Request for Proposal: Three-Year Strategic Plan


The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) seeks a consultant to support the Board of Directors, staff and stakeholders in a strategic planning process to create a threeyear strategic plan to guide the administrative and programmatic direction of the organization. The consultant will work with a Strategic Planning Team made up of 67 members of the Board, staff and memberleaders to craft and implement the strategic plan process. The target is to have the strategic plan finalized by the end of April 2023.

When completed, the plan should identify overall and specific impact outcomes, programming
objectives, fundraising goals, and support infrastructure for the organization to advance its overall mission.

Specific Deliverables

We are requesting a consultant to engage with us for a sixmonth period to conduct the following planrelated outreach and strategydevelopment activities:

Conduct an internal and external survey to evaluate JCUA’s current initiatives and successes in pursuit of its mission and conduct a general SWOT analysis of internal and external perceptions of the organization.

Facilitate focus groups, interviews and planning meetings, providing leadership, direction and expert consultation and advice related to the development of the plan, including guidance on initial implementation strategies.

Establish a framework and process for the organization’s leadership to effectively implement
the strategic plan and monitor progress toward achievement of goals and objectives.

Develop a timetable of implementation with specific measurable benchmarks and tasks to be accomplished to achieve goals.

As part of these planning activities, we are looking to the consultant to help our stakeholders align around:

Identifying priority areas for growth and development to advance JCUA’s mission in ways that are consistent and sustainable with JCUA’s spirit and legacy record of working for transformative change.

Determining how best to align strategic planning objectives with other goals and initiatives that are currently underway including the deepening of JCUA’s racial justice commitment as well as infrastructure and communications initiatives that are currently underway.

The above activities are recommendations but we also want to provide leeway for the consultant to propose a process / approach that they feel works best for our organization, based on their expertise and experiences.

The final deliverable should be a clear strategic planning roadmap, accompanied by a strategic planning timeline, implementation and evaluation methodology.


The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) combats poverty, racism, and antisemitism in partnership with Chicago’s diverse communities. Inspired and guided by Jewish values, we organize a Jewish constituency to partner and ally with communities directly impacted by systemic oppression to build a city and state where everyone can flourish. Our work includes four central program areas: 1) Issuebased Campaigns and Community Organizing; 2) Youth Organizing and Engagement; 3) Community Development, and 4) Advancing Racial Equity. To achieve our mission, JCUA develops and mobilizes a base of individuals and institutions within the Jewish community who become engaged as members, leaders and donors in campaigns, activities, and programs.

More background on JCUA’s history and community organizing model can be found on our website,

Highlights of the Last Strategic Plan 20192022

In 2014, JCUA shifted how we work to center our work around community organizing. In order to bring about this organizational shift, we initially pared down several of our programmatic outreach efforts in order to better understand the capacity and potential of our growing vision for membership. When we embarked on our strategic plan in 2018, it was with an eye towards articulating JCUA’s values, methodology, and how we are seeking to pursue and achieve impact.

Through that process, leaders and staff affirmed six core values that underpin our work: Justice, Judaism, Partnership, Systemic Change, Collective Responsibility, and Racial Equity. From these values emerged four core areas of work: Organizational Identity; Growth, Reach and Visibility; Engagement; and Leadership. JCUA made significant advances in all of these areas, noting that an everchanging environment of policy, politics, organizing, and social movements require that JCUA be dynamic, flexible and responsive in its quest for transformative change.

Through our work on the previous strategic plan and the successful deepening of engagement of our members, we now see great potential for membership expansion and organizational growth. We will be looking to this strategic plan for an articulation of what’s possible within those realms.

Scope of Project

We request that the consultants lead us through a process in which the following areas of organizational impact are explored:

Positioning: What is the unique value that JCUA adds to our city and region?

Mission: Does our mission continue to reflect our purpose and aspirations?

Organizational Language: Does our organizational name and core message adequately convey our organizational direction?

Financial Sustainability: What strategies need to be in place to sustain and grow our capacity and impact?

Organizational Alignment: How do we allocate our resources across program areas? Are our programs keeping pace with our appetite for transformative change, and are they rightsized?

Outcomes & Achievements: Do we have a clear sense of direction and appropriate benchmarks for measuring our success?



JCUA is committed to being an antiracist and equitable organization and strives to incorporate
equity throughout our programs and organizational processes. Furthermore, JCUA is committed to dismantling systemic racism and existing norms that undermine these goals. The selected strategic planning consultant may be asked to coordinate work with JCUA’s Director of Antiracism and Equity and/or our racial justice consultant with respect to our ongoing work on equity in an effort to ensure that JCUA’s strategic plan reflects our values and goals.


We request that the submitted proposal demonstrate:

An understanding of the work to be performed, estimated hours, and other pertinent information.

Consulting entity description, size, and structure.

Qualifications of all staff to be assigned to the project specifying the project manager.

Resumes of staff to be assigned to the project. We request that the vendor not subcontract out any of the work without the preapproval of the subcontractor by JCUA.

Cost estimate for the proposed Scope of Work, and any other projectrelated costs

List of 3 references and examples of similar projects

We have budgeted $15,000 to $18,000 for consulting services to create the plan. Proposals will be accepted through October 10, 2022. We are aiming for the plan to be completed by March 1, 2023 and we expect it to take approximately 4 months to complete. Please contact Judy Levey, JCUA Executive Director, at with questions.



Consultants should be experienced in working with organizations in the development of a
responsive multiyear strategic plan. In addition, experience working with organizations that
use a community organizing model, Chicago nonprofits, and organizations that work on racial
and economic justice is preferred. The intent of the Request for Proposal is to garner proposals from qualified strategic planning consultants to work in partnership with JCUA’s Strategic Planning Committee, the JCUA Board, the JCUA staff and community stakeholders. The selected consultant will work directly with the Strategic Planning Committee and the Executive Committee of the Board to ensure all activities in this project are completed.