I have made corrections to the April 5th post in light of additional information:
After finally receiving a response from a representative at National Farm to School regarding CHS' comments on the Request for Proposal NFSN sent out, CHS learned that the RFP in question is not focused on racial equity.
" We've reviewed the RFP and made adjustments to the process, specifically focusing on an exploratory conversation with potential consultants and removing unnecessary application materials. The revised RFP is on our website here." - Jessica Gudmundson, Senior Director of Finance and Operations, NFSN
After multiple attempts to reach NFSN, beginning on March 31st, NFSN's reply:
"I am in receipt of your email to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com in regards to our recent newsletter and the Strategic Planning Consultant RFP; I am responding on behalf of both of those communications.
Thank you for flagging equity implications of the RFP. We've reviewed the RFP and made adjustments to the process, specifically focusing on an exploratory conversation with potential consultants and removing unnecessary application materials. The revised RFP is on our website here. While we were not expressly seeking a racial equity consultant, the equity implications are important for all consultants we engage. We thank you again for flagging this needed adjustment and hope you will continue to do so. In partnership, Jessica (Senior Director, Finance and Operations)" April 8th, 2022
I replied, asking for information about an equity consultant and learned that NFSN has hired one.
"We currently have a equity consultant contracted with us to complete an organizational audit of NFSN including the concerns raised (a process NFSN initiated in Oct. 2021), with the possibility of hiring additional consultants in relation to the resulting action plan. We anticipate that the plan will be completed in July." April 12, 2022
and upon pressing for more information:
"Apologies for the delay. We are working with Anh Thang Dao-Shah from Create Equity Research Partners. Ms. Dombalis remains on leave and I don't have any further updates at this time." April 20, 2022
Another former employee of National Farm to School, Ms. Krystal Oriadha, former Senior Director of Programs and Policy was gracious enough to make time to speak with CHS.
Ms. Oriadha added her own experiences to those of Ms. Parker (although CHS made it clear that the WI Partners are not in need of additional corroboration, it is helpful to have as much information as possible and not to require one Black woman to speak for 'all.') Ms. Oriadha's disclosures added another layer of complexity and severity to the information about Ms. Dombalis' behavior towards Black women. Additionally, Ms. Oriadha added some clarity to the relationship between Tides Foundation and the reports of Black women at NFSN. Ms. Oriadha stated that she is still holding out hope that leadership at Tides Foundation, now that they are aware of the oversights perpetrated by staff members of TIdes, will correct the situation internally so that she is not asking for Tides Foundation to be implicated in the mistreatment of Black women at NFSN but that the employees in charge of HR at that time be immediately fired.
I have made the appropriate corrections to the post from April 5th.
As of July 12, 2022, the Wisconsin NFSN Partners had finalized a letter and sent it to NFSN's Advisory Board. You can view the letter and their response HERE.