Last Update: Friday, November 16, 2018; Originally posted on November 2, 2018
Peace and Progress! Listed below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the strict timeline associated with the Request for Proposal (RFP) from Independent Consulting Services for a Multicultural Community Assessment in Diversity and Inclusion of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Religious Society of Friends.
For a running list of updates of the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee (MASC), please see page: Accomplished Work
For the actual RFP, please see page: RFP
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
(1) What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)? Generally, a RFP is a document that solicits a proposal, often made through a bidding process, by an organization interested in service. In our case, the purpose of the RFP is to solicit proposals from qualified parties with experience in institutional assessment, particularly with experience in guiding entities through successful equity, diversity, and inclusion transformation. Why? PhYM acknowledges the need to broaden the scope of access to include traditionally underserved and marginalized groups and communities as it continues to support the various groups, events, and projects it currently does.
(2) What prompted this assessment/audit? For more information, please see the following page: Audit Minute
(3) While we try to be inclusive, my meeting consists mainly of white members. Is this relevant to us? Of course. We are assessing how our meetings function, their in-reach and outreach, their signature programs (if any), activities, First Day program (if any), and connections to and perception of the Quarter and the yearly meeting. We understand that we are observers, chroniclers, and participants in our experiential faith. Also, we are hoping that each meeting solicit, secure, and share short interviews. Here are possible questions that may be asked: Why one remains a Quaker or attend a Quaker service? How has being a Quaker shaped one’s outlook? Although one’s meeting does not have much diversity, how does the meeting engage or discuss race or difference or is it generally ignored? We envision, after the consultant is hired, having individual and Monthly Meetings (MM) participate in StoryCorp-style interviews. This way, we can find out more about one another (the heart of relationship) and more about who we are now as Quakers. To learn more about StoryCorp, check out National Public Radio (NPR) on Friday mornings or this link: Storycorp
(4) I know someone who works for or owns an institutional assessment company. May I share the link to the RFP with them? Of course. Our hope is to receive many well-articulated proposals.
(5) Will I or my Monthly Meeting (MM), Quarter, sprint, collaborative, and/or council provide feedback throughout the process? Of course. This assessment is OUR collective effort to ascertain information about our Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. We are seeking someone who can help us learn more about ourselves and learn more about ways we can strengthen relationships within our beloved community.
(6 What is the projected budget for this project? $83,000 (see RFP for more details). The consultant will contract for $65K; the rest includes postage, the September 2018, and logistic costs.
(7) What is the best way to reach you? Firstly , check to see if you already know a member of the MASC. This person knows the ongoing work of the committee: MASC Members
Secondly, you can give us a call at 484-378-0943 OR send an email: multiculturalPhYM@gmail.com
(8) If invited, will someone on the committee visit our MM or Quarter to discuss this in more detail? Certainly! Just reach out with dates and times and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
(9) Are we to wait until a consultant is hired before engaging in this work? NO. This project is a collective one; we are doing the structural work, but the entire community of PhYM is involved. As you know, Quakers believe in faith in action. We are asking you to help us throughout the process by suggesting potential consultants, sharing feedback to information we post, observing interviews of potential consultants, and sharing your impressions of consultants.
(10) Who are we assessing/gaining insight about? Our community. There are some who think we should concentrate on staff. Reality is, we have less than 20 full-time staff members and many of our staff are also Quakers and members of PhYM. Therefore, to argue that we should invest $83K in that small amount of sampling is not financially sound. We are gathering the voices of our entire community to find out how we can strategically plan and envision in the future.
(11) Who affirmed this Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) assessment? Members of Monthly Meetings (MMs) at PhYM’s Annual Sessions in both 2017 and 2018.
(12) What is this self-assessment all about? The origins of how the minute (see link), does not tell the full story. Essentially, the time is right to gather testimonies and witnesses to learn more about our Beloved Community. It is good to operate moving forward with better insight.
(13) Is this self-assessment needed? Yes. We need to know the impact, if any, the implementation of a new Strategic Plan has had on our MMs and those who attend. We need this to help us better understand the priorities in our community. Lastly, one of the by-products of this assessment is an archive of interviews (witness and testimonies) for future generations; for now, these interviews can highlight our strengths and gaps when it comes to us strengthening relationship with one another.
(14) Why can’t the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) do the work themselves? We are. We are simply asking an external, objective professional to look at data to ascertain patterns. A consultant will use professional techniques to help us better understand ourselves through the answers we provide in a mixed-method approach of gathering information.
(15) Why is the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting doing this? Well, frankly, a yearly meeting already does this type of work when it calls a session for Worship with Attention to Business.
Please indulge me here. The best way I can explain the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) is to make it analogous to a federation (I know, but bear with me). In this spiritual, faith-based federation each Monthly Meeting (MM) has sovereignty. Yet, to worship, seek, and discern collectively on issues and concern facing MMs and Quarters in a particular region, the yearly meeting organizes sessions where business as it pertains to those issues and concerns are discussed. Over the past decades, there have been concerns “That of God in Everyone” has not translated into interactions and practices effectively in MMs. With this self-assessment and the hiring of a consultant, we are not trying to find a savior or outsource our concerns. We are trying to learn more about our community to learn better how to strengthen our beloved community. Thus, the yearly meeting is addressing a concern that has emerged from some MMs and have been asked to examine deliberately, with the professional services of a consultant. PhYM is not asking for a consultant to affirm that issues exist. PhYM is hoping to gather insight into what impedes and facilitates relationships within MMs and Quarters.
(16) At Continuing Sessions in Fall 2018, the Multicultural Audit Steering Committee (MASC)’s report was “received.” Does that impact the MASC’s work? No. At the MASC’s origins, the task of the MASC was to find a consultant and work with the consultant until the consultant gets acclimated. So, when we present, we are providing members of PhYM an update of our work.
(17) On the November 15, 2018 ZOOM Call, which lasted from 7:30 PM to 8:18 PM, there were questions regarding transparency, minutes, and Scope of MASC work. Here is the answers:
Transparency: Our process has never been hidden, it is just that we could not articulate the continuing revelation that was happening in the process of creating the RFP. Now, that we can and have articulated aspects of a counterculture that can be gathered, we are on our way. Next, Minutes: Our meetings are more worship sharing, so actionable items that emerged from the worship indicate the sense of meeting. Lastly, Scope of Work: The Call for Nominations and The Invite to serve on the committee outline the scope of the MASC’s work. Yet, we know that Continuing Revelation is vital and crucial to our work and we will continue to embrace that.
Part 8: Timeline (taken straight from RFP)
The structure of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PhYM) is that the membership is the faith community and legal decision-making structure. Consequently, this timeline fits into the what is called “Sessions.” At these Sessions, business decisions are threshed and decided upon. Therefore, the timeline below reflects the Continuing Sessions held in November 2018 and March 2019. The vetting of the proposals will adhere to the following schedule to honor the time between sessions. “Feedback opportunity” notes the dynamic opportunity for the larger community of PhYM to provide feedback to the process.
Between Thursday, November 1 – Monday, December 10, 2018, 4 PM, if interested, please kindly reply with your “Intent to Apply” so we know to look forward to your proposal. Failure to submit an “Intent to Apply” does not disqualify submission of a proposal.
- UPDATED ADDED two ZOOM meetings on Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday, November 15, 2018, 7:30 PM. Posted information PhYM website. COMPLETED. To see summary, click here.
Monday, December 3, 2018, 6 PM: All questions and/or requests for clarification must be received to the email address: multiculturalPhYM@gmail.com
Thursday, December 20, 2018, 4 PM EST: Proposals Due.
Between Friday, December 21, 2018 and January 4, 2019: Committee reviews and deliberates proposals. Meeting of committee on Sunday, January 6,, 2019 to thresh.
Sunday, January 13, 2019: Committee holds a special session with larger PhYM Community, via ZOOM and in-person meeting, to share deliberation process and the finalists. Feedback opportunity.
Second Meeting: January 19, 2019 coincides w/ Joint-Meeting with Councils, 2-4 PM. Committee holds a special session with larger PhYM Community, via ZOOM and in-person meeting, to share deliberation process and the finalists. Feedback opportunity.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 4 PM: Written Responses, if any, should be received via email or postal (mail a few days ahead) from monthly meetings, councils, committees, and/or individual Friends and/or attenders of potential consultants. Feedback opportunity.
Sunday, February 3, 2019: Committee meets, in-person, to thresh PhYM community’s responses and select potential consultants. Feedback opportunity.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 4 PM: Notifications sent to finalists.
Between Saturday, February 9-23, 2019: Interviews with finalists via in-person or ZOOM (members of PhYM can serve as observers of these interviews).
Between Sunday, February 24-Sunday, March 3, 2019: Larger PhYM-community has an opportunity to share perspectives on finalists. Feedback opportunity.
March 10, 2019: Committee’s final recommendation shared with larger PhYM Community.
March 17, 2019: Committee publishes final report of process and gives recommendation via a Minute of Action.
March 23, 2019 at Continuing Sessions: Members of the PhYM Community considers recommendation.
By April 1, 2019: Consultant officially notified, if a selection is made and a contract is signed within 30 days.
Between July 24-28, 2019 at Annual Sessions: Update is given by consultant.
By November 2019 Continuing Sessions: Update is given by consultant.
By Friday, December 20, 2019: Consultant delivers final reports (executive and public) and recommendations
For the actual RFP, please see page: