Request for Proposals

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On January 9, 2019, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) announced planned cuts to program and staff. At the same time, HOBT announced that 2019 will be be the last year that Sandy Spieler leads the artistic process for HOBT’s 45th annual MayDay Celebration, and the last year the organization will produce a MayDay celebration on its own. Details and supporting materials for this announcement are available at

HOBT is looking for assistance creating and facilitating a community engagement process to discern the future of HOBT and MayDay celebration. We are clear that the most important work over the coming months will be listening to our communities and building vision to move us forward in a more resilient way.


Our goal is to engage communities in conversation about what parts of HOBT’s work have been most important, what parts should be carried into the future, and who should be part of shaping and supporting whatever comes next.

Wrapped up in this goal is determining whether HOBT and MayDay will stay on the same path into the future or whether the organization’s future will be less closely connected with MayDay’s future. Thousands of people have literally had a hand in HOBT’s work over the past 45 years. Due to financial and operating challenges, and the opportunity to reimagine MayDay in partnership with our communities, HOBT is ready for change.

Proposal Solicitation

HOBT is seeking a consulting team to design and facilitate a community engagement process. The following activities should be considered; HOBT is open to your recommendations:

  • Identify communities that have felt a sense of ownership of HOBT/MayDay, as well as communities that have felt left out of HOBT/MayDay ownership. For starters, we believe these communities will include:
    • Cultural communities
    • Artistic communities
    • Geographic communities
    • Faith communities
    • Educational communities
    • Units of government
    • Individual donors
    • Institutional Funders
  • Identify what conversation formats are best suited to various communities
  • Identify what information we want to get from conversations
  • Facilitate and documenting conversations
  • Develop a final report

The final work product should include:

  • A summary of the process that was used
  • Identification of themes from conversations
  • A short list of visions for the future of HOBT and MayDay that would have broad support from core constituencies.

The final work product should be complete enough so that it can support next steps of the work, which at this time we believe will include:

  • Developing a business plan for HOBT and/or MayDay.
  • Developing a plan for how the Avalon Theater can be an asset to make a proposed vision possible.
  • Seeking funding for implementation of the plan.
  • Exploring and negotiating partnerships, mergers or other collaborations.

Project Timeline

The work will include designing a timeline, and so the following dates should be considered open to your recommendations.

February 2019:

  • Select top proposals for review
  • Preliminary meetings with HOBT leadership

March 2019

  • Identify stakeholders who will inform process design
  • Process design
  • Detailed Scheduling

April 2019

  • Using the MayDay process to extend invitations to stakeholder groups
  • Develop print and electronic outreach materials
  • Focus group meetings

May 2019

  • May 5: 45th Annual MayDay Parade, Ceremony and Festival
  • Hosting conversation circles on the day of the event
  • Using the existing MayDay evaluation process to gather information
  • Additional focus groups, town hall meetings or other conversations

June 2019

  • Follow-up conversations
  • Final reporting

Submitting Proposals

Submit proposals via e-mail as attachments in .pdf format to HOBT Executive Director Corrie Zoll at [email protected]

Proposal Timeline

HOBT is unaware of how much time is necessary to adequately respond to a request for proposals to do this kind of work. HOBT will begin reviewing proposals immediately, and will will make a selection as soon as we feel we have an adequate pool of qualified proposals. If you are interested in submitting a proposal but feel unable to have all materials submitted by February 1, please contact HOBT to discuss.

Proposal Elements

  • Your proposed scope of work
  • Clear description of project deliverables
  • Cost estimate
  • Examples of similar work
  • Biographical information for each member of the proposed consulting team

Selection Criteria

In order to encourage a wide range of candidates, HOBT will not require specific qualifications to do this work. While we do not expect any candidate to meet every one of the criteria listed below, HOBT will look for proposals that indicate:

  • Familiarity with working with groups that are highly diverse across race, culture, income, age, sexuality, and gender identity.
  • Familiarity with historically white-led organizations working to improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at every level of their work.
  • Familiarity with environmental and social justice work.
  • Familiarity with building structures that include shared ownership.
  • Familiarity with Creative Placemaking, Asset-Based Community Development and other ways that art is used as a tool to connect people across difference.
  • Familiarity with the South Minneapolis neighborhoods surrounding HOBT and the communities present in those neighborhoods.
  • Familiarity with HOBT and MayDay.


HOBT is actively fundraising in support of this project and is confident that funding will be secured. At this time, the project budget is unknown. If a qualified consulting team presents an excellent proposal that is outside the to-be-determined reasonable cost range, HOBT will review with the candidate whether a reduced scope would be effective in accomplishing project goals.

How You Can Help


Letter from Sandy Spieler

18-05-06 S

Frequently Asked Questions


Challenges of Our Field


Equity Statement


Next In Nonprofits Podcast


Full Statement

Photo by Bruce Silcox

Your Input


Request for Proposals

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