Request for Proposals: Community Development Project Profiles

Writer Wanted

Over the next 5-7 months, the Arts & Culture Group of the Appalachia Funders Network seeks to commission a writer familiar with both Central Appalachia and the power of the arts to impact community development. The writer will (1) write 4-6 profiles of projects that integrate arts and culture into their community economic development work, and (2) write 20-30 brief summaries of projects that integrate arts and culture into community economic development work.

The purpose of this effort is multi-faceted. We seek to: 

  • Bring attention to the ways that arts & culture can integrate into any sector and across just transition issues; 
  • Lift up arts & culture work in the region as a way to draw in potential new funders to the region; 
  • Help funders who typically don’t fund arts & culture to understand how using arts & culture strategies can amplify project impact in new ways. 
  • Demonstrate how funders are already engaging with and supporting this work
  • Share perspectives of how projects can be funded holistically and across multiple sectors.

Using the topics in focus within other Appalachia Funders Network groups, each profile will highlight projects that work in at least one of the following sectors or issue areas:

  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Food and Ag Systems
  • Health
  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Community Capacity
  • Equity

The Arts & Culture Group and the other AFN Groups will identify the projects to be profiled, and the selected contractor will conduct interviews with appropriate project and funder representatives. Additional work will include researching and completion of a brief summary paragraph of projects that weren’t selected for a full profile.

The exploration will present profiles that describe the project, the rationale for using arts & cultural strategies, lessons learned in doing so, and the impact of the project and the approach used. The profiles will also share how project funders changed or refined their own strategies to be able to fund the project. To that end, interview prompts will include:

  • Describe the project and its context within the community served. Specifically, what challenge is the project responding to? And in what ways are arts activities used?
  • How did you come to the strategy of using the arts/cultural elements you did in carrying out your project? Why was that an effective strategy for supporting your project’s goals?
  • What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
  • Describe the impact the project has had on the community/population served.
  • Looking to the future of the project, what are the next steps? Specifically, how will the project continue? And what’s needed to get there?
  • Would you be willing to connect us with one of the funders of the project in order to understand their own reflections on how and why they funded the project?


  • Review Projects that have been selected
    • Have conversation(s) with several AFN members familiar with a number of the projects to identify the interest in funding the projects and to identify what else could be lifted up as part of these profiles
  • Refine standard questions; develop questions for funders
  • Conduct Interviews
    • Timeline flexible
    • Roles: 
      • Lead writer will take notes, facilitate interview, pull out themes, write up notes
      • At least one ACG member will join each interview to listen and share their perspective of any interesting themes to highlight in the write-up (ACG members can rotate as interested)
    • Write up 4-6 project profiles
      • Format: blog post (approximately 500-750 words), using visuals/photos wherever possible
      • Audience: public and private funders (from community foundations, private family foundations, state and federal grantmaking agencies), community development organizations
      • Include contact information for interviewee(s)
      • Roles:
        • Selected candidate to write it up
        • ACG member that participated on the interview will review the blog
      • Write up 20-30 brief project summaries
        • Format: flexible, short paragraph describing purpose of project and relevant activities
        • Audience: public and private funders (from community foundations, private family foundations, state and federal grantmaking agencies), community development organizations
      • Distribution (AFN will complete)
        • Appalachia Funders Network channels: newsletter, twitter, permanent link to publications on sub menu of AFN ACG page
        • Partners involved in the project to distribute
        • Regional communications hashtags:
          • #newstorywv
          • Others as appropriate
        • Circulation to reporters as appropriate

Background: The Appalachia Funders Network works across the Central Appalachian region to accelerate an equitable Appalachian transition by convening and connecting funders for learning, analysis, and collaboration. We envision a healthy, equitable, and vibrant region that, through strong partnerships, civic engagement, and leadership, preserves our unique assets and provides prosperity for all. (See more about the Network at

Budget: $3,500, on contract


November 4 (end of day)

Proposals Due

November 22

Selected candidate contacted

November 25-27

Initial call with selected contractor to refine scope, creative vision, work plan, timeline, and deliverables

December 2019 through April 2020

Project interviews and write-up of profiles, summaries.

*Please note that timeline, creative, and editing schedule is up for discussion with selected consultant.

Project Guidance: The main project contact is Kathryn Coulter Rhodes, Network Coordinator. Kathryn will be the point of contact for the selected consultant. Project overview and guidance is provided by the Arts & Culture Group of the Appalachia Funders Network.

To Apply: Please submit the following:

  • A cover letter stating your interest in completing the project profiles, including relevant studies or work in Central Appalachia and/or the arts, and the approach you would take to complete this project.
  • Budget
  • Resumé
  • 1-2 writing samples

Candidate Selection: Preference will be given to candidates who have deep familiarity with the Appalachian region, are well versed in the arts – especially writing – and are familiar with nonprofits and community development work. Masters students in Appalachian Studies, creative writing, or related fields also encouraged to apply. We seek candidates who are living in or have lived in Central Appalachia (we define Central Appalachia as Southeastern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina, Southwestern Virginia, and all of West Virginia).

Submission: The deadline for proposals is no later than end of day on Monday, November 4, 2019.  You may submit your proposals via email to [email protected].