Request for Proposals: Aquarium Partnership Coordinator

Issued on: November 9, 2015

Proposals Due: December 11, 2015


The Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP) seeks a qualified, independent consultant (the “Consultant”) with the capacity and skills to coordinate a new conservation partnership among a consortium of leading U.S. aquariums. This two-year pilot initiative will begin in January 2016 and conclude in December 2017. The ACP is seeking proposals from qualified firms and individuals possessing the skills, contacts and staff talent to meet a set of two- year outcomes. Ideally, proposers will designate a primary point of contact to act in a coordinator role for the entire two-year pilot period. The Consultant will be responsible for supporting the execution of the ACP’s 2016-17 Conservation Action Agenda by working closely with a Steering Committee comprised of the member aquariums. The Consultant will work closely with a six-member Executive Committee, with the Steering Committee Chair acting as the primary point of contact for the day to day work of the Consultant.


ACP Background

The ACP is a two-year proof-of-concept project designed to bring the nation’s leading aquariums together to achieve meaningful conservation impact for ocean and freshwater resources, particularly at the federal and state policy levels. The ACP is a voluntary, unincorporated project that was initiated by Monterey Bay Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium, and National Aquarium. The ACP currently comprises 15 sponsoring institutions, and membership is open to accredited U.S. aquariums. The current working budget for the two-year pilot period is $515,000.

The ACP’s purpose is to provide strategic information and guidance to aquariums and coordinate an action-based effort to achieve specific policy goals included in the 2016-17 Conservation Action Agenda. During the pilot period, the ACP’s primary objective will be to inform and align action to reduce sources of ocean and freshwater plastic pollution. By the end of 2017, the ACP’s efforts are expected to have directly led to the following results:

  • Three additional U.S. states adopt plastic pollution measures;
  • Five additional U.S. communities adopt plastic pollution measures;
  • Congress considers legislation to reduce sources of plastic pollution in U.S. and international waters;
  • The Administration issues a policy directive to reduce sources of plastic pollution;
  • The next Administration identifies plastic pollution as a top conservation priority; and,
  • A new multinational effort is launched to reduce sources of plastic pollution.

The ACP has also identified three additional conservation issues that it considers timely and relevant for limited, strategic engagement during the pilot period:

  1. To increase protection of important ocean and freshwater ecosystems;
  2. To protect threatened shark and ray species globally; and,
  3. To improve the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture.

Wherever possible, the ACP will help inform and facilitate aquarium participation to advance these issues, many of which are associated with existing or planned multi- organizational strategies, and connect interested aquariums with others in the field. Additionally, the ACP will enable aquariums to respond to critical issues in a changing policy environment and provide a forum to develop coordinated, strategic interventions when opportunities for policy action arise. In doing so, the ACP will facilitate the efficient exchange of policy information while reducing the burden on individual aquarium conservation staff in assessing requests for aquarium involvement in policy issues.


Program of Work

The Consultant will be responsible for prioritizing and executing day-to-day activities associated with the ACP’s 2016-17 Conservation Action Agenda, including: developing and executing work plans, shaping policy strategies to accomplish Action Agenda outcomes, facilitating and managing meetings, managing outside consultants and resources, assisting with fundraising and reporting, managing information sharing, issuing periodic project updates, bringing action items to the Executive Committee and Steering Committee for resolution, and other tasks as necessary and appropriate.



  • Work with ACP leadership to develop and execute annual work plans and budgets to implement the 2016-17 ACP Conservation Action Agenda.
  • Develop agendas, facilitate and provide follow-up to regular meetings of the ACP Executive Committee and full Steering Committee.
  • Promote collaboration, negotiation, and problem-solving among ACP members.
  • Ensure legal compliance and provide counsel to ACP members around issues of lobbying, initiative advocacy and other compliance matters.
  • Identify and collaborate with other local, state, national and international NGOs focusing on reducing plastic pollution and other issues of importance to the ACP.
  • Share information among ACP members on conservation policy issues and activities.
  • Identify communication needs among ACP members (for example, a web-based tool) and manage the development and deployment of the technology.
  • Identify and analyze relevant policies and recommend policy positions as necessary.
  • Identify and manage outside contractors to conduct relevant research.
  • Represent ACP members and participate in meetings with policy officials.
  • Manage the ACP budget and report to members and funders as needed.
  • Assist in planning and executing issue-based events.
  • Identify resources for, and oversee implementation of, the final project evaluation.


Expected Qualifications

The Consultant will demonstrate the ability to develop and execute policy strategies at state and federal levels, combined with a commitment to successfully implement the ACP Conservation Action Agenda during the 2016-17 pilot period. Additionally, the Consultant is expected to provide the following professional services:

  • A proven and successful history of policy strategy development and advocacy at the state or federal level, preferably related to ocean conservation issues.
  • Demonstrated leadership in building and managing coalitions among the conservation, business, government, media, NGO and other communities.
  • Expertise in facilitating meetings, documenting proceedings and ensuring follow up.
  • Communications, public relations and government affairs expertise and contacts.
  • Capacity to provide accounting services is preferred, though this can be outsourced.



While it is preferred that the Consultant be based in Washington, DC, firms or individuals in other locations will be considered based on expertise and experience.



Total contract value is negotiable based on the level of service and experience. Total annual budget for Consultant services is in the low six-figures.



Proposals are due by December 11, 2015, after which finalists will be contacted for interviews by the ACP selection committee. A final decision is expected by December 31, 2015. The chosen Consultant will be expected to attend a formative meeting of the full Steering Committee on January 11, 2016, in Tucson, AZ.


Contact information

Please send proposal to Inquiries may also be made to this address.