Co-operative Community Engagement and Facilitation

DEADLINE: April 7th, 2023

The Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC) was awarded a Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) to provide business development assistance to the Winooski Valley Co-operative Market, d.b.a. Plainfield Co-operative in Plainfield, Vermont.

The CVRPC is working with the Co-op Board of Directors, its General Manager and members, and public partners to :

1) update designs for an expansion of the Co-op’s existing structure at 153 Main Street in Plainfield’s historic Designated Village Center;

2) analyze and compare the economic viability of that expansion versus purchasing, retrofitting, and relocating elsewhere;

3) engage the Co-op’s membership in the grant process and facilitate decision making; and 4) develop an Action Plan in response to the analysis and choice. Project beneficiaries will include the Co-op and its supply chain businesses who are seeking to maintain and expand product sales and viability. It is anticipated that the final designs for the proposed building expansion, financial feasibility analyses and market study results will be delivered by June 15, 2023.


The proposed cost of these services will be one factor in choosing the consultant.


1) Working closely with an advisory committee of Co-op members, staff and other stakeholders, develop and implement a communication plan that will ensure that the Co-op membership is fully engaged with the grant process, facilitate meetings and conversations about the results from other grant tasks which are expected by June 1, 2023, and assist the Co-op leadership to communicate these results. While the communication plan will be driven by results that are unknown at this time, the consultant should be, if needed, able and prepared to:

a. design and conduct a survey of the Co-op membership and community,

b. design and facilitate meetings,

c. guide conversations about future decisions, and

d. assist with conducting discussions and/or membership votes.

2) With the results from the other components of the grant, work with Board and committee members to conduct 2-3 focus groups to seek feedback on possible scenarios for the business’s future and guide the Board and committee members on the next steps of the communication plan.

3) Meet with the advisory committee and Co-op Board monthly to provide progress updates on deliverables.


The following performance measures must be adhered to by the consultant as part of this contract.

1) Attend a kickoff meeting with the project team.

2) Meet with the advisory committee and Co-op Board monthly.

3) Develop a communication plan for Co-op engagement that indicates the proposer’s ongoing involvement in facilitating Co-op member involvement.

4) Develop one or two surveys of the Co-op members and larger community.

5) With Co-op Board and advisory committee assistance, conduct 2-3 focus groups of Coop members.

6) Provide a brief final report summarizing the takeaways of the engagement and facilitation activities conducted.



General Requirements

Proposals must:

• explain how the contractor intends to carry out the services requested by specifically describing how a communication plan would be designed and what processes would be used to engage the Co-op membership.

• describe tools and strategies that can be employed in a variety of hypothetical situations.

• describe how the proposer will work with a committee of Co-op members, staff and other stakeholders, and if the proposer can attend in-person meetings.

• provide examples of how the proposer has engaged and facilitated other co-op or community efforts.

• propose a contract start-date and schedule.

• describe any changes to the scope of work identified in Section III of this RFP.

• identify what support, if any, will be required from CVRPC during all phases of work.

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