Request for Proposal - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant

November 9, 2021


Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS) is committed to maintaining continuous improvement in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and understands that the creation and maintenance of a truly equitable and supportive work environment takes high-level, impactful decision making guided by experts in the field. PSLS is seeking an experienced DEI Consultant to work with PSLS leadership and Board Members to evaluate our current policies and practices as they relate to workplace equity, and provide guidance on the creation of a permanent DEI leadership position within PSLS.

PSLS has historically focused the majority of its DEI and racial justice efforts externally in considering how systemic prejudice affects our clients, who are some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. However, PSLS recognizes that in order to best serve our clients, we need to provide all of our employees with a supportive and equitable work environment that celebrates their unique characteristics and authenticities. This project is the next step in our DEI work, specifically bringing in a DEI consultant to assist us with taking a critical look at our policies and procedures, and creating an improvement action plan including deciding whether to create a permanent DEI position at Prairie State and what that position would look like.

About PSLS

Prairie State Legal Services is a not for profit civil legal aid organization that provides free legal help to people who need it most and can afford it least. The availability of civil legal aid can make all the difference to our neighbors who are fighting to stay in their homes, escape domestic violence, secure benefits for Veterans or people with disabilities, or address many other legal challenges that go to the heart of their security and well-being.

Approximately 690,000 people in our 36-county service area live in poverty. They are from rural communities, suburban areas, and mid-size urban cities which necessitates the development of diverse strategies and creative approaches to reach them and serve their needs. PSLS has served northern and central Illinois for more than 40 years, maintains 11 office locations, and has a staff of nearly 200 employees and a Board of Directors with 21 members.

Project Description

We envision that this project will take place over the course of 6-12 months, and will start with the consultant conducting a comprehensive DEI assessment of the entire organization, then proceed to the consultant sharing their findings with PSLS leadership, assisting us in interpreting the data and findings from the assessment, making recommendations based on their interpretation of our most pressing needs, and assisting with establishing priorities for the steps to follow. Finally, we will ask that the consultant assist us in determining whether a permanent DEI staff position is appropriate for PSLS, and if so, assist us in determining the priorities and designing the position.

Additionally, PSLS is about to experience some significant leadership changes, and has put together a Transition Committee composed of staff, board members, and stakeholders with a variety of demographic backgrounds which will guide the leadership transition, including examining internal policies, procedures, and organizational hierarchy and making decisions for the future of PSLS. Although PSLS created the plan to hire a DEI Consultant prior to embarking on the leadership transition, we recognize that as part of the transition process it is imperative to examine the DEI implications of current policies and proposed changes. Therefore, we expect that the consultant will provide guidance and recommendations to the Transition Committee as part of the overall project.


  • Experience providing diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning and training, and a professional reputation of having successfully implemented the same.
  • Experience working with nonprofits and/or law firms.
  • The ability to provide effective facilitation in small and mid-sized groups
  • An understanding of organizational management strategies and tools, and experience successfully implementing organization procedures and organizational change.
  • The ability to think deeply about organizational culture and turn that thinking and analysis into actionable plans that can be implemented to achieve concrete success in meeting our diversity, equity, and inclusiveness goals.

Desired Deliverables

  • Assessment of the current state of our organization’s work on DEI, including review of the strategic plan and other internal policy documents and a review of the services we are providing to clients
  • Staff satisfaction survey targeting equity and inclusion issues
  • Presentation to PSLS leadership that details the findings of the assessment along with a list of recommendations that might address:
    • necessary training for PSLS employees and leadership
    • how to recruit a more diverse board and workforce
    • how to create and maintain an inclusive work environment
    • how to deliver client services in a way that promotes inclusion and equity
    • whether to create a permanent DEI position at PSLS, and what that would look like
  • Possibly conduct an all-staff training on February 11, 2022, depending on the consultant’s availability and assessment of the organization’s need for training

Estimated Project Timeline

RFP released: November 2, 2021

Bid submissions due: November 30, 2021

Bid selection and notification: December 17, 2021

Work begins: January 10, 2022

How to Apply

Please send RFP responses and inquiries to with the subject line “DEI Proposal.” We welcome proposals at all price points. Please feel free to offer a phased proposal or menu of options.

Submission of interest, including all items outlined in this RFP, must be submitted by November 30, 2021.

Response Requirements

  • Describe you/your firm’s capabilities. Specifically, include your experience working with nonprofits, law firms, and/or legal aid organizations, and your ability to provide each of the desired deliverables.
  • Provide a project outline and timeline.
  • Provide your proposed fee, with detailed information about what expenses will be covered by the fee, and any variable expenses (e.g. travel reimbursement).
  • List the principal consultants who will work directly on each component of this project, as well as their qualifications.
  • Provide a client list, highlighting successful diversity, equity, and inclusion plan development and implementation.
  • Provide three references from past clients.
  • Include any additional information you deem pertinent to consultant selection.
  • Consultants must be willing to sign confidentiality agreement binding all work on this project.