact together. It was understood that this was to be the first convening of its kind, but not the last, and that there would be subsequent convenings with broader participation, informed by learnings and recommendations from this one. The gathering highlighted promising practices as well as common challenges in creating, sharing, curating, researching, and resourcing Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian arts, humanities, and cultural heritage.

The findings from this convening were compiled into a comprehensive report that offers a set of field recommendations for future action. The recommendations point toward critical areas of work and they are an invitation for all to keep planning and working together. [Native Arts and Culture Conference Report]

EVALUATION STRATEGY

The evaluation strategy as outlined below will look deeply at NACF’s grantmaking programs and processes, convening outcomes, and programmatic direction for CNAC. The process will be guided by Indigenous research strategies and grounded in Indigenous values of relational connections, personal responsibility, and collaborative learning for the wellbeing of the group and society.

In addition, it will consist of both usual and nontraditional “measures” of social change, queries and observes aesthetic quality impacts with data gathering techniques that include interviews with the artists, artists’ collaborators, community partners, and program attendees; print, web, and social media tracking; surveys; and participant observation.

EVALUATION SCOPE OF WORK

The specific programmatic components that NACF would like an evaluation consultant / team to focus on are the following:

  • GRANT PROGRAMS: Develop performance measures and evaluate the impact of NACF’s new grant’s programs (SHIFT and LIFT) and the effectiveness of the Suite of Services provided to grantees; assess the ease and accessibility of the grantmaking process for applicants;
  • CONVENINGS: Develop performance measures and an evaluation tool to measure the impact of NACF’s local/regional/national convenings;
  • CNAC PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT: Conduct community engagement opportunities to solicit input for the development of programming for CNAC. Develop performance measures and an evaluation plan to gauge the effectiveness of CNAC programming. 

DEADLINE:
September 6, 2021 by 5pm PST

Proposal format:
One PDF that includes all submission requirements and up to two project deliverable attachments

Submit proposals to:
Barbara Mumby-Huerta at bmumby@nativeartsandcultures.org

Proposal Review:
Proposals will be reviewed by NACF staff and a final decision will be made by October 1, 2021.

Questions:
Barbara Mumby-Huerta at bmumby@nativeartsandcultures.org

NACF may follow up with applicants for additional information if necessary.

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