American Hiking Seeks a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Consultant

Overview

Various communities have historically experienced and are still experiencing systemic barriers to outdoor recreation, including hiking.  These communities include but are not limited to people of color, those who identify as LGBTQIA-2, the differently-abled, those who identify as female, and even those who do not have stereotypically athletic body types.  As a result, American Hiking Society is not yet reaching its full potential in its advocacy power and our ability to meet our mission.

American Hiking Society seeks a qualified consultant or consulting firm to assist with the development of a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) strategy to guide future actions as they relate to our mission, programs, program participants, social media followers, members, staff, and Board of Directors.  AHS is not seeking to become a solely JEDI-focused organization, nor to position itself as an expert JEDI organization. Rather, AHS seeks to position itself as an effective JEDI ally for the hiking community, bringing JEDI awareness and mindful action to its programs, advocacy, and overall mission.  

The strategy should:

  • Assess internal organizational barriers to JEDI.
  • Educate and train staff and board on JEDI issues and opportunities, especially in the context of outdoor recreation, conservation, and the environment, in order to move AHS toward helping remove those barriers and in order to help the staff and board become effective JEDI allies.
  • Assist AHS in developing itself into an effective JEDI ally organization for the hiking community by creating a JEDI ally plan that links directly to the 2020-2024 AHS Strategic Plan and includes clear JEDI policies for: AHS programs; social media and other advocacy engagement;  staff/board recruitment and retention; and effective partnership with JEDI-focused organizations, interest/affinity groups, and thought leaders/activists.
  • Ideal proposals will outline a one-year initiation plan with several years of lighter follow-up support.

All proposals should be submitted to Bradley Ellis, Esq. (Board Chair) at [email protected] by June 30, 2019.   

 

About American Hiking Society

 

Founded in 1976 as the only national voice of the hiking community, American Hiking’s mission is “Empowering all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience”.  We envision a world where everyone feels welcome in the American hiking community and has permanent access to meaningful hiking, including urban, frontcountry, and backcountry opportunities. We will achieve this vision by empowering all communities to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience; advocating for the protection and expansion of hiking spaces; fostering trail stewardship; and collaborating with partners whose strengths are complementary.  

AHS is primarily an advocacy-focused nonprofit; however, we do run several volunteer trail service programs across the country that serve to bolster our advocacy.  Those programs include Volunteer Vacations (week-long service trips), Alternative Breaks (week-long service trips for college students during their spring break), and National Trails Day® (a day of trail service and advocacy started by AHS in 1993, with over 1000 events across the country).

 

Primary Goals and Objectives

 

In hiring a JEDI consultant, we seek to engage, empower, and incorporate targeted, underrepresented, and marginalized communities in all of our advocacy and programming efforts.  The objectives we hope to achieve are to:

  • Educate and train our staff and Board of Directors on JEDI, particularly in the context of outdoor recreation, conservation, and the environment.
  • Diversify our staff and Board of Directors (currently 6 open seats which we desire to fill; nominations currently underway with a July 15th deadline; vote to approve new Directors will occur in October; onboarding of new Directors occurs Jan. 1st of each year).
    • Review our Board recruitment and onboarding materials to ensure JEDI sensitivity.
  • Diversify our program participants, membership, and social media following.
  • Ensure an appropriate, reciprocal relationship with AHS program participants who identify with communities that have experienced and/or are experiencing systemic barriers to meaningful participation in the hiking community.
  • Engage effectively and mindfully as an ally organization for the diverse hiking community, including strategically partnering with JEDI-focused organizations, affinity groups, thought leaders, and activists.

 

Strengths

 

AHS has already started toward positioning itself as a JEDI ally in the hiking community.  We have:

  • Ensured recruitment of a diverse set of candidates for our NextGen Trail Leaders activist ambassador program for 18-40 year old rising stars in outdoor recreation, conservation, and JEDI in the outdoors.
  • For the first time in 2018, partnered on Alternative Break with an Historically Black University.
  • Launched in 2019 an Alternative Break scholarship for a school whose population is generally underrepresented in the outdoors, with plans to deepen that scholarship in partnership with a JEDI-focused group in 2020.
  • Diversified the images in our marketing and social media engagement.
  • Prioritized collection of authentic content from our programs featuring diverse participant groups to use in promotional materials.
  • Signed Teresa Baker’s Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge in summer 2018, when it was launched.
  • Have partnered with JEDI-focused organizations, affinity groups, thought leaders, and activists on various campaigns.
  • Have initiated and are providing administrative and advocacy support for a non-branded JEDI Policy Working Group, bringing together thought leaders, organizations, and activists to propose language to include in an upcoming Outdoor Recreation package in the Senate.

 

Areas for Improvement

 

Despite our intentional and mindful start to serving as a JEDI ally for the hiking community, we still have a long way to go.  We recognize the following areas that need improvement, though we do not consider this to be an exhaustive list:

  • We have no formal JEDI plan for the organization.
  • We have no people of color on our staff and only 1 person of color currently on our Board of Directors.
  • Our staff and Board of Directors have not had any formal JEDI training or education.
  • The reciprocity of our relationship with program participants who identify with communities that have experienced and/or are experiencing systemic barriers to meaningful participation in the hiking community needs strengthening.
  • Without a formal JEDI plan that includes policy, we are unable to engage on JEDI issues that are particularly fraught and run the risk of mis-stepping in engagement on seemingly “uncomplicated” JEDI issues and opportunities.

 

Proposal Requirements

 

Please include the following in your proposal:

  • Background on business/organization (or professional background if independent consultant):
    • (Company) name, address, and mission statement.
    • Names and roles of consultants who would work on this project, their resumes (or LinkedIn page if complete), and their social media handles if professionally relevant.
    • Years in business, ownership structure, total number of employees, percentage of employees who are people of color, percentage of leadership positions occupied by people of color.
    • Demonstrated ability to work with a wide variety of stakeholders, including examples of groups with whom you have worked/are working on JEDI plans.
  • Proposed consulting structure, workplan, final product, timeline, and structure of ongoing support.
  • Budget estimate:
    • Overall cost with justification.
    • Hourly rate for consultant(s).
    • Cost for ongoing support.
    • (Optional) Proposals for 3 different levels of output and support.
  • Independent consultants may feel free to join together in a joint proposal, acting as one team, but there must be a clear payment structure laid out in the proposal.

 

Proposal Submissions and Selection Process

Proposal submissions should be emailed to Bradley J. Ellis, Esq. at [email protected] no later than end of day June 30, 2019.  Please include all contact information for the main point of contact, who should be able to make legally-binding decisions for the company/consultant.

The AHS Board of Directors will review all proposals and will schedule video-conference interviews with a final selection of candidates.  In no way does your (company’s) submission of a proposal bind American Hiking Society to any contractual obligation whatsoever. AHS reserves the right to reject at any time and for any reason, any or all proposals received as a result of this RFP.  

 

Confidentiality

The Bidder shall not, without the prior written consent of American Hiking Society, disclose or make available to any person, other than AHS staff, or use, directly or indirectly, except for the performance and implementation of the work, any Confidential Information (as hereinafter defined) acquired from an Information Holder (as hereinafter defined) in connection with the performance of this contract, unless:

  • The information is known to the Bidder (as evidenced by its written records) prior to obtaining the same from an Information Holder and is not otherwise subject to disclosure restrictions on bidder; or
  • The information is in the public domain prior to the time of disclosure by the Bidder; or
  • The information is disclosed to the Bidder by a third party who did not receive the same, directly or indirectly, from an Information Holder and who as no obligation of secrecy with respect thereto.

As used herein, the term “Confidential Information” shall mean any information, written or oral, concerning the project, relating to or consisting of processes, techniques, procedures, designs, drawings, plans, diagrams, specifications, computer programs, systems, expertise, trade secrets, and other technical data, project information, policies and contracts (including this contract), and any finding or data from the project that AHS does not wish publicly released.  The term “Information Holder” shall mean vendors, Bidders, and subcontractors, of any tier, and any other party dealing with American Hiking Society or such authority.