Support partner for service design and delivery initiative

Application Due
January 21, 2022
Finalist(s) Notified
March 31, 2022

Service design & delivery (SD&D) RFP

The foundation’s Postsecondary Success strategy is committed to a simple and ambitious goal – eliminating race, ethnicity, and income as predictors of student success. Achieving this goal requires commitment from diverse colleges and universities to redesign themselves to become more student-centered and equity-focused, and support from a wide range of organizations with the knowledge and insight to help these institutions in their efforts.

Through initiatives such as Completion by Design and the Frontier Set, we have learned about the power of partner communities (networks) to advance and accelerate change at the campus and system levels. And we have supported the creation of partner communities in areas such as digital teaching and learning, student advising, developmental education, student pathways, and institutional capacity to connect colleges and universities with each other and with subject matter experts to go further, faster in better serving today’s students – especially Black, Latino/a/x, and Indigenous students and students from low-income backgrounds. Our Service Design & Delivery (SD&D) initiative represents an effort to bring together the work of the different partner communities to provide maximum benefit for participating colleges and universities and the students they serve.

Over the next several years, the SD&D team and the partner communities seek to support at least 300 additional colleges and universities in their efforts to boost student outcomes and eliminate disparities in those outcomes. This means strengthening and connecting existing partner communities to provide timely, high-quality resources and guidance that meets institutions where they are on their improvement journeys.

So we are looking for a coordinating partner that can serve as a “backbone” that can connect our SD&D partner communities, focusing on five key functions in support of those communities and the 300+ additional institutions over time:

  1. Supporting implementation of the initiative’s strategy and vision.
  2. Working with the different partner communities to articulate a shared learning agenda. 
  3. Facilitating shared capability building opportunities. 
  4. Acting as an advocate for the needs and perspectives of each partner community and community as a whole.
  5. Enable active engagement of all partner communities.


Funding opportunity

We will identify the backbone partner through an open request for proposals (RFP). The RFP will be released on November 1, 2021; the deadline for proposal submission will be January 21, 2022. The selected organization/partnership will be named in March 2022. The selected partner will begin a two-year grant engagement starting in May 2022.


The selected partner (a single organization or a collaborative of organizations) will have the following qualifications:

  1. Deep understanding of the U.S. higher education landscape
  2. Racial and socioeconomic equity expertise within the context of U.S. higher education landscape
  3. Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as evidenced by representative leadership, project staffing, and other organizational leadership (i.e., board or an advisory group)
  4. Comfort with ambiguity and ability to be agile as the strategy continues to evolve
  5. Ability to build an inclusive network of diverse partners so that they can achieve equitable outcomes for Black, Latino/a/x, Indigenous students, and students from low-income backgrounds
  6. Knowledge of network theory, best practices, and network management
  7. Ability to foster and maintain an action-oriented mindset among network members
  8. The ability to create a culture of, and structures to support, continuous learning of network members and knowledge sharing
  9. Convening design, logistics, and facilitation in support of productive and learning-forward member dialogue.
  10. Experience developing a learning agenda
  11. Experience scoping and overseeing technical assistance providers
  12. Highly effective skills as a communicator, listener, negotiator, problem solver, advocator, and relationship and consensus builder

Learn more

The foundation hosted an informational webinar on Oct 20, 2021, and we will be hosting three office hours to provide information and answer questions about this opportunity and the selection process.

For more information, please consult the Support Partner for SD&D RFP.

For additional information or if you are an applicant requesting for an extension, please contact [email protected].