Vision Together 2025 Early Childhood Initiative Request for Proposals
A partnership of local organizations including Vision Together 2025, the 1889 Foundation, 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, United Way of the Laurel Highlands, Lee Initiatives Health & Wellness Endowment, and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies (“the partners”), are collaborating to develop an Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) with a mission of improving the educational, health, and social needs of our youngest, most vulnerable residents (birth to age 8). The effort is a priority under the Health & Wellness Priority Goal established through the community’s Vision Together 2025 framework. These partners have issued a request for proposals aimed at hiring a consultant to convene the community-based early childhood organizations, determine the current capacity of existing resources and potential gaps, establish a baseline of current outcomes for young children, identify opportunities for improvement, propose a backbone structure/model, and develop an action plan resulting in measurable objectives to improve the educational, health, and social outcomes of our youngest residents.
Cambria County currently ranks 62nd and Somerset County ranks 49th out of 67 counties in the Commonwealth of PA for health outcomes; 23% of Cambria and 20% of Somerset children are living in poverty, and 53% of Cambria and 48% of Somerset County children are eligible for free or reduced lunch. By age group, children are the poorest in the country, accounting for over 31% of people who are under-resourced. One out of every five children experience poverty and one in three children is living impoverished for at least parts of their childhood. Our youngest—infants and toddlers—are the most vulnerable and at-risk to face poverty or live near the poverty line.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted children’s lives, educations, social connectivity, mental health, and access to usual sources of support (including childcare, schools, community services, and extended family). More children fell into poverty, fell behind at school, experienced hunger, and missed preventive health care visits. Too many lost loved ones. Such stress during childhood can adversely affect brain development, socio-emotional growth, mental health, and academic achievement.
Principles of child development and core capabilities of resilient adults point to a blueprint that policymakers and practitioners in a multitude of sectors can use to improve outcomes for children and families. To be maximally effective, the partners desire a framework that incorporates fundamental concepts identified by the Harvard Center for the Developing Child that:
- Support responsive relationships for children and adults.
- Strengthen core skills for planning, adapting, and achieving goals.
- Reduce sources of stress in the lives of children and families.
PRIMARY OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES
There are many community-based organizations in our region who work with this early childhood population, however, the partners propose a systems-wide coordinated approach, bringing all agencies together from the two-county area to work towards collective strategies and goals to improve the educational, health, and social outcomes of our youngest residents.
Inspired by the Five Freedoms for America’s Children framework, proposed by U.S. Senator Bob Casey, the Early Childhood Initiative seeks to address five profound issues impacting children in our community including health, economic security, learning, hunger and harm.
In order to address these priorities, the partners have identified the following outputs:
- Hire a consultant to convene the local organizations and individuals committed to early childhood initiatives in our community, identify opportunities for collaboration and improvement, and develop a strategic and action plan, based on the Five Freedoms.
- Identify, develop, and recommend potential programs and resources to early childhood providers, workforce development providers, and colleges/universities.
- Map existing early childhood resources.
- Share research-based models and best practices and make recommendations to build the field.
- Identify backbone structure/model and develop an action plan with measurable goals and objectives to meet the following outcomes:
- Enhanced resources for home-, group-, and center-based providers in our region.
- Through the strengthened coordination effort of this ECI consultant, there will be an expansion and refinement of referrals for services already available in our community.
- Address poverty, barriers, and economic outcomes for the most vulnerable families.
- Improved networking with lawmakers to allow a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with federal funding allocated to early childhood initiatives, so that we can be a leader for systems change in Pennsylvania advocating for children’s health, economic security, learning, hunger, and safety.
Page limit: 10 pages
Formatting: 8.5” x 11”, 1” margins, 12 size font, Word Document or PDF
Submit your proposal to Mike Tedesco, Vision Together 2025, email@example.com.
Please provide a proposal document with the following sections included:
- Cover sheet with organization’s (or consultant’s) information and primary point of contact
- Prior experience and research methodology in planning a collaborative entity, such as a network, alliance, or other form of partnership
- Organization background and alignment with RFP scope
- History of your organization including mission, vision, and guiding principles
- Leadership structure/model
- Describe your communication approach (both internally and externally with partner organizations)
- Fee and proposed fee schedule (anticipated maximum range of $50,000-$70,000)
- Optional additional relevant material
Selection process and engagement timelines:
- March 11: Announce RFP
- March 21: Q&A call-in session, by appointment (See below for more information.)
- March 28: Proposals due
- Week of April 11: Interviews scheduled, and finalist selected
- Project start date: TBD ASAP as agreed upon by all parties
- Project Understanding
- This proposal must include an implementation or action plan. The selected respondent should exhibit a basic understanding of the early childhood care and learning ecosystem at the systems, program, and community levels.
- Level of Interest
- The timeline for engagement is highly important.
- A demonstrable affinity for this field is a significant positive.
- Experience and references
*The partners reserve the right to request additional documentation, clarification, or due diligence regarding the applicants or application responses. The partners reserve the right to alter timeline or other response requirements.
Who is eligible to apply?
Applications may be submitted by an individual consultant with appropriate experience in early childhood education, public policy/advocacy, sociology, social services, systems change and/or related fields, or by a single agency or partnership. The consultant or lead agency must be in full compliance with federal, state, county, and local requirements, and laws, including the USA Patriot Act and other counterterrorism laws. There will be no discrimination of any sort within the organization.
Details about question-and-answer opportunity
Selected partners will be available by appointment if desired to answer questions. Appointments can be scheduled by contacting Mike Tedesco, Vision Together 2025 President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.