Grand Rapids, Michigan Issues Public Relations RFP

The City of Grand Rapids is issuing this Request for Proposal (RFP) for obtaining proposals for planning, coordination, implementation, and administration of public relations and marketing services for the Environmental Services Department. The City of Grand Rapids (“the City) is issuing a Requests for Proposal (RFP) to obtain proposals from qualified and experienced contractors for to plan, coordinate, and administer services to increase public awareness of various environmental issues, utility improvements, and initiatives of the Environmental Services Department, with initial efforts focused on PFAS-related issues.


The City of Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan, is a full-service city whose form of government is the Commission-Manager plan of government. The City of Grand Rapids serves a population of approximately 200,000 people with a municipal area of 46 square miles. The City is also a regional provider of water, wastewater, and other public services to a number of municipalities in Kent and Ottawa counties, serving a population of approximately 280,000 and covering just over 200 square-miles of service area. The Environmental Services Department (ESD) manages the wastewater and stormwater infrastructure for the City to protect public health and the environment, and works closely with the Utility Advisory Board. Within ESD, the Industrial Pretreatment Program (IPP) monitors industrial users to ensure compliance with regulations and laws to keep toxic pollutions out of the wastewater treatment system and Grand River. IPP works closely with industries who use the City’s wastewater treatment system. The Department also oversees energy, lighting, communications, air quality, and resource recovery.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are part of a group of chemicals used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health. Many residents and municipalities became aware of PFAS in recent years as statewide testing and media coverage of PFAS increased, particularly contamination of groundwater in Plainfield Township. Media coverage has moved faster than science in making strong statements regarding PFAS, and has contributed awareness without full disclosure of what is known and what is not known to date. The City is currently working on a Pollutant Minimization Program for PFAS, but efforts to communicate information or messages have been minimal. Public outreach and communication around this program must be focused. The State of Michigan is proactively addressing the PFAS crisis, and is poised to become a leader in helping other states with the issue. The City has taken swift action to create a PFAS evaluation plan and is piloting a program using a new technology to destroy PFAS, and expects to work closely with the State, as well as other agencies. The outcome of this technology to mitigate PFAS contamination is promising.

Scope of Work:

The objective of this RFP is to: 

                1. Procure public relations and support services to plan, coordinate, and administer services initially related to PFAS, including but not limited to:

                                a. Increase the public’s awareness of emerging environmental issues and the City’s activities and initiatives.

                                b. Provide consultation and guidance related to current, on-going efforts undertaken by other agencies with similar PFAS issues, including any collaborative services

                                c. Maximize media opportunities, both locally and nationally, in regards to the activities of the City.

                                d. Creation of selected marketing materials, support services for public outreach activities, and other related marketing functions and work products.

                2. The City seeks specific assistance with various services and initiatives designed to increase public awareness and engagement related to PFAS:

                                a. Coordinate public outreach programs and community events to engage with the public

                                                · Assist the City with online materials, both on the City’s website or social media channels (a separate website is not needed or desired)

                                                · Develop ongoing content support to drive engagement on various social platforms, including, but not limited to, strategy, graphics support, content creation, and curation, brand keyword monitoring, and analytics and reporting. 

                                                · Craft, develop, and assist with implementing a multi-year strategic marketing and communications plan

                                                · Identify key goals and objectives 

                                                · Design and develop promotional materials for City initiatives 

                                                · Develop creative messaging opportunities on behalf of the City 

                                                · Conduct market research and surveys (as requested)

                3. Budget – at this time there is an initial budget estimate of $40,000-$60,000 annually for all of   the described services, appropriations-dependent.

Due Date:

June 15, 2019 


Purchasing Department – City of Grand Rapids 

300 Monroe NW Room 720 

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Firms worth considering include Finn Partners and Ruder Finn.

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