Request for Proposal - Racial Equity Programming for the Arts - Program Design

Background & Context

Assembly for the Arts (Assembly) is a new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works in coordination with the 501c4 political action committee. Both are led by the same President and CEO and operate in Cleveland, Ohio. It offers services for nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses and is governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. More than 50% of Assembly for the Arts board members are women or non-binary people and more than 40% are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). For more than a year, community partners Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Arts Cleveland, and the Arts and Culture Action Committee, with support from the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, have led the planning for this new organization to serve the entire creative sector. The result of that collaboration, Assembly, was launched in June 2021, with an aim to establish a body of like-minded artists, storytellers, non-profit organizations, creative enterprises and professionals that unite around a shared set of values. Empowering all through advocacy, activism, racial equity, and creative resources for the arts. With a promise of creating a more inclusive and equitable arts and culture community, members will gather from all artistic disciplines, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and abilities to build a better Greater Cleveland. Assembly is led by its mission to convene, coordinate, and collaborate with everyone who lives and works in Greater Cleveland to strengthen and support those in the region who create, present, experience and appreciate all forms of arts and culture. The organization operates with a vision to ensure that everyone who lives and works in Greater Cleveland benefits from a diverse and equitable arts and cultural sector, and recognizes that the arts are an essential, defining element in the quality of life, social fabric, and economic vitality of the region.

Racial Equity Programming for the Arts

Assembly has received generous seed funding to ensure that it is built on the premise of racial equity led by a robust community engagement process. Notably, The George Gund Foundation has provided Assembly with a two-year grant to design and implement a series of programs to increase racial equity throughout the arts and culture industries. Programs will be focused on serving three types of arts entities: artists, creative businesses, and nonprofits. Assembly recognizes that there are a number of exciting and innovative initiatives and alliances forming to address racial equity in arts and culture locally and nationwide. Assembly is seeking a firm through this RFP process to help us understand the scope of the work happening in our local community, the key focus areas of this work needed, and design a program or suite of programs that will fill gaps in racial equity programming. Our goal is to be a complementary partner and elevator of the racial equity work happening in our community.