Request for Proposals for Strategic Planning Consultant

Responses due by noon, March 6, 2020

About the Golden LEAF Foundation

In 1999, the North Carolina General Assembly established The Golden (Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation), Inc. (“Golden LEAF”) to administer funds received by the state under the Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco manufacturers. Golden LEAF is governed by Articles of Incorporation that were approved by the General Assembly. For twenty years, Golden LEAF has used its funds to build economic opportunity across North Carolina through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

Golden LEAF focuses on funding projects that address critical issues facing rural, tobacco dependent, and economically distressed communities in North Carolina, including educating students and training workers to meet the demands of today’s employers; constructing critical infrastructure necessary to create jobs and expand industry; addressing needs of the agriculture community and developing new markets and opportunities for North Carolina farmers; and, awarding scholarships to students from rural communities to attend both two- and four-year schools. Since 2016, Golden LEAF has also administered funding from the state to assist communities suffering damage from hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian. A complete list of Golden LEAF’s grants is available here: Golden LEAF also manages the investment of its corpus, and uses the income from its investments and state appropriations to fund its grantmaking.

Golden LEAF is governed by a 15-member board of directors that is appointed by the North Carolina Governor, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tem of the Senate. Its staff of 18 is led by President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton, who joined Golden LEAF as its third president in November 2019. Golden LEAF’s office is in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Request for Proposals

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors is seeking proposals from qualified consultants to guide Golden LEAF through a data-driven, participatory strategic planning process that will create an ambitious but achievable five-year strategic plan that Golden LEAF can implement. The plan should help Golden LEAF develop specific goals, strategies, and tactics and identify resources necessary to pursue them but include flexibility to allow the Foundation to respond to unforeseen opportunities and challenges.

Download the pdf version of the RFP by clicking here.

Scope of Work

While Golden LEAF seeks the consultant’s recommendations regarding an effective process to create an actionable strategic plan, Golden LEAF expects the strategic planning process to include at least the following elements:

  • Work session with Golden LEAF to shape the planning process
  • Interviews with Golden LEAF Board and staff members
  • Focus groups with individuals and organizations engaged in work relevant to Golden LEAF’s mission (8-10 sessions)
  • Regional meetings to provide opportunity for community input
  • One-on-one interviews with key external leaders and partners
  • Electronic survey(s) of stakeholders, e.g. applicants and grantees
  • Work session with Golden LEAF staff to discuss findings and potential elements of the strategic plan
  • Work session with the Golden LEAF Board to discuss findings and staff feedback and to reach consensus on the elements of the strategic plan
  • Research to validate key assumptions underlying the strategic plan
  • Preparation of a strategic plan document, including writing, editing, and layout of the document and opportunities to incorporate suggestions of Golden LEAF staff and Board
  • Additional or different elements of the strategic planning process recommended by the consultant and agreed to by Golden LEAF

Golden LEAF seeks a consultant with demonstrated experience successfully developing strategic plans for not-for-profit, governmental, and/or philanthropic organizations and familiar with some or all of the areas of economic development, workforce preparedness, and agriculture. The consultant should also have experience working with organizations that serve rural and economically distressed communities.

The consultant will also possess the following qualifications:

  • Experience gathering and utilizing data to inform the strategic planning process
  • Understanding of considerations arising from Golden LEAF’s unique origins and organizational structure
  • Strong facilitation skills
  • Ability to solicit input from individuals from various sectors
  • Willingness to constructively challenge key stakeholders
  • Knowledge regarding marketing, communications, and branding

Proposals must include the following:

1) Workplan: Provide a detailed description of the activities to be conducted by the consultant in order to complete the requested scope of work, including:

  • Specific activities to be conducted
  • A timeline for the activities at each stage
  • Milestones and deliverables tied to those activities

2) Consultant qualifications and roles: Describe the consultant’s qualifications to conduct the RFP scope of work activities, including expertise, knowledge, and experience conducting similar or related work.
3) Previous work product: Include at least two examples of written work similar to the strategic plan requested by this RFP.
4) References: Include three references of individuals or organizations who can address comparable strategic planning done by the consultant.
5) Personnel: Provide information about the key personnel, whether employees of the consultant or contractors, that the consultant expects to be directly involved in the strategic planning process and descriptions of their roles and qualifications. If a group or affiliation of consultants will conduct the strategic planning process, indicate which consultant will have primary responsibility for implementation of the work and activities each consultant will conduct.
6) Budget/cost proposal: Include a detailed budget for the entire project and each major component of the project.

  • February 7, 2020—RFP issued
  • March 6, 2020—Deadline for submission (see below for details)
  • March 11, 2020 (approximate)—Finalists selected
  • March 26, 2020 (approximate)—Interviews with finalists in person in Rocky Mount, NC
  • April 1, 2020 (approximate)—Selection of consultant complete and contract start date
  • December 2020—Strategic plan complete
Proposal Evaluation

Golden LEAF will select the proposal that it feels will deliver the highest quality deliverables at the best value. The decision will be made through a competitive process that includes a number of factors such as:

  • Qualifications of consultant
  • Demonstrated understanding of the objectives of this strategic planning process
  • A workplan that details project activities, milestones, and deliverables
  • Budget that includes detail regarding costs anticipated for each stage of the workplan
  • Background in strategic planning
  • Background in subject areas relevant to Golden LEAF’s work
  • Background and experience working with rural and/or economically distressed communities
  • Quality of writing and prior strategic plans provided as samples
  • Demonstrated ability to use technology to solicit input from stakeholders
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Cost effectiveness of proposal

Complete proposals are due by NOON Eastern time on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Proposals must be submitted by e-mail in .pdf format to Ted Lord at Submission by mail, fax, or any method other than e-mail to the address above will not be accepted.

It is the responsibility of the respondent to ensure that Golden LEAF received the submission.


Inquiries concerning this RFP should be submitted to Ted Lord, Senior Vice President/Staff Attorney, by Friday, February 28, 2020, at

Additional Information

1) All costs incurred in responding to this RFP are the responsibility of the respondent and will not be reimbursed by Golden LEAF.
2) Golden LEAF will negotiate a written contract with the candidate selected to conduct this strategic planning process.
3) Golden LEAF is subject to the North Carolina General Statutes regarding public records. North Carolina’s public records laws open to public inspection most of the records, including e-mails and other electronic communications, in Golden LEAF’s possession. Information regarding certain exceptions to required disclosure of public records applicable to Golden LEAF is available here:


Posted 2-7-2020

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