Breastfeed Chicago is looking for a non-profit consultant

Request for proposals for board of directors consultant

January 2019

Breastfeed Chicago is seeking proposals for a contract consultant who will support the board of directors during a time of leadership transition and organizational change. This position will last three months and will consist of three key project goals:

  1. Manage the new board member selection process, including vetting applications, arranging for interviews, and supporting the existing board in selecting new members.
  2. Train new and existing board members in their board responsibilities, including fiduciary and legal responsibilities.
  3. Support the board in creating organizational structures like project committees, a board meeting schedule, a reporting timeline, and a workplan with prioritized goals for 2019.

Timeline: Proposals are due January 21, 2019. The board will select a consultant by January 31, and the contract will begin shortly after that selection.

Estimated time: We estimate that this project will require an average of 5-10 hours per week, for a total of approximately 90 hours in order to meet the project goals.

Why now: Many board members have been on the board since the beginning of the organization and are ready to transition off the board to allow for new leadership. When new board members are ready to onboard, about half of the existing 12 board members will be leaving the board, including to the long-time board chair and founder. These departures (particularly the departure of the board chair/founder) leave a large gap in collective knowledge about the responsibilities of board members, as well as the infrastructure of regular communication, documentation, and meetings. We are seeking an outside expert who can support the board in creating a strong and sustainable structure and shared understanding of how healthy boards function.

Note: The departures of the board chair and other board members are not due to conflict or in-fighting. Board members get along well and communicate through a private Facebook group. Engagement in meetings and distribution of project load has been challenging, due to the fact that many of us are parents of young children. However, we feel we need an outside consultant because we know that when a founder leaves, an organization becomes more vulnerable, and we hope that a consultant can help make us strong enough to thrive under new leadership.

If interested, please submit a cover letter, resume, and 1-2 page proposal of how you would address the three project goals with your experience and resources. Please also include your proposed project cost. Submit to info at breastfeedchicago dot orgwith the subject line of “Board of directors consultant proposal.”

Organizational information and background:

Mission: Breastfeed Chicago, a parent-powered organization, supports breastfeeding through education, advocacy, and resource development in Chicagoland.

Vision: We envision a truly breastfeeding-friendly Chicago where all parents understand the benefits of breastfeeding and easily get the support they need to successfully breastfeed their children for as long as they want to. We do this by equipping families, health professionals, and communities with tools for successful breastfeeding; by advocating for breastfeeding-friendly practices from businesses, employers, hospitals and health care providers; by working to erase disparities in breastfeeding rates due to race, age, income, sexuality, neighborhood and/or disability; and by using our influence as breastfeeding parents to normalize breastfeeding in our communities.

Organizational History:

Breastfeed Chicago started as a Facebook group in 2011 by Katrina Pavlik. As the Facebook group grew, a group of members formed into a board of directors and eventually applied for 501(C)(3) nonprofit status, which was granted in 2014. In 2017, Breastfeed Chicago hired a part-time social media coordinator, its only paid staff member. She remains a contract employee of the organization and works an average of 5 hours/week.

For the past 7 years, the organization has completed several short and long-term projects to address the mission of supporting breastfeeding parents and promoting the normalcy of breastfeeding in Chicagoland, including:

  • Developed and maintains a website (www.breastfeedchicago.org) with lactation professional listings, support group listings, drop-in clinic listings, resources and blog posts.
  • Hosted 5 World Breastfeeding Week celebrations (Millennium Park, Garfield Park Conservatory, Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, Drucker Center (Menomonee Club) and Garfield Park (again)).
  • Reached out to 100 medical professionals with a links to breastfeeding information specifically for medical professionals.
  • Spoke at a City Council hearing on the option to place breastfeeding rooms in Chicago airports (it passed).
  • Wrote letters, got a front page article in the Chicago Tribune, and created advocacy materials for mothers whose insurance companies were not following the Affordable Care Act’s stipulations for breastfeeding support.
  • Published an OpEd in the Chicago Tribune: “Having more moms breastfeed benefits us all.”
  • Raised more than $25,000  – mostly from small member contributions. Currently we have about $12,000 in the bank and we use raised money to pay for the expenses of our website, pay a part-time social media coordinator, make mini-grants to breastfeeding support groups and individuals who are supporting breastfeeding, and run occasional events.
  • Grew the Facebook group to more than 31,000 members.

In September of 2018, founder and board chair Katrina Pavlik announced that she would be stepping down from the board, which she hopes to do in February 2019. The board has discussed the next phase of the organization, including the need for new board members to replace departing members and new organizational leadership. The board also decided to let go of the Facebook group, keep the Facebook page (as well as other social media platforms), and focus again on addressing the cultural, institutional and individual barriers to breastfeeding. In addition to rededicating itself to its mission, the board reiterated the core values of respecting and prioritizing diversity, inclusiveness, and the addressing needs of mothers from underserved communities.

To learn more about the organization, visit:

Questions can be sent to Katrina Pavlik at: info at breastfeedchicago dot org.

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