Request for Proposal Employee Handbook and Policy Revision

November 24, 2021

1. Background / Introduction

The Wilma Theater creates living, adventurous art. We engage artists and audiences in imaginative reflection on the complexities of contemporary life. We present bold, original, well-crafted productions that represent a range of voices, viewpoints, and styles.

The Wilma has a 40+ year history of producing plays in Philadelphia, and operates a 300-seat theater at 265 S. Broad Street, in the heart of the Avenue of the Arts cultural district.  The organization has three distinct internal stakeholder groups – the HotHouse acting company, the administrative staff, and the Board of Directors.

In February 2020, the Wilma radically changed its leadership structure. Founding Artistic Director Blanka Zizka invited three additional artists from a variety of histories and experiences to share leadership in a cohort structure, which will last until spring of 2023. Each year, one cohort member acts as lead Artistic Director, with input and support from other cohort members. It is an experiment in shared leadership, with term limits. In Summer 2021, Blanka stepped back from the Cohort for a consulting role as Artistic Director Emeritus; the Cohort now includes Yury Urnov, James Ijames (Lead AD 2021-22 Season), and Morgan Green. They work alongside Managing Director Leigh Goldenberg as the leadership of the organization. They report to and serve as ex officio members of the Board of Directors.

From Spring 2020, when the Covid-19 shutdown began, the Wilma pivoted to create digital work, producing a season of filmed productions, audio plays, and video shorts. The administrative team has worked remotely since that time. In Fall 2021, we began gathering again for in-person work and performances, though still primarily do administrative work remotely.

Also, over this time, the Wilma has engaged in a deep self-assessment to recognize how our policies and practices support, or hinder, our work in becoming an equitable, inclusive, anti-racist organization. We issued an extended public response to the We See You White American Theatre demands and launched an accountability page on our website to share ongoing updates on this work.

Our process included creation of internal working groups, and organization-wide conversations with HotHouse, Staff and Board, who collaborated on policy drafting over 4 months in 2021 facilitated by Equity and Justice for Institutional Change, a project of No Dream Deferred NOLA.

A key need identified is a revision of our Employee Handbook, to updated existing policies, include newly developed policies, and finalize desired policies currently in draft stages.

2. Project Goals and Scope

The key deliverable is an updated employee handbook that encompasses all policies of the Wilma, and can be distributed separately to employees and contractors with applicable information in each. We seek a contractor – an individual or an organization – to lead this handbook revision process alongside the Wilma’s leadership and business department.

Much feedback and suggested reviews have already been collected, and we ask that this previous work be metabolized by the contractor revising the handbook. We also welcome suggestions for values-aligned additions and/or best practices from other organizations to become part of our handbook.

The contractor should have a deep understanding and passion for creating anti-racist policies, and the willingness to dive into the Wilma’s values to guide the process.

The existing employee handbook is available upon request to see current policies.

Desired additional policies, some of which are in draft form include: Hiring, Onboarding, Restoration and Redress, Racial Harassment,  Grievance, Transformation Justice

We ask that all policies center accountability and lead from an anti-racist lens.

3. Project Timeline

Release of RFP: Monday, November 22, 2021

Question Period: November 22 – December 3, 2021
Note: Submit Questions via email to
lgoldenberg@wilmatheater.org
All responses will be shared collectively with interested contractors following this period. Questions sent by phone or other means are not guaranteed a reply.

Proposals Due: Monday, December 13, 2021 at 11:59pm
Interviews (if needed): December 15 – 23, 2021
Selection Finalized: Friday, January 14, 2022

Handbook Draft 1 / Progress Report: February 15, 2022
Handbook Finalized: April 25, 2022
Legal Review complete and Handbook implemented: June 30, 2022

Note: The Wilma board includes Directors who have experience in handbook creation and legal review, and/or may connect us to pro bono services for the legal review. Contractor would facilitate this process and make necessary adjustments before finalization.

4. Elements of Proposal

a) Brief Background/Bio of Contractor
b) Introductory letter about project approach. Letter should address how your work as a consultant connects to the Wilma’s values.
c) Proposed Project Plan, including estimated needs and time required from Wilma team
d) At least two example projects or references, preferably that speak to contractor’s demonstrated history of anti-racist  work

5. How to Submit

Email Proposal as a PDF to Leigh Goldenberg, Managing Director, by Monday, December 13, 2021 at 11:59pm: lgoldenberg@wilmatheater.org

6. Evaluation Criteria

a) Mission and Values Alignment
b) Budget and Timeline Alignment
c) Connection of past projects to this work

7. Possible Roadblocks

The Wilma works with a small business department (2 full time) and a leadership team that includes the Managing Director and three Co-Artistic Directors. While these will be the primary point people on this project, there will be a need to offer feedback and engagement from members of the Wilma’s staff (employees),  board (volunteers), and HotHouse acting company (contractors).
Simultaneous with this project, we will be engaged in preparations, rehearsals, and performances for two productions, as well as an accounting system migration.   

8. Budget

The budget range is $1,500-$6,000.

Please outline project vs hourly rate and additional fees within the proposal.

9. Additional information

Wilma Theater Organizational Values

  • Curiosity: A willing, playful, open-minded approach to each encounter, each person, our work and ourselves with an inquisitive imagination about what may emerge.
  • Courage: A desire to approach our work with boldness and openness, despite fear. 
  • Care: Thoughtfully considering the needs and wants of others with empathy.
  • Rigor: Fostering an environment in which we individually and collectively continue to learn, practice, and deepen our craft.
  • Joy: Actively creating the conditions for presence, pleasure, and vitality. 
  • Collaboration: A mode of working towards a common goal dependent on trust, respect, active listening, and mutual support; in which the ideas and experiences of all participants inform the outcome.
  • Liberation: Inclusivity and equity in our work, ensuring a dynamic and productive environment in which everyone is empowered, heard, and valued.

Land and Labor Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that our theatre is located on land that is not ours. We acknowledge that the Lenni Lenape people are the original people of this land and that they continue to be a vibrant community. 

We acknowledge that we benefit from systems that are rooted in capital created and expanded by the free labor of Black people, in the form of chattel slavery and legal and cultural segregation. We stand in solidarity with Black people in fierce advocacy for equality and justice.​

Equal Opportunity Statement

The Wilma Theater is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, age, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or public assistance status in the recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, promotion, transfer, layoff, recall and termination of employees. The Wilma is committed to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable work environment. Those who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other members of underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.