Policy Fellows will build skills to promote self-determination and self-advocacy.
The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund up to two Texas organizations per year to each hire and support a full-time TCDD Policy Fellow. Organizations receiving funding must support Fellows to develop a deep understanding of policy affecting people with developmental disabilities (DD) and also build skills to promote self-determination and self-advocacy. The deadline to submit a proposal is December 1, 2016.
Many professional advocates who have been collaborating successfully with people with DD and their families on disability-related policy issues are nearing retirement. TCDD believes it is important to ensure that new policy-focused professionals receive training and mentoring from these experienced professionals. Unfortunately, the opportunities to be mentored by seasoned, long-time experts may decrease in the near future as those experts retire. Additionally, organizations that are seeing decreased budgets have difficulties hiring individuals who would benefit from having experienced mentors.
TCDD intends to support opportunities for experienced policy professionals to train and mentor less experienced policy professionals through a fellowship program. TCDD expects that TCDD Policy Fellows will develop the skills and knowledge to work effectively at the state and community levels.
About the RFP
TCDD hopes to fund up to two Texas organizations per year to each select, hire, train and employ a paid full-time TCDD Policy Fellow for up to two years. Two years after the project ends, the Fellows are expected to be employed in positions that impact public policy that addresses issues important to individuals with DD.
The majority of the Fellow’s work should be on issues important to people with DD; however, the Fellow may work on some cross-disability issues. The Fellow, in collaboration with the organization (grantee), will be able to select their core areas of focus. The Fellow must use research and data to justify the particular policy they choose as their focus. When proposing the issues they will work on, and the specific policy activities they will engage in, the Fellow must demonstrate how strategic progress in their work constitutes a “win” or significant incremental accomplishment on the way to a longer-term public policy goal that is consistent with TCDD’s Mission and Guiding Principles.
Fellows will likely contribute meaningfully to the mission of the grantee organization for whom they work and may be given substantial responsibility. However, the grant applicant must demonstrate in the proposal that the primary focus of this project is to mentor the Fellow. Each organization will be required to identify a mentor for the Fellow.
Eligible grant applicants include public agencies, private not-for-profit agencies, schools, and private for-profit organizations. Fellows must be (A) recent graduates of post-graduate programs in law, social work, public policy or other related programs, or (B) self-advocates — or parents or siblings of persons with disabilities — who have demonstrated post-graduate level skills and knowledge in public policy advocacy.
Grant Funds Available
TCDD has made available up to $67,500 per year, per organization, for up to two organizations, for up to two years. Funding for the second year is not automatic. The organizations receiving the grants must use the grant funds to cover:
- The salary of a full-time Fellow, which is expected to be approximately $35,000 — $45,000 per year (if the Fellow receives public benefits that will be reduced by this salary, the Fellow may work part-time);
- Benefits equal to those of the organization’s other employees;
- Mentoring; and
- Professional development.
This RFP will remain open throughout the year and applicants may submit proposals at any time. The TCDD Executive Committee will review proposals received prior to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on December 1 at the TCDD Council Meeting in February. Proposals received by 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on June 1 will be reviewed at the TCDD Council Meeting in August. TCDD intends to offer opportunities to apply for these grants each year for up to five years.
More Information and Submitting a Proposal
More information, including the complete RFP, is available on the DD Suite website. Proposals for this RFP and all forms must be submitted using DD Suite.
If you have questions after reviewing the complete RFP, email Danny Fikac, Planning Specialist or call him — 512-437-5415.