Request for DEIJA Facilitation Support

Apr 1, 2024

Request for Proposals: Facilitation Services for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA) Initiatives

Deadline for Submissions: Please submit your application no later than Friday, April 26th, 2024, to Rebecca Roth, Executive Director of NERRA, at

National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) seeks facilitation services to support a National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility (DEIJA) Workgroup and inform a Strategic Plan for the Reserve System. 

Context: The Reserve System is a network of 30 coastal sites designated to protect and study estuarine systems in collaboration with, and in service to, their surrounding communities. Established through the Coastal Zone Management Act, the System represents a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states. Reserves work to support ecosystem health through a holistic understanding—one that recognizes the interconnections between people and the biological and physical pieces that make up an ecosystem. Through collaborative stewardship, research, and education efforts with local and regional partners, the Reserve System aims to engage a broad variety of perspectives, including Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations.

NERRA is a nonprofit established in 1987 to advance the work of the Reserve System. Reserves and their friends groups rely on NERRA to strengthen the national network, help Reserves address the challenges facing estuaries and coastal communities, and communicate the impactful work being done at reserves.

 Over the past several years, members of the Reserve System, NERRA, and NOAA have come together in a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility Workgroup to define these terms, identify ways to increase learning, build a culture of inclusion, and develop a vision to focus these efforts in specific areas and infuse related principles throughout our work. This comes at a time when the Reserve System is updating its five-year strategic plan. This prompts us to clarify the workgroup’s role in fostering inclusion and belonging within the Reserve System and the Reserves’ role as we work to do the same within the communities we engage to improve the health and vitality of estuarine ecosystems and coastal communities.

The successful applicant will provide support for three interrelated tasks and associated deliverables:

1) Facilitate and engage the NERRS-NERRA DEIJA workgroup as they strive to support a culture of tolerance and understanding and move toward acceptance and appreciation as outlined in the “Cultural Humility and Awareness” continuum. We hope this lays the groundwork for successful strategic planning which includes good communication, facilitation, and skill building.

This work will result in a co-developed document that articulates the purpose and outcomes of the workgroup and its sub-teams, its culture and decision making processes; communication pathways and coordination with NOAA, NERRA, and other Reserve groups and programs; team skills in collaboration, co-creation, and navigating challenges; and a description of success based on the underlying logic of the workgroup. The facilitator will assist in building a safe space that encourages group/system trust, respect for group members, and progress toward a culture of inclusion and belonging.

This will include workgroup meeting facilitation. It may also include observing sub-focus area meetings, and meeting individually with workgroup members and leadership from NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management to help support facilitation and development of tools to lead the workgroup forward.

2) Co-develop tools and skills to empower the workgroup. The facilitator will coach the workgroup on how to build skills, including frameworks for decision making and how to have challenging conversations; the development of charters and other team purpose documents; communicating across differences; the creation of work plans that align on outcomes and timelines; and establishing team norms, expectations, purpose, goals, and roles. 

3) Support the workgroup as it engages with the NERRS strategic planning committee to ensure DEIJA objectives and actions are incorporated throughout the strategic planning process and DEIJA metrics are used to measure plan success. This work will include review of draft plan language to ensure it embodies DEIJA principles and help identify areas where Reserve System energy and impact is most appropriate.


  • Co-developed document that articulates purpose and outcomes of workgroup and sub-teams, culture and decision making processes; communication pathways, and coordination with NOAA, NERRA and with other NERR groups/sectors
  • Co-developed tools and skills to help the team progress effectively in its work
  • Review of, and comments on, the NERRS strategic plan in consultation with the strategic planning team and the DEIJA workgroup.

Period of Performance is variable and extendable.

  • Base Period June 2024 – November/December 2024
  • Base Period December 2024/January 2025-May/June 2025

Additional Information

  • For questions regarding the proposal, please contact Rebecca Roth ( and Erica Seiden ( )
  • All proposals should be submitted by April 26, 2024

Proposal Requirements

Your proposal should be in writing and addressed to Rebecca Roth, NERRA Executive Director, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells, ME 04090. E-mail submissions are welcome; they can be sent to The proposal should contain/address the following in 10 pages or less, not including attachments:

  1. Describe your proposed approach to supporting groups with diverse understanding of DEIJA principals.
  2. Detailed scope of services to be provided (individual scope for each task 1-3) including length of time/commitment
  3. Budget cost by task and deliverable; total fees based on each task and provide a) hourly basis (can include range if multiple individuals employed by contractor)

Note: Most work will be virtual given members of the workgroup, OCM and NERRA are located across the country; however, engaging with members at the Fall System Meeting in Kennebunkport, ME October 21-24, 2024 will be required with attendance for at least one day. 

Attachments to include

  1. Expected partner/staff assigned to task and task review, along with their applicable experience and their qualifications.
  2. Three references.
  3. Additional information that demonstrates contractor capabilities that you think should be considered.

The selection committee will base its decision on efficacy of proposal, experience, knowledge of the NERRS, and references.

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ReservesRequest for DEIJA Facilitation Support