Anchor Institution TA Provider

Request For Proposals | Technical Assistance Provider For Anchor Institutions Committed To Improving Their Contracting Equity

The Greater Waukegan Development Coalition (GWDC) and the Community Contracting Steering Committee seek a Technical Assistance Provider to provide technical support for anchor institutions in our community who are committed to equitable procurement—but who need support to change their policies or practices in order to make it easier for local disadvantaged businesses to bid contracts at their institutions. GWDC is defining local disadvantaged businesses as local businesses owned by minorities, women, persons with disabilities and/or veterans. This Technical Assistance Provider could provide technical assistance remotely or on location in Waukegan, Zion, N. Chicago and portions of Park City and the Village of Beach Park.

GWDC is a community development organization that fosters economic development in economically challenged communities. Because research has found that no one initiative or program can revitalize a community on its own, GWDC focuses on holistic economic and community development grounded in the values and resources of each community.

GWDC’s vision is to inspire the community both economically and culturally while helping build the next generation of leaders.

GWDC’s Community Contracting Project was recently funded by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA). The Greater Waukegan Community Contracting Project will work to ensure that more contracts from large local institutions in Greater Waukegan go to local small businesses—especially those owned by women, minorities, and people with disabilities. It will do this by:

  1. Supporting local disadvantaged businesses that need help in preparing to bid contracts at anchor institutions. This project features a pilot of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s new Procurement Technical Academy, a 6-week program that will work with small businesses in the early stages of growth to help ready them for public and corporate procurement.
  2. Providing technical assistance to large public institutions and corporations in the Greater Waukegan region, to help them shift their procurement practices to make it easier for small, local, disadvantaged businesses to bid.
  3. Providing matchmaking services to help large public institutions and corporations build relationships with local disadvantaged businesses.
  1. Develop screening tool for anchor institutions in Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion, and portions of Park City and the Village at Beach Park, in order to evaluate:
    1. local anchor institutions’ current commitment to equitable procurement
    2. local anchor institutions’ current procurement practices
    3. the barriers that local anchor institutions currently face in hiring local, disadvantaged businesses
  2. With GWDC staff, conduct an initial screen with a minimum of 7 anchor institutions, using the new screening tool.
    1. GWDC staff will provide support in identifying and connecting to local anchor institutions.
  3. Aggregate and analyze the data from these initial screening sessions to identify community-level trends.
  4. Conduct a review of existing research on best practices for anchor institutions interested in shifting to more equitable procurement, and create a list of possible “best practices” to address the issues identified from existing research on the subject.
  5. With GWDC staff, convene an advisory group (comprised of 7 representatives, including representation from both Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Anchor Institutions) to review (1) the data on current contracting practices at local anchor institutions; (2) the data on current barriers to contracting with more disadvantaged businesses; and (3) research on “best practices” for procurement reform from other communities.
    1. GWDC staff will identify the advisory group members and secure commitments from them.
    2. GWDC staff will provide event support for the meeting and help with facilitation for the meeting.
    3. TA provider will provide content expertise for the meeting, including providing a summary of their research to the advisory committee in advance of the meeting and leading a discussion at the meeting related to current anchor institution practices and opportunities for change.
  6. Support the advisory group in identifying 1-2 systems-level solutions that all or most anchor institutions might be willing to adopt (and which the group believes would make a difference in the number of local businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities who feel confident bidding contracts at local anchor institutions). For example, the group might decide to work with local anchor institutions to ensure they all have the same eligibility requirements for subcontracts. Or the group might decide to encourage all local anchor institutions to post subcontracting opportunities in the same place. Or the group might decide to encourage all local anchor institutions to regularly post a list of “anticipated” procurement opportunities, so that local businesses can plan and prepare for opportunities to bid contracts.
  7. Work with a minimum of 7 anchor institutions who express a commitment to equitable procurement in setting goals around increasing their spending with local, disadvantaged businesses. Support these businesses in identifying steps they can take to make it easier for local disadvantaged small businesses to bid projects at their institutions and work with them to create an individualized plan for change.
  8. Conduct regular check-ins with a minimum of 7 anchor institutions and provide ongoing technical support so that by the end of the first year, at least 7 anchor businesses have made at least one change each to their procurement practices (as identified in their individualized plan) in order to make it easier for small, local, disadvantaged businesses to bid contracts at their agencies.
  9. As needed, participate in monthly Steering Committee meetings.
  10. As needed, facilitate educational or networking events to support anchor institutions in learning about or sharing best practices with regard to shifting procurement practices. For example, the TA provider might hold an educational event for multiple anchor institutions on the topic of publishing anticipated procurement opportunities, in order to help DBEs plan out and prepare for the opportunities they would like to bid. Or the TA provider might hold an event at which each anchor institution can share what it has already done to grow its commitment to equitable procurement and the lessons it has learned (so anchor institutions can learn from each other). By the end of the first year, at least 15 representatives from anchor institutions will have attended these educational or networking.
  • Experience supporting anchor institutions with equitable procurement in other communities.
  • Experience with systems change initiatives.
  • Experience with developing surveys and utilizing them to develop an understanding of local challenges.
  • Excellent organizational skills; able to manage the scope of work and complete deliverables in a timely manner.
  • Self-motivated, collaborative, detail oriented, able to work effectively both within a team and in self-directed situations.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills; able to give and receive feedback.
  • Growth mindset.
  • Competency with computers; familiarity with (or ability to learn) programs such as Microsoft Office Suite, G Suite, Dropbox, and Google Meet.

We seek proposals from firms or individuals who would be a third party contracted by GWDC. The initial contract will be for 1 year. There may be an option to extend the contract, should funding allow.

The contractor is expected to use her/his/their own workspace and equipment, including computer, software, and phone.

Proposals must include the following elements, in order. Proposals should only be in MS Word or PDF format. Email all proposals to Shaquita Blanks at

  1. Contact Information: Name, organization (if applicable), and contact information.
  2. Services Needed: Briefly describe how you will address the services listed in Section III.
  3. Experience: Briefly describe your experience with providing the services needed.
  4. Cost: Provide a cost plan for the Services Needed.
  5. Resume: Resume(s) for relevant staff.
  6. References: Name, phone number, and email contact information for two to three (2-3) references that can speak to your experience.

Our intent is for the proposal writing and reviewing processes to be expedient and not overly burdensome. Your brevity is appreciated.

We are more than happy to answer any questions that will help applicants better respond to the RFP or better understand our organization. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Shaquita Blanks at Shaquita will work to make sure your question is answered by the appropriate staff or board member.

To be in the first round of consideration, please submit proposals by Monday, September 5, 2022.