Request for Proposals
Re-envisioning the ‘Into the Greenbelt’ grant program
The Greenbelt Foundation’s popular Into the Greenbelt grant program provides Newcomers, underserved communities, and young people in the Greater Golden Horseshoe with opportunities to explore the natural beauty and farms of Ontario’s Greenbelt and learn about the importance of protecting and enhancing the landscape. Travel bursaries and program funding for educational and stewardship activities is provided to eligible agencies with resources to organize day trips to select Greenbelt destinations.
Since COVID-19, the Foundation paused its support of in-person experiential programming in the Greenbelt, however, with high demand for nature-based experiences and access to greenspace, and farm visits and local food, the Foundation seeks to re-envision the program including audiences to engage, programming and its delivery model.
A typical year has supported 35 trips, 900 individuals and 14 host sites. Program delivery partners and site hosts, such as local Conservation Areas, national and provincial parks, local family farms and other community and cultural organizations were responsible for producing itineraries based around nature, recreation and food throughout the Greenbelt’s seven regions (Northumberland, Durham, York, Peel, Halton, Hamilton, and Niagara). Itineraries included picnics, hikes, canoeing and u-picking at farms. Some groups organized educational talks on forests, wetlands and wildlife.
By reducing economic barriers, the program provides much needed opportunities for community service groups, especially those in urbanized areas, such as, youth service organizations, cultural groups and Newcomer agencies, to expand their service offerings and directly engage participants in outdoor recreation and nature-based learning experiences.
The program also supports Foundation efforts to engage all audiences and communicate the value and benefit of the Greenbelt, strengthen community relationships, and promote Greenbelt visits and tourism.
The Foundation seeks the development of an updated Into the Greenbelt program and delivery model, including program goals and objectives, primary audiences and affiliated organizations, destinations and activities and delivery partners. The Foundation aims to launch a new Into the Greenbelt program in spring of 2024.
The work will determine the following:
1) Audiences and trip preferences:
- Who are the primary audiences for the program?
- Who are the participant/community service groups associated with the primary audiences i.e., charitable or non-profit applicants that will apply to the grant program?
- What Greenbelt field trip destinations and programming opportunities are of interest to the primary audiences (e.g. tours, itineraries, experiences, stewardship initiatives and adventures)
- Are primary audiences interested in accessing the program one time or an annual or bi-annual basis over multiple years?
- What are the new or expanded goals and objectives of the program?
- What are the main components of the field trip experiences, e.g. education, stewardship, recreation, citizen science, etc.
- How many times per year should the program run and what are the preferred seasons?
- What considerations should be made on phasing or scaling the program over the next 3 years? e.g. year 1 pilot program with a limited # of participant groups and # of field trips?
- What criteria should the Foundation use to measure the success of the program and monitor for improvements?
3) Program Delivery:
- Who are the program delivery partners (i.e. destination hosts and tour guides, etc.)?
- What site criteria is mandatory in order for a location to be listed as a field trip option?
- What is the best delivery model of the Into the Greenbelt program?
- For example, administrating the program internally through the Grants Program as a mini-grant round with Greenbelt Foundation’s Coms department managing the communication components, or similar to previous program models that worked with an external partner to administer the program on behalf of the Foundation (as a grantee).
- Is there a program administration partner that is interested or capable of collaborating with the Foundation to deliver the program?
- What range of travel bursary and programming funding per participant group is necessary and reasonable to provide and what should the eligible expenses include e.g. transportation, site costs, administration, educational talk, stewardship equipment, etc.
4) Marketing, education and engagement activities:
- What marketing activities are required to promote the program among primary audiences e.g. website, social media, program branding, application format, etc.?
- What educational resources on the Greenbelt should be developed for primary audiences?
- What engagement and outreach activities are required (e.g. trip photos, blogs etc.) and how can we engage individual participants or groups to share their experiences?
- How can the Foundation integrate or highlight the Into the Greenbelt program on https://www.greenbelt.ca/explore?
The background research required to update the Into the Greenbelt program involves a qualitative methodology focused on review of information and materials, interviews with key stakeholders and a scan of existing opportunities. An outline of the suggested methodology is provided below; candidates are invited to adjust it as they see fit.
Results of this work should be guided by knowledge sharing with the Foundation, input sought from past participants and program delivery partners, expertise from tourism stakeholders, current Foundation grantees offering similar programming, and a scan of existing opportunities across the Greenbelt.
There are 6 stages to this project and the vendor is expected to work with and report back to the Foundation staff on each stage.
- Stage 1: Draft a work plan, review previous Into the Greenbelt program delivery models, produced materials and results to date, and consult with Foundation staff to confirm the work plan.
- Stage 2: Seek input, expertise and recommendations from previous and potential program stakeholders and rights holders via approximately 20 interviews.
Stage 3: Scan of destination and programming opportunities across the Greenbelt:
- Scan of existing tourism opportunities and interviews with potential trip destination/program delivery hosts to determine their interest, needs and eligibility in becoming a site host.
- Scan of community groups and interviews with organizations who recently applied for a grant with the Foundation in 2022. Determine their interest, needs and eligibility to participate in the program.
- Stage 4: Meeting with Communications staff from the Greenbelt Foundation about proposed marketing, education and engagement activities.
- Stage 5: Draft outline of the program and submit to Foundation staff for review; meeting with Foundation staff on draft program.
- Stage 6: Finalizing and submitting the final outline of the program.
The consultant will be expected to provide the following deliverables:
Develop and deliver a report outlining an updated Into the Greenbelt program that includes the following components:
1) Audiences and trip options:
- Defined primary audiences and a list of associated groups interested in applying to the program.
- A list of field trip destinations/ site hosts/ tour guides and associated programming available across Ontario’s Greenbelt i.e. 15-20 options that consider a variety of interests, capabilities and geographies including 2-3 Indigenous-focused experiences and partners.
- A list of site criteria for a location to be listed as available.
- A contact list of site hosts interested in becoming a delivery partner.
2) Programming and Delivery Model:
- Proposed new or expanded goals and objectives of the program.
- A well-defined and implementation-ready program delivery model including:
- an outline of the main components of each field trip experience
- a proposed field trip budget including travel bursaries and eligible expenses per participant/recipient group
- Potential program administration partners interested or capable of collaborating with the Foundation to deliver the program
- Recommendations on the duration, seasons, frequency and scale of program.
- Proposed method of program evaluation to measure program success and monitor for improvements.
3) Marketing, education and engagement activities:
- Recommendations on program marketing and promotions, educational resources for participants, and engagement tactics and materials.
Interested parties should submit proposals that include the following information:
- the candidate’s or team’s strengths, as they pertain to this project
- the candidate’s experience, as they pertain to this project, including samples of work or weblinks to relevant examples
- the purpose of the project and approach taken
- key questions
- methodology to address those questions
- roles and level of effort for each team member (if more than one)
- deliverables and timing
- detailed budget
- bio(s) and CV(s)
- three relevant references
Into the Greenbelt background information and resources, such as, previous brochure/flyer, participant blogs, program orientation presentation can be requested by contacting [email protected]
Proposals are to be submitted by November 6, 2023 by 12:00 pm to:
Senior Program Manager, The Greenbelt Foundation
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