Request for Proposal for Grant Writer

Request for Proposal for Grant Writer
Looking east at Vista House, Crown Point and the Columbia River Gorge from Portland Women's Forum Viewpoint. (photographer: Greg Lief)

Purpose 

Friends of the Columbia Gorge (Friends) requests proposals for a grant writer to provide comprehensive grant writing services on a contractual basis. These services would include researching grants for which we meet the application criteria; preparing and submitting grant applications; fulfilling administration requirements for successful grants; and strategic work to grow and strengthen relationships with funders. The deadline for applications is Aug. 18, 2019.

Background Information 

In 1980, recognizing the ever-increasing threat of urban development encroaching into the Columbia Gorge, a group of concerned citizens led by Nancy Russell formed Friends of the Columbia Gorge, an organization that would lead the effort to secure passage of federal legislation to protect the beautiful, wild Columbia River Gorge. On November 18, 1986, that protection was secured when the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act was passed.  
 
With a staff of 21, offices in Portland and Hood River, OR, and Washougal, WA, and over 6,500 members, Friends of the Columbia Gorge is uniquely suited to ensuring that the beautiful and wild Columbia Gorge remains an unspoiled treasure through member-driven Gorge conservation work. 
 
Our Mission: Friends of the Columbia Gorge shall vigorously protect the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge. We fulfill this mission by ensuring strict implementation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act and other laws protecting the region of the Columbia River Gorge; promoting responsible stewardship of Gorge land, air, and waters; encouraging public ownership of sensitive areas; educating the public about the unique natural values of the Columbia River Gorge and the importance of preserving those values; and working with groups and individuals to accomplish mutual preservation goals.
  

  • We help conserve land. Friends works with government agencies and other groups to ensure private land is brought into public ownership (over 41,000 acres since our founding).
  • We are landowners and stewards. In 2005 we formed the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, a 509(a)(3) support organization, to acquire critical lands in the Columbia Gorge. To date, the land trust has acquired through purchase and donation over 1,200 acres of land. We work to remove non-native species, replant native vegetation, and protect fragile resources on land trust-owned properties.
  • We keep watch on Gorge development. Each year, we review and comment on approximately 250 development applications submitted to county planning offices in every Gorge county. Our comments have helped ensure development occurs in a sensitive, ecological manner. Over the years, Friends has legally appealed less than two percent of the counties' decisions.
  • We take on development proposals that threaten Gorge resources. Over the decades, we have successfully defeated numerous attempts at large-scale developments incompatible with the protection mandates of the Scenic Area Act, including a massive Gorge casino. 
  • We educate the public about the Gorge. We lead more than 100 guided Columbia Gorge hikes and outings annually, host special events, and nurture the next generation of Gorge protectors through outdoor youth education programs.
  • We work to connect Gorge communities to Gorge lands. In 2011, Friends launched Gorge Towns to Trails, a long-term vision for a comprehensive Gorge trail network, connecting Gorge communities and strengthening local economies. 

Scope of Work 

Friends' grant portfolio currently includes grant funds from private charitable foundations, family foundations, corporate entities, and government agencies. The contracted work will include grant proposals and applications for renewals of our existing grants, and also proposal development for new sources of funding.
  
Friends is seeking a grant writer with a proven track record in writing successful proposals from diverse funding sources. Previous experience working with environmental advocacy entities is preferred. Previous experience working within the philanthropic landscape of the Portland metropolitan area is a plus.  

The Grant Writer will work closely with the Development Manager and the Director of Philanthropy, who are charged with the visioning, creation and implementation of Friends’ fundraising and development plan. The Grant Writer will also work with the Executive Director and other organizational directors to develop grant proposals and complete reporting requirements.  

Currently, financial support from Foundations accounts for approximately 16% of Friends’ annual operating budget.  

The Consultant’s responsibilities will include: 

  1. Understanding and actively engaging in the successful implementation of the organization’s fundraising and development plan.
  2. Management of annual renewal grant processes and grants calendar.
  3. Ongoing Grant prospect research (grant writer will receive support from the Development Manager).
  4. Consistent and clear communication with management about grant prospects, proposal and reporting requirements, and deadlines.
  5. Regular collection and analysis of program-related data to enhance and advance the organization’s needs statement and proposals.
  6. Development and maintenance of grant templates and materials.
  7. Professional and confidential management of grant records, organizational documents and data.
  8. Strategic planning for cultivation of relationship with funders. 

 Hours dedicated to this project will average approximately 40 hours per month, depending on the grant cycle. Based on known application deadlines, we anticipate that some months will require more hours than 40 and some months may require fewer hours.  
 
All proposals must include: 

  1. A cover letter
  2. Qualifications of the consultant and include the resume of the principal grant writer providing direct service for this project.
  3. Describe in detail your experience writing and submitting government, corporate, private foundation grants. Clear demonstration that the consultant has familiarity/knowledge of environmental advocacy work. 
  4. A narrative that addresses how the Scope of Work, as outlined above, will be accomplished. 
  5. An excerpt from a grant you have written that is representative of your writing style. The excerpt should not exceed 2 pages and should not contain any confidential or proprietary information.
  6. An explanation of fee structure.
  7. Three (3) references from clients for whom the consultant has performed similar services. 

 To learn more about Friends of the Columbia Gorge visit our website at: https://gorgefriends.org/ 
 
For consideration, please email proposal to Elizabeth Brooke-Willbanks, Development Manager at elizabeth@gorgefriends.org.