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Request for Proposals — for the Provision of Professional Consulting Services for Strategic Planning


 ESTUARIO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization responsible for restoring and conserving the quality of the natural waters of the San Juan Bay Estuary and its watershed as a sustainable axis of social and economic development. Established in 1994, we are the only tropical and non-continental location within the National Estuary Program (NEP) under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act. In the mid to late 90s, ESTUARIO’s Management Conference oversaw one of the largest public engagement initiatives ever undertaken in Puerto Rico to develop our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), required as part of the NEP. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved ESTUARIO’s CCMP, and in 2016, its first update.

ESTUARIO’S success can be largely attributed to our integrated, multisectoral and community-led approach to restoring water quality. ESTUARIO recognizes that water quality restoration requires making significant investments and coordinated collaboration between stakeholders at all levels and across all sectors for a sustained amount of time, sometimes decades. In order to ensure the effectiveness, longevity, and sustainability of our efforts to restore and conserve water quality, we put communities at the center of our work. Our projects rely heavily on local partnerships.


 ESTUARIO’s first-ever strategic plan will establish a clear path for how the team will collaborate in the next five years to integrate all current and programmed initiatives into a single narrative that allow us to produce a robust, relevant, and implementable new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP).

Our current CCMP dates to 2016. Before then, we focused primarily on producing scientific data and educating the public within the estuary itself. Since then, we have expanded our purview to cover the entire watershed, especially since the activity up-river has significant and direct impacts on the quality of the water down river.

When Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, the conditions of the estuary and its watershed changed dramatically. ESTUARIO initially helped communities respond to the immediate emergency, monitoring the quality of the waters and clearing debris from waterways, among other activities. Once the situation stabilized, ESTUARIO decided to take a more holistic approach and consider the full emergency management process, supporting communities through preparedness, response, reconstruction, and mitigation. Socio-ecological sustainability and resilience is now the cornerstone of our work to restore and conserve the natural waters.

In the years since Hurricane María, ESTUARIO has undertaken a series of ambitious, strategic projects to assess current socio-ecological conditions, identify progress made and lessons learned, and refine our priorities and actions for the next decade. These projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring and Corrective Program
  • Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (Puerto Rico’s first)
  • Green Infrastructure Master Plan
  • Coastal Resilience
  • CCMP Revision

All of ESTUARIO’s projects are interrelated, presenting an organizational challenge in terms of project formulation and implementation. For example, the Monitoring and Corrective Program provides information that is critical for the development of the Multijurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, which in turn includes strategies from the Green Infrastructure Master Plan and Coastal Resilience projects. The CCMP Revision will consider the data from all projects to identify which specific actions we will include in the revised CCMP.

The CCMP Revision specifically presents a unique opportunity for ESTUARIO. Per Section 320 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), each of the 28 National Estuary Programs (NEPs) must have a CCMP to guide the restoration and conservation efforts in their respective study areas. The primary responsibility of each NEP is to coordinate and measure the implementation of its own CCMP in partnership with the community, state, local, and federal governments, and academia. In order to ensure the plans are relevant and effective overtime, NEPs must update its CCMP every five years, and revise it every 10. The Strategic Plan will enable us to maximize this opportunity, charting a path forward that is timely, relevant, and effective.


Our organization is looking to engage a Strategic Planning Consultant (the «Consultant») person or team to lead us through a strategic planning process. This effort will focus on developing the mission, vision, and plans for the next five years of our organization.

The final Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 will include a report with an executive summary that outlines the following sections:

  • Current Operations
    • Assessment of our current staffing, operations, communications and fundraising practices to establish a basis for the future of the organization by detailing where we are coming from.
  • Strategic Positioning
    • Evaluation of our organizational vision, mission to refine our message by detailing where we are going and clarifying why our work is important and relevant to everyone who lives in the watershed and beyond.
  • Environment (PESTLE – Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental)
    • In-depth look at our context focusing on the overall landscape in which we operate, including but not limited to municipalities, state and federal agencies, regional culture, demographics, and economic projections.
  • Stakeholder Analysis
    • Analysis of the role that stakeholders at all levels play in the success of our organization, including staff, board, donors, volunteers, visitors, community members, etc.
  • Planning
    • Action plan for our operations, communications, fundraising, and any other area of our organization for the next five years.
  • Leadership Challenges
    • List of potential issues that may arise within our leadership.
  • Projected Financials
    • Financial sustainability of the organization and the operations to add insights into needs and opportunities over the next five years.
  • Risk Management
    • Risks within the organization and plans to move forward outlining those risks and measures that can be taken to mitigate them.
  • Short- and Long-Term Goals/Metrics
    • Trackable goals and metrics to help the team assess progress implementing the action plan and its effectiveness.

Ultimately, we are looking for a partner that:

  • Shares our vision for a socio-ecologically sustainable and resilient San Juan Bay Estuary and watershed.
  • Enjoys and has significant experience including diverse communities and stakeholders in the strategic planning process.   
  • Leads us step by step through the strategic planning process, putting pen to paper to our discussions to craft an ambitious yet feasible strategic plan.
  • Helps us assess our work and accomplishments to extract lessons learned and identify challenges and opportunities for advancing our vision across all aspects of the organization.
  • Facilitates brainstorming solutions, identifying common themes, defining unifying strategies, and establishing priorities.
  • Translates the aforementioned information into an integrated, comprehensive action plan with specific goals, objectives, milestones, tasks, deadlines, etc. to begin implementation on October 1, 2022.

The Consultant will be required to attend any and all necessary meetings with ESTUARIO staff to approve the final document.


  • Initial Assessment Report – Made up of information gathered from the interviews, surveys and competitive landscape of the community and peer organizations.
  • Foundational Plan – Made up of the mission, vision and current operations of the organization.
  • Draft Strategic Plan – Integrating in the feedback and information developed from the Initial Findings Report and Foundational Plan the Draft Strategic Plan builds the future of the organization.
  • Final Strategic Plan – Identifies the future of the organization and lines up a clear path to success. Delivered in three formats:
    • A full strategic plan that has great detail
    • A summary strategic plan that is more likely to be read by board members, major donors, etc
    • A presentation format that can be shared with the community, presented to the board or major donors


Issue RFP: December 1, 2021

Required Informational Meeting: December 8, 2021 or December 9, 2021 (Must register in advance)

Questions Due: December 13, 2021

Questions Answered: December 17, 2021

Submission Deadline: December 23, 2021

Selection Announcement: January 4, 2022

Project Start Date: January 11, 2022

Project Deadline: July 15, 2022

Final Presentation to BOD: July 16-31, 2022


  1. Register for one of the two required informational meetings:
    1. Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. AST


    1. Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. AST


  1. Submit any questions via email to [email protected] before December 13, 2021. Please include “Strategic Plan RFP Questions” with the applicant’s name in the subject line.
  2. Submit the proposal via email to [email protected] on or before December 22, 2021. Please include “Strategic Plan Proposal” with the applicant’s name in the subject line and cc [email protected].

The proposal must address the following items in a complete and concise manner:

  1. Organizational Overview
    1. Methodology/philosophy used to facilitate the strategic planning process
    2. Qualifications and relevant experience, highlighting those with National Estuary Programs and/or non-profit organizations
  2. Proposal
    1. Overview
    2. Methodology
    3. Timeline with tasks, meetings, milestones, deliverables, and deadlines to complete the project by the stated deadline.
      1. If a proposal suggests a different deadline than the one stated, it must explicitly show why more or less time is needed.
    4. Team structure, bios, resumes, and time allocation
    5. Metrics and KPIs for reporting the success of the planning process
    6. Description of project fees
    7. Three references, including a summary of the scope of work performed (Ideally similar organizations/similar scopes)
  3. Attachments
    1. Copy of the Department of State certification to do business in Puerto Rico
    2. Certification of compliance with all federal and state laws to conduct business in Puerto Rico

Applicants must comply with all deadlines. No exceptions will be granted. Failure to comply with the requirements of this RFP may result in disqualification.


The Advisory Committee will shortlist the proposals and make the final selection based on the following criteria:

  1. Completeness, comprehensiveness, conciseness, clarity, thoroughness, and professional quality of the proposal
  2. Budget breakdown and total
  3. Timeline scheduling and ability to complete the project by the deadline
  4. Adequacy of technical staff, as demonstrated by experience, education, and project role
  5. Experience successfully managing similar projects, with particular focus on work quality, cost control, and timeliness
  6. Project Manager’s accessibility

The Consultant will be selected based on responses to this RFP and the required informational meeting. ESTUARIO provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics.

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