Request for Proposals: National Coastal Resilience Fund Technical Field Liaison Support


PROPOSAL DEADLINE: August 2, 2024

 

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks one or two qualified Contractors to provide technical assistance as “field liaisons” to support applicants and grantees engaged in advancing the use of nature-based solutions to improve coastal resilience for the National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF) and other associated NFWF grant programs. The objective for field liaison support is to advance the goals of the NCRF, improve grantee and applicant experience, and increase the number and quality of proposals submitted to the program. The contractor will provide support for one-year (with the option to renew for an additional year) and report to Mirjam Kuzee, Program Director, Coastal Resilience. 

BACKGROUND

The National Coastal Resilience Fund is a program that NFWF administers in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and private sector partners. The program's purpose is to invest in nature-based solutions with the dual goals of increasing communities' resilience from current and future threats from coastal hazards and improving habitats for fish and wildlife. NFWF administers the NCRF as a national grants program focused on funding projects within the coastal areas of U.S. coastal states, including the Great Lakes states, and U.S. territories and Tribal lands. Through the NCRF, NFWF invests in projects that advance nature-based solutions – such as restoring coastal marshes and forests, reconnecting floodplains, rebuilding dunes and other natural buffers, or installing living shorelines. NCRF aims to fund projects across the following priorities:

  1. Reducing current and projected threats to communities from coastal hazards (including sea-level and lake-level changes, flooding, erosion, increased frequency and/or intensity of storms, and impacts from other chronic and episodic factors such as nuisance flooding during high tides, permafrost melt, etc.) while benefiting habitats and wildlife species through nature-based solutions.
  2. Providing risk reduction or job creation benefits to underserved or Tribal communities (both federally recognized Tribes and those not federally recognized) and that directly engage community members in project design and implementation. NFWF is interested in identifying projects that are informed by Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK), that promote Tribal co-stewardship, that protect or enhance habitat for subsistence species, and/or that contribute to Tribal food security.
  3. Approaches addressing coastal hazards that have one or more of the following characteristics: sustainable, adaptive, transferrable, innovative, scalable. 

NFWF funds projects in four categories designed to advance projects through a “project pipeline,” including: 

  • Community Capacity Building and Planning
  • Site Assessment and Preliminary Design
  • Final Design and Permitting 
  • Restoration Implementation 

For more information about the Program, please visit our website and review the 2024 Request for Proposals, as well as past grants awarded at: https://www.nfwf.org/programs/national-coastal-resilience-fund

The NCRF is expected to continue to grow significantly in terms of funding levels, the number and size of projects, the reach and audience of the program, and the number of applicants exploring nature-based solutions for coastal resilience. Therefore, the need for effective field support has also grown. NFWF seeks one or two contractors to serve as “field liaisons” for the NCRF to: (1) assist applicants in developing high quality proposals that are aligned with NFWF’s priorities, (2) help communities design and move through the project pipeline, and (3) help troubleshoot grant implementation. 

The NCRF is a national program, and a contractor should be prepared to provide support to practitioners throughout the program footprint working on a variety of nature-based solutions; however, offerors should highlight if they have a particular expertise in certain regions of the NCRF footprint or in particular aspects of nature-based solutions for coastal resilience. NFWF priority regions for field liaison coverage include the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Great Lakes, New England, U.S. territories, Tribes, underserved communities, and defense communities and contractors with experience, networks and expertise working in these regions and with these groups will be prioritized.

QUALIFICATIONS 

To assist in the successful implementation of the National Coastal Resilience Fund, this RFP is seeking one or two qualified organizations or entities to serve as independent contractor(s) to NFWF with the following qualifications:

  • Five to seven years’ experience working directly with coastal resilience-related programs or initiatives. Expertise in designing, implementing, or evaluating nature-based solutions for mitigating coastal hazards and improving habitat for fish and wildlife is preferred. Experience with inclusion of local and traditional knowledge is an asset. 
  • Experience working in a variety of coastal jurisdictions and advising federal, state, local, territorial, or Tribal government agencies, and specific experience in priority regions and geographies is preferred.
  • Specific experience working with or engaging diverse stakeholder groups, underserved communities, and/or Tribal communities especially as it pertains to capacity building. Specific experience providing technical support to organizations to develop project ideas and troubleshoot implementation barriers. 
  • Experience designing and implementing effective engagement and outreach approaches, convening practitioners, and translating complex information for a variety of audiences with different skill and competency levels.
  • Understanding of federal grant requirements, including terms and conditions associated with federal funding sources.
  • Strong project management and reporting skills, including the ability to flexibly manage and adapt to changing project needs. 

SCOPE OF WORK

NFWF seeks one or two qualified Contractors to develop and implement a work plan designed to advance the goals of the NCRF, improve grantee and applicant experience, and increase the number and quality of proposals submitted to the program. The following tasks constitute the Scope of Work for this Request for Proposals. The selected Contractor(s) will be expected to work on all tasks and participate in check-in calls every two weeks with NFWF staff throughout the duration of the project period of performance. Please provide time and cost quotes for each task using the Contractor Budget Template provided. For each task, deliverables and timelines must be clearly stated. NFWF anticipates the level of effort not to exceed half-time, a not-to-exceed cost will be negotiated upon award with each selected Contractor.

  • Task 1: Identify and grow opportunities for new NCRF applicants – Conduct outreach to key stakeholder groups and assist potential applicants in priority geographies to help them understand NFWF funding priorities, develop NCRF project concepts, identify potential partnerships, and identify funding opportunities for matching funds. Conduct surveys, site visits when needed and agreed on with NCRF staff, and present on the NCRF at selected events and conferences. Carry out outreach to existing grantees to help them advance to the next phases of the project pipeline for future grant cycles. 
  • Task 2: Troubleshoot challenges with applicants and grantees – Provide technical assistance to applicants and grantees to help them trouble-shoot potential challenges with project design and implementation (e.g., provide technical assistance and guidance on the develop of project ideas, budgets, and application materials; support onboarding of new grantees to NFWF grant management systems and requirements, etc.).
  • Task 3: Support NCRF Proposal Review – Assist in reviewing select grant proposals for annual funding opportunities. Written review is anticipated for approximately 100 pre-proposals (~2-3 pages) and 50 full proposals (~10 pages, not including attachments, such as engineering and design documents) per year. 
  • Task 4: General support to the NCRF Program – Support efforts to distill lessons learned and capture success stories from outreach and engagement with grantees, including site visits, conferences and by reviewing project reports and assessments, and summarizing project case studies or other products, among other activities.

Deliverables – 

  • Work Plan: Comprehensive plan detailing timelines, outreach strategies, and engagement plan for each task
  • Communication plan: Plan outlining the bi-weekly check-in calls and reporting mechanism
  • Project management system setup: Describing the tools for task tracking, reporting and communication 
  • Semiannual written and ongoing verbal progress reports
  • Monthly short and concise reports on outreach and engagement activities
  • Final report with lessons learned at 1 year contract completion
  • Written reviews of grant (pre-)proposals
  • Other deliverables as called for by the proposed Scope of Work and contractor’s proposed technical approach, e.g. survey for grantees

These deliverables may be expanded or refined during the contract negotiation. Close coordination with NFWF and integration of feedback is expected. 

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Proposals must be submitted under the same cover at the same time, in three distinctly labeled and separate documents: 1) Technical Proposal, 2) Budget, and 3) Evidence of Financial Stability. E-mail a Word version of your submission to NFWF (Alex Pageotte, NCRF@nfwf.org). In the subject line, please indicate Response to RFP for Technical Liaisons for the NCRF – [name of respondent]. 

Submissions must meet the requirements below: 

  1. Technical Proposal (twenty (20) pages total):
    • Format: Proposals must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF with a font size no smaller than 11 pt.
    • Narrative: Address each item in the “Submission Outline” section, below. Limit your submission to a maximum of ten (10) pages (not including resumes). Please limit supplementary materials to only those requested below. (NFWF may contact respondents as necessary for any additional information.)
    • Resumes: Attach CVs or Resumes of key staff. Please limit attached resumes to no more than ten (10) one-page resumes, each a single-sided page. Licenses and other certifications should be noted as part of your submission, but copies are not required at this time. 
  2. Budget: Please provide a proposed budget with cost quotes for deliverables under each Task, include hourly rates for proposed job classifications and, if available, audited overhead rates. The proposed budget should itemize work in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the entire funding request. You must use the attached Contractor Budget Template. Please include the proposed budget for equipment purchase in the proposal. Please highlight any non-profit discounts on the services you provide. NFWF will not allow any markups for sub-contracts or other direct costs, although project management costs for staff to perform sub-contract management are allowable. NFWF anticipates awarding up to two contracts under this RFP, not to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold.
  3. Evidence of Financial Stability: The applicant shall provide with the RFP response, proof of financial stability in the form of financial statements, credit ratings, a line of credit, or other financial arrangements sufficient to demonstrate the applicant’s capability to meet the requirements of this RFP. Evidence of financial stability will not have an impact on the evaluation of the applicants. 

Submissions must be e-mailed no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on August 2, 2024.

SUBMISSION OUTLINE

Technical Proposal – Your description, in no more than twenty (20) pages (including resume attachments) of your and/or your organization’s qualifications should include the following elements:

  1. Contact information.  Please provide a Primary Contact Person, Entity Name, Address, Phone, E-mail, Website, and EIN or SSN    
  2. General Organization Description.  Please provide a general description of your organization including practice areas, geographic service areas, approximate number of clients, and length of time in business. If your application includes team members or sub-consultants, please provide the requested profile information for all key personnel and team members and indicate the lead entity responsible for contract management and quality of deliverables.
  3. Technical Approach.  Provide a narrative demonstrating your understanding of the goals and objectives of the National Coastal Resilience Fund, coastal resilience challenges and nature-based solutions, potential administrative challenges facing NCRF applicants and grantees, including any geographic differences in risks and approaches, key stakeholders and partners engaging in coastal resilience initiatives, and the policy landscape for promoting nature-based solutions. Describe the technical approach, concise deliverables and overall strategy you would take for implementing the Tasks listed in the Scope of Work. Describe how you will communicate with NFWF and program stakeholders and report on progress, results, and deliverables. 
  4. Expertise and past experience. List the type(s) of services your organization provides relating to the specified Qualifications and your expertise in these areas. Please detail your experience in providing services similar to those called for in this RFP. List recent (last five years) projects and previous services related to the expertise you are describing.
  5. Key staff.  Provide names and brief biographies of key staff. Describe key staff’s training and experience to successfully implement the Tasks called for in the Scope of Work and relevant to those listed in the Qualifications section.
  6. Team management and quality assurance/ quality control. Describe how the lead entity will manage the team (if applicable). Please describe quality assurance and control procedures that will be used to ensure your team’s work meets professional standards and how invoicing will be performed to ensure contract compliance.
  7. References and past performance.  Describe three past engagements conducting similar work for NFWF or other organizations, including the specific tasks and deliverables completed and how those engagements will prepare your team to ensure delivery of quality work, on time and on budget, if awarded this contract. Include contact information (names, emails addresses, and telephone numbers) for three client references relevant to the services described. 
  8. Resumes. Attach resumes of key staff as appropriate. Please limit attached resumes to no more than 10 one-page resumes, each a single-sided page. Licenses and other certifications should be noted as part of your submission, but copies are not required at this time.

SELECTION PROCESS AND CRITERIA

A panel of NFWF staff will review the full proposals. Offerors may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets prior to final approval of the award. Up to two contracts may be made for this project. If multiple institutions are involved in one application, they should be handled through sub-awards and sub-contracts.  

Failure to include all materials outlined above may cause a submission to be deemed non-responsive.  NFWF will give priority consideration to respondents that demonstrate the following in a fully responsive submission:

  1. Understanding of the Scope or Work. The proposed Technical Approach must demonstrate considerable experience working in a variety of coastal settings and jurisdictions, with specific expertise supporting coastal resilience initiatives and/or nature-based solutions for mitigating coastal hazards and improving habitat for fish and wildlife. The proposed Technical Approach must demonstrate an understanding of the NCRF goals and objectives, the coastal resilience challenges facing NCRF grantees and applicants, the key players and stakeholders in the coastal resilience field, and the policy landscape affecting implementation of nature-based projects. Preference will be given to Offerors with specific experience working with Tribes, underserved, and/or defense communities. Weight: 20%
  2. Technical Approach. Offeror should clearly describe their proposed technical approach and deliverable for successfully implementing the Scope of Work described in the RFP and ensuring the success of NCRF grant investments and overall program strategy. Weight: 20%
  3. Budget and Cost Effectiveness. Preference will be given to Offerors who can provide high quality services at an affordable cost. Budgets should be based on deliverables for each task. Weight: 20%
  4. Qualification of Proposed Personnel and Capacity to Deliver Services. Preference will be given to Offerors that bring a team with the training and experience detailed in the Qualifications section and the requisite experience necessary to successfully implement the Tasks detailed in the Scope of Work. Offerors must demonstrate they have sufficient staff and other resources, a degree of flexibility in how and where services are delivered, and an ability to tailor content and delivery methods to meet the specific needs of the NCRF and key stakeholder groups. Weight: 20%
  5. Contractor’s Past Performance. Offerors must demonstrate significant expertise and experience as exhibited by delivery of multiple directly relevant projects in areas described in this RFP, in consideration of the quality of deliverables, timeliness, cost controls, and client references.  Weight: 20%

SUBMISSION DEADLINES 

July 9, 2024 RFP Released
July 16, 2024 Deadline for questions about the solicitation to NFWF. 
Offerors should submit questions regarding this solicitation via email to Alex Pageotte (NCRF@nfwf.org). NFWF will post all the questions and responses to all questions online so that all offerors have access to them at the same time. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be received by NFWF no later than 5:00 PM on July 16, 2024.
 
July 23, 2024 NFWF response to questions about the solicitation. NFWF will post the questions submitted regarding the solicitation and responses on the NFWF website.
August 2, 2024 Deadline for receipt by NFWF of proposals. 
Proposals must be received electronically as an email attachment to Alex Pageotte (NCRF@nfwf.org) by 5:00 PM ET on August 2, 2024. Proposals must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.
 
End of August 2024                         Interviews with selected finalists
September 2024 Contract awarded to selected offeror

 

 

 

 

 

ELIGIBLE CONTRACTORS & CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT

Eligible offerors include institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, international organizations, and local, state and Indian Tribal governments. Small and minority businesses, and women's business enterprises are strongly encouraged to apply.

By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the offeror warrants and represents that it does not currently have any apparent or actual conflict of interest, as described herein.  In the event an offeror currently has, will have during the life of the contemplated contract, or becomes aware of an apparent or actual conflict of interest, in the event an award is made, the offeror must notify NFWF in writing in the proposal, or in subsequent correspondence (if the issue becomes known after the submission of the proposal) of such apparent or actual conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest.  Conflicts of interest include any relationship or matter which might place the contractor, the contractor’s employees, or the contractor’s subcontractors in a position of conflict, real or apparent, between their responsibilities under the award and any other outside interests, or otherwise.  Conflicts of interest may also include, but are not limited to, direct or indirect financial interests, close personal relationships, positions of trust in outside organizations, consideration of future employment arrangements with a different organization, or decision-making affecting the award that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the impartiality of the offeror, the offeror’s employees, or the offeror’s future subcontractors in the matter.  Upon receipt of such a notice, the NFWF Contracting Officer will determine if a conflict of interest exists and, if so, if there are any possible actions to be taken by the offeror to reduce or resolve the conflict.  Failure to resolve conflicts of interest in a manner that satisfies NFWF may result in the proposal not being selected for award.  


By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the Offeror warrants and represents that it is eligible for award of a Contract resulting from this solicitation and that it is not subject to any of the below circumstances:
Has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an Contract with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or 
Was convicted (or had an officer or agent of such corporation acting on behalf of the corporation convicted) of a felony criminal violation under any Federal or State law within the preceding 24 months, where the awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
Is listed on the General Services Administration’s, government-wide System for Award Management Exclusions (SAM Exclusions), in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 C.F.R Part 180 that implement E.O.s 12549 (3 C.F.R., 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 C.F.R., 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension, ” or intends to enter into any subaward, contract or other Contract using funds provided by NFWF with any party listed on the SAM Exclusions in accordance with Executive Orders 12549 and 12689. The SAM Exclusions instructions can be found here: https://www.sam.gov/SAM/ 
 

REQUESTING ORGANIZATION: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), 1625 Eye Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006

CONTACTS: Alex Pageotte; Alex.Pageotte@nfwf.org