News

RFP For Strategic Planning Services

Invitation to Bid

Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc.  (SEVCA) is requesting proposals from consultants experienced in strategic planning and familiar with Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Organizational Standards to lead SEVCA’s Board of Directors and staff through a long-range strategic planning process.  If you are interested in bidding, your proposal is requested by the due date of September 8, 2023.

Schedule of Events

Release of RFP – August 4, 2023

Deadline for submission – September 8,2023

Selection of Vendor on or about September 15, 2023

Work begins October 2, 2023

Completion Date – December 15, 2023

Inquiries

Questions regarding this RFP will only be accepted by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with

“Strategic Planning Questions” in the subject line.

Process for Submitting Proposal

All proposals shall be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “Strategic Planning Proposal” in the subject line. Proposals received after the due date will be rejected.

This Request for Proposal does not commit SEVCA to award a contract, to pay any cost incurred in the preparation of a proposal, or to contract for the goods and/or services offered. SEVCA reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals received as a result of this request, to negotiate with all qualified offerors, or to cancel this Request for Proposal, if it is in the best interest of SEVCA to do so.

 

Information Required with Proposal

                         The proposal must include the following:

  • A brief Executive Summary;
  • A description of the applicant’s general approach to strategic planning consultation, including methodology, perspective or philosophy, along with a breakdown of proposed activities in keeping with our intended completion date.;
  • A detailed budget that breaks down expenses;
  • Credentials, qualifications and references including evidence that the vendor has knowledge of Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) as it pertains to the development of Strategic Plans for Community Action organizations;
  • Example(s) of a finished strategic plan created by your company.

Description of Services

  • Utilize CSBG Organizational Standard Category 6 Strategic Planning as a guide to ensure compliance with CSBG Organizational Standards.
  • Utilize ROMA audit to ensure increasing capacity and compliance
  • Work with a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of Board members, Policy Council members, as well as key management and other staff.
  • Conduct a general SWOT analysis of internal and external perceptions of the organization.
  • Conduct an organizational assessment, including training needs.
  • Conduct at least two focus group areas, 1) community members/clientele, and 2) donors.
  • Identify specific fundraising, grantmaking, communication, and programmatic objectives for SEVCA to pursue over the next five years.
  • Identify areas of strength with regard to organizational capacity and culture, as well as areas in which these can be improved.
  • Develop a timetable of implementation with specific benchmarks, objectives, and tasks to be accomplished to achieve goals.
  • Identify clear, measurable outcomes for how to measure organizational and strategic effectiveness, impact, and success.
  • Establish a framework and process for the organization’s leadership to effectively implement the strategic plan and monitor progress toward the achievement of goals and objectives.

Background Information:

SEVCA and our Community

SEVCA was founded on the belief that all people can be empowered to rise out of poverty, and that the strength of our communities is measured by the quality of life of everyone within them. Since 1965, SEVCA has been on the front lines ensuring that lower wealth individuals and families in southeastern Vermont move toward economic security.

SEVCA’s executive leadership has been in transition for several years and the agency is currently headed by an interim director, and is receiving strong support from the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.

The agency conducts a Community Assessment every 3 years. The most recent assessment will be provided to the awarded proposal in draft format. The chosen vendor will work with the Interim Executive Director and the Strategic Plan Committee, who are responsible for the agency’s performance management standards, to develop a workplan consistent with federal standards.

Family Services / Crisis Resolution

Family Services staff respond to crises and coordinate services through a network of community partnerships which provide resources people need to overcome immediate emergencies and long-term challenges. Staff help resolve housing & fuel emergencies, negotiate with landlords and utility companies, and help clients navigate complex systems and apply for services such as 3SquaresVT (SNAP/Food Stamps) and heating fuel assistance.

Head Start

Windsor County Head Start serves approximately 100 families in Springfield, Windsor, Chester, and White River Junction. Teaching & family support staff work with children and their parents/caregivers to help ensure that each child learns, grows, and is prepared to succeed in elementary school and beyond. Head Start focuses on the child and the entire family. Parents learn new ways to engage their children in educational activities at home and the teachers provide an important source of support and information about early childhood development, health, and nutrition.

Weatherization

Eligible residents reduce their heating costs and energy usage through our Weatherization program. We provide state-of-the-art energy audits, insulation and air sealing, heating system improvements, and other energy-saving measures. Services are provided at no cost to homeowners or renters who meet the income guidelines.

Emergency Home Repair

Repairs that address urgent health & safety problems such as leaking roofs, rotted siding, or leaking pipes may be addressed with this program. The coordinator works closely with community groups and local contractors to complete the project while stimulating jobs in the local economy. 

Good Buy Thrift Stores

Good Buy Thrift stores in Bellows Falls and Springfield offer affordable clothing, furniture, and housewares. Individuals and families who are facing emergency situations or struggling to make ends meet on a very limited income may be eligible for vouchers to access free clothing, furniture, and other necessities. In addition, we provide a supportive workplace with on-the-job training and community service opportunities which can also support those entering or re-entering the workforce.

Micro Business / Workforce Development

Business development specialists provide training, technical assistance, and one-on-one counseling to individuals who are starting or expanding a small business. Our Ready for Work job readiness program equips participants with the basic skills needed to find, obtain, and keep a job. We also provide wrap-around support services to address barriers to employment.

Financial Fitness / Asset Development

Our Financial Fitness education helps develop money management skills, set financial goals, begin a savings plan, and improve financial stability. Training covers topics such as banking, budgeting, credit repair, paying for college, saving for retirement, and more. 

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Our volunteer tax preparers provide free tax filing assistance to people with low to moderate income. The program helps households obtain credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit.

Community Solar for Community Action (CS4CA)

SEVCA’s 110 kw solar array offsets a portion of the energy expenses for 50 eligible high-energy households by providing free energy credits which are applied by Green Mountain Power to the household’s electricity bill.

Special Projects

SEVCA has long been involved in short-term and emergent needs projects, around natural disasters, states of emergency, food insecurity, Broadband internet access, and healthcare access equity.  Windsor and Windham county residents depend upon SEVCA to be there in response to community-level crises like Hurricane Irene or the COVID-19 pandemic with programs like Vermont Everyone Eats or HENDS.  SEVCA’s Strategic plan should allow for the Agency to continue to identify and respond to emergent needs in its communities with flexibility, timeliness, and effective support systems.

SEVCAs Mission Statement:

To empower and partner with individuals and communities to alleviate the hardships of poverty, to provide opportunities to thrive, and to eliminate root causes of poverty in southeastern Vermont.

SEVCAs Values. 

 

  1. We believe that poverty is not an inherent condition of anyone’s life, and that with hope, support, adequate resources, and opportunities, everyone can reach their full potential.
  1. We believe that all individuals and their communities have the right to a good

quality of life, a healthy, sustainable environment, financial security, and the

opportunity to thrive, free from the hardships of poverty. We recognize that

inequitable systems and policies perpetuate and concentrate poverty in a

discriminatory manner based on race, gender, disability, and other targets of

prejudice, and we commit to promoting greater equity through changes in

institutions, policies, and practices at all levels of society.

3.         We believe that everyone should have equal access to educational and

economic opportunities that will enable them to achieve financial security and fulfill their aspirations.

4.         We value and encourage resilience in individuals and their communities through increasing access to information and resources, fostering engagement and social connection, and providing support to overcome challenges.  

5.         We respect everyone’s right and responsibility to exercise their own choices and to pursue their goals, and we commit to enhancing the capacity of those we serve to effectively do so. 

6.         We pledge to treat each person we serve with respect and compassion and to build relationships of trust with them to counteract the negative impact of poverty on their self-esteem, dignity, and well-being. 

7.         We believe that creative, committed collaboration offers the greatest

opportunity for lasting, positive change in the lives of the individuals, families, and communities in our region. 

 

Selecting Proposal

  1. The proposal will be selected using the following criteria. The criteria are not in any particular order.
  • Price (25%)
  • Conformity to the required information and description of services, as outlined in this RFP (20%)
  • Vendor’s prior experience with comparable programmatic plans (20%)
  • Vendor’s prior experience with organizational assessment and plans (15%)
  • Personnel qualifications of the vendor (20%)
  1. Alternatives, variations, and exceptions must be clearly stated.
  2. We reserve the right to consider proposals based on their relative merit, risk, and values to SEVCA.
  3. We reserve the right to negotiate with all vendors. The successful vendor may be asked to participate in negotiations and may be asked to revise their proposal based on those negotiations. Examples of this would be, but not limited to, discontinued materials/models, changes to specifications, and state, federal, or local funding changes.
  4. In submitting a proposal, each vendor represents that they have read and understand these requirements.

Notification of Award

The successful contractor will be notified within 10 business days.

Rejection of Proposal

Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc. reserves the right to accept or reject any proposals and to waive any minor discrepancies or technicalities in the proposal or specifications, which are required to complete this project, or when deemed to be in the best interest of Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc.

SEVCA is Seeking an New Executive Director -August 1, 2023

Are you an inspiring and collaborative leader who believes in a world where everyone has a good quality of life and the opportunity to thrive, free from the hardships of poverty? Invest your commitment to social justice by leading Southeastern Vermont Community Action's (SEVCA's) dedicated team to creatively envision and advance its mission to eliminate the root causes of poverty in southeastern Vermont.

The Executive Director will be a highly collaborative, visionary, thoughtful, and transparent leader with high EQ, well-developed communication skills, a strategic perspective, and commitment to working effectively with staff, board members, and external funders, partners, volunteers, and supporters.

Please click here to view the job description and/or submit your application materials. The search committee is considering candidates on a rolling basis for interviews starting this summer.

Volunteer with SEVCA- Recruiting community members to help with tax program

Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) will provide free tax preparation for lower income taxpayers for the 2022 tax filing season through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  SEVCA is now recruiting volunteers to help as many families as possible claim the tax credits and refunds available to them. A volunteer orientation meeting will be held in the fall at our SEVCA’s main office, 91 Buck Drive, Westminster, VT.  
 
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who are low to moderate income, persons with disabilities, elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free federal and state income tax return preparation with electronic filing. 
This part will be online, link to be provided
 
Don’t know that much about taxes? Don’t worry — you’ll receive specialized training from a certified VITA instructor plus IRS online courses.  We are looking for individuals who are willing and able to commit 3 to 4 hours per week, or a full day or more as necessary from the last week in January – April filing deadline.  Although prior tax preparation experience is not necessary, a commitment to training and certification is required.  Training sessions will be held in Westminster beginning in mid-October and at your convenience using online IRS self study training materials.  Continuing on-site training and supervision is provided during the tax preparation season by the SEVCA Tax Site Coordinator.
 
To learn how you can make a difference in your community by becoming a VITA volunteer contact Leslie Wood at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (802) 722-4575, ext. 1603.
 

Sign Up Today- Computer and Workplace Skills Program Starts in September

SEVCA and VAL Offer a Free Workshop Series


SEVCA (Southeastern Vermont Community Action) in collaboration with VAL (Vermont Adult Learning) is providing a series of six free basic Computer and Workplace Skills workshops. This workshop series will provide participants with training, support and resources to gain foundational knowledge using a computer and improve workplace skills. Classes start September 21st, 2022, with additional dates: 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19 and 10/26. Enrollment is limited to 10.

SEVCA will provide a gift card incentive to Vermont residents who attend all six sessions. Springfield Area Working Communities Challenge (WCC) will provide a refurbished laptop to *eligible* participants attending all 6 sessions. The workshops will be held in person at Vermont Adult Learning, 100 River Street in Springfield and will be taught by SEVCA instructor Diane Heileman. *For more information on laptop eligibility or to enroll in the workshop series, contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Computer and Workplace Skills Workshops, Descriptions and Schedule:

1. The Laptop: Wednesday, Sept 21 9:30am – 11:30am
Basic knowledge of laptop care can extend the life of a laptop by years and supports efficient laptop performance. Students will learn about basic computer care plus become familiar with the physical components of the laptop, including ports and connections, keypad, specialty keys, TouchPad, battery, power charger, webcam, speakers, indicator lights and more.

2. The Desktop: Wednesday, Sept 28 9:30am – 11:30am
Students will learn the parts of the desktop and how to personalize it, how to find and open applications, use the TouchPad and optional mouse, understand the parts of a window, open and manage multiple windows, find, save and search for files, create folders and organize files. We will review maintaining Windows via system updates, manage disk space, troubleshooting techniques, and backups.

3. The Internet- Connecting, Searching and Safety: Wednesday, Oct 5 9:30am – 11:30am
This class will address the steps involved to connect a laptop to a network and navigate through the internet. Students will search the internet for information, save and organize websites for easy access (“bookmark” and “favorites”). We will also cover what to look for in a safe website, signs of a possible fraudulent site, review web browser options. This class also addresses workplace policies for internet usage.

4. Email skills using Gmail: Wednesday, Oct 12 9:30am – 11:30am
Students will learn the parts of an email, how to create, search, send and reply to an email. Topics include formatting options in text (fonts, size, colors), attaching documents and photos, website links, and email customization options, recognize and deal with unwanted email (spam), plus email usage in the workplace.

5. Introduction to Microsoft Word: Wednesday, Oct 19 9:30am – 11:30am
This class will focus on basic Microsoft Office Word skills. Students will create, edit, save and print Word documents, set up fonts and text formatting options (bold, underline, bullets, indents, margins, etc.), insert graphic objects and photos from the desktop and internet, use spelling and grammar tools.

6. Introduction to spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel: Wednesday, Oct 26 9:30am-12:00pm
Excel is a spreadsheet program that is easy to use and allows you to store, manipulate, analyze, and visualize data. In this beginner's Excel class, students will learn how to create and update a basic spreadsheet, enter and format data, calculate totals through formulas, create simple reports and charts.

 

“Unless the investment in children is made, all of humanity’s most fundamental long-term problems will remain fundamental long-term problems.”

UNICEF "The State of the Children" (1995)