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Request for Proposal: Grant Writer

By May 13, 2024RFP


May 13, 2024

Riverlife is soliciting proposals for a contract grant writer to support its development department in executing approximately 40 projects per year, including grant proposals, LOIs, and reports. The purpose of this letter is to invite you or your firm to participate and to advise you of our process for selecting grant writing services.

About Riverlife:

Since 1999, Riverlife has worked to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. A nonprofit leader in building a community vision for Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, Riverlife has overseen a $150 million investment in the city’s waterfront transformation, catalyzing $4.2 billion in related economic development, arts and culture, and ecological sustainability on or adjacent to the city’s riverbanks. Riverlife centers its work on the belief that the riverfronts belong to everyone, and world-class riverfront experiences can be created for all using community-driven, equitable development and high-quality, regenerative design. Learn more at

Proposal Submission:

Your written proposal should include brief responses to the attached RFP questions (Appendix I) in pdf format. Please submit your proposal via email to Sarah Spiegel, Director of Development, at by 5:00pm on Friday, May 24. Candidates will be asked to meet with Riverlife between May 28 and June 7. A final candidate will be notified on June 10. 

Should you have any questions while you formulate your proposal, please contact Sarah Spiegel at prior to the submission deadline.

Consultant Qualifications: 

We are seeking grant writing services to support Riverlife’s development department in meeting ambitious fundraising goals and ensuring that all grant proposals, LOIs, reports, etc. are submitted in a timely manner. We are looking for applicants with the following qualifications: 

    • At least 5-10 years of direct grant writing experience
    • Strong written communication skills; demonstrated ability to produce technical writing on a number of complex topics
    • Experience working with small nonprofit organizations
    • Expertise in the philanthropic funding landscape, preferably in Pittsburgh
    • Knowledge of sector best practices and trends 
    • Ability to manage multiple projects and disciplines simultaneously
    • Strong organizational and project management skills with a keen attention to detail
    • Ability to use Google Workspace to organize files and share documents
    • Understanding of Riverlife’s mission, projects, and programs a plus

Scope of Work:

The scope of work on which you are proposing includes:

    • Complete approximately 40 writing projects per calendar year, including proposals to renewals and prospects, LOIs, and reports on ~20 active grants
    • Meet with the Riverlife team on a regular basis, as co-determined by the contractor and Riverlife staff


By agreeing to take part in this proposal process, you agree to keep in confidence all information received through the proposal process, not to disclose it to third parties, and not to use it for any other purpose than for developing your proposal. In addition, there are no expressed or implied obligations of Riverlife to reimburse your firm for any expenses incurred in preparing proposals in response to this request. Riverlife reserves the right without prejudice to reject any or all proposals submitted.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Riverlife requires all vendors to comply with federal, state, and local policies and regulations concerning equal opportunity and agrees not to discriminate in its employment with regard to race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, familial status, or other protected status covered by applicable federal, state and local laws.

Thank you in advance for your time, and we look forward to receiving your response.

Appendix I

Your proposal should address the following items in a clear and concise manner and be as specific to Riverlife and the Scope of Work outlined in this RFP as possible.

I. Executive Summary

II. Qualifications

  • Describe your experience.
  • Provide a representative list of relevant clients served. Please include contact information for clients that Riverlife may approach for references. 
  • Where possible, efforts will be made to utilize small, women, disabled veterans, and minority owned businesses. If applicable, provide publicly certified documentation or a self certification statement regarding this status.

III. Team

  • Identify the professional(s) who will be assigned to serve Riverlife.
  • Please provide brief resumes for each professional in an appendix to your response.

IV. Approach

  • Outline your understanding of desired services and approach to providing services, including your grant writing process.
  • Please describe your approach to working with nonprofit clients.
  • Please describe your policy on client communication>
  • Please outline your approach to managing deadlines, and the typical turnaround time from start to finish on a grant writing project.

V. Fees

  • Provide fees and estimated hours for the services requested in the Scope of Work for this RFP. Please also provide a fee schedule for services outside the scope, and how those services would be determined.