Minutes — May 2017 Project Development Committee Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Paula Brunson, TWC
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Scott McAvoy
  • John Thomas
  • Rick Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Rachel Jew, DSHS
  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC
  • Dana Perry
  • Ron Roberts, TEA
  • David Taylor

Staff Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Radames Fuentes
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Joshua Ryf

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the Sheraton Georgetown Texas Hotel and Conference Center, 1101 Woodlawn Avenue, Georgetown, Texas 78628. Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM. A quorum was present.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members, staff and guests were introduced

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Consideration of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed minutes of the February 10, 2017, Project Development Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the February 10, 2017, Project Development Committee.
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Cortez announced member absences of Kimberly Blackmon, Mateo Delgado, Dana Perry, Ron Roberts, and David Taylor. Chair Cortez noted that neither Jennifer Kaut nor Sara Kendall from Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) were available for this meeting. Paula Brunson is attending as a representative from TWC although she is not a voting member.

    Chair Cortez reported that she and her mother attended the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Buddy Walk on Washington Advocacy Conference in early April in Washington, D.C., and participated in several congressional visits. Cortez met with Congressman Vicente Gonzalez who represents her district and noted that he indicated an interest in becoming involved with the Down Syndrome Task Force.

    Chair Cortez also reported that on April 7, 2017, Project HIRE held an end of grant event at the Education Service Center Region 1 offices. Cortez offered remarks on behalf of TCDD in Spanish. There were approximately 150 attendees including students from previous classes. Council Chair Mary Durheim, Executive Director Beth Stalvey and Grants Management Specialist Wendy Jones were also in attendance.

  5. Member Updates
    Council member John Thomas reported that the Joseph Thomas Foundation held a triathlon consisting of skee ball, bowling, and miniature golf. The event raised money for medically fragile children.

    Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) representative Ivy Goldstein reported that DSHS, in partnership with Texas Parent to Parent, is developing a website entitled “Collective Wisdom.” This website will create feature profiles of individuals with disabilities in their volunteer and/or employment positions with the intent of sharing innovative ideas that can be replicated. Texas Parent to Parent plans to expand the Collective Wisdom content to include postsecondary education, housing, and personal networks.

    Paula Brunson reported that TWC is working with Microsoft to replicate a program in its Washington State location that employs people with disabilities in its Irving, TX location.

    Council member Scott McAvoy informed the Committee that Marbridge Foundation hosted their 5th Annual Symposium: The CoAct Project, at the end of April 2017. Approximately 100 people from 22 states were in attendance. Ron Susskind, the writer of “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism” presented at the conference. Susskind announced that he has developed an app for children with autism in collaboration with Disney. The app, called “Sidekicks,” turns real life situations into Disney characters and situations and is expected to be released in May 2017. McAvoy plans to attend the TrainUp National Leadership Training course in Houston.

  6. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    Planning Director Joanna Cordry discussed a handout on Disconnected Youth. Measure of America of the Social Research Council defines “disconnected youth” as individuals between the ages of 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working. TWC representative Brunson informed the Committee that TWC is working with local workforce boards to provide pre-employment transitional services to youth/students with disabilities. TWC is developing a “Summer Earn and Learn” program in partnership with local business to match individuals and employers. The participants obtain work experience and the employers see that people with disabilities can and do a great job.

    A TCDD project to develop an app to help navigate employment benefits was suggested, but it was noted that TCDD is currently funding the National Disability Institute (NDI) with a grant that focuses on understanding employment options and supports.

    Members discussed other barriers to education and employment such as limited English proficiency and reading ability.

  7. Staff Reports
    1. Status of New/Approved Projects
      Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reported that no new projects started this quarter. The Youth Leadership projects, which were approved at the February Executive Committee meeting, are expected to begin during next quarter.

    2. Projected Available Funds
      Operations Director Martha Cantu reported that TCDD funds for FY 2016 in the amount of $270,000 are still available for assignment. Additional funds for FY 2017 in the amount of $80,000 are also still available for assignment.

    3. Other Updates
      Planning Director Cordry and Executive Assistant Koren Vogel will attend the Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Linguistic Competence 2017 Leadership Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico in June of 2017. Cordry will be representing the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Vogel will represent TCDD as a part of the Developmental Disabilities Network Partners. Participation in this program is an intensive four-day training with follow-up and mentoring opportunities.

      Cordry reported that Texas Sibling Network and the TCDD Policy Fellows Request for Proposals have been posted.

  8. Future Activities For State Plan Implementation
    1. State Plan Projects List
      The Committee discussed the list of projects that must be developed to address goals and objectives in the FY 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan, and Planning Director Cordry provided the status of those projects. Cordry is seeking ideas for activities to meet the required Objective 3.3 “Collaborate with at least one statewide self-advocacy network to increase their capacity to pursue their mission.” In addition, the Council must develop new activities to satisfy Objective 3.4 “Support self-advocates and family members to participate in cross-disability, culturally diverse leadership coalitions.”

      Committee members discussed options to address State Plan Objective 1.10 “Pilot at least one practice that supports organizations, agencies, groups, or individuals that provide services to the general public to fully include and be responsive to the needs of people with developmental disabilities.” It was suggested that collaboration with organizations that conduct training projects, such as HEB or the Central Texas Food Bank, would meet this objective. Members also discussed the potential for an education project in South Texas or other underserved geographic area.

    2. Executive Summaries
      1. Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Project
        Planning Director Cordry presented the Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Project Executive Summary which would fund an organization to develop and provide training in the following areas:
        1. History and philosophy of the disability rights movement;
        2. Principles of self-determination;
        3. Strategies to find and access necessary services and supports;
        4. Activities to develop self-advocacy skills; and
        5. Activities to promote interaction between participants and peer support.

        There would be no minimum number of participants that would be served; the number would be flexible and relative to the area in which the project is implemented. Committee members suggested staff include language in the Request for Proposals (RFP) to reflect the population of the rural area. Committee members would like to see applicants provide a justification for the participants based on population density.

        MOTION: To recommend Council approval of funding of up to $75,000 per year, for up to five years, for one Local Leadership and Advocacy Training project to be implemented by a local self-advocacy organization, to include the possibility of receiving additional funds up to $25,000 to provide reasonable accommodations to Project Directors or Project Coordinators who have a developmental disability if they are necessary and exceed the amount the group can afford.
        MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
        SECOND: Rick Tisch
        The motion passed unanimously.

      2. Texas Developmental Disabilities Network Project: Impact of Medicaid Services and Supports
        Planning Director Cordry presented Texas Developmental Disabilities Network Project: Impact of Medicaid Services and Supports. This would be a collaborative project to gather personal stories from individuals with developmental disabilities and family members about how Medicaid services support them in their daily lives. This is an emerging need due to proposed changes to Medicaid at the federal level that may negatively impact the services people receive. TCDD’s State Plan currently includes Objective 2.2, which states, “Collaborate with the DD Network Partners to promote the use of person-centered practices and educate people with developmental disabilities and their families about, and increase the use of, alternatives to guardianship by 9/30/2021.” Should this Executive Summary be approved, the language in the Objective would be changed to reflect this project.

        The Executive Summary recommends a one year project. Funding would not exceed $50,000 for outreach, communication materials, staff time and travel expenses. Committee members discussed this project and agreed that it should be done as quickly as possible.

        MOTION: To recommend Council approval of up to $50,000 for one year, to support the Texas DD Network Partners to gather personal stories from individuals with developmental disabilities and family members about the ways in which they have been impacted by Medicaid.
        MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
        SECOND: Mary Durheim
        The motion passed unanimously.

  9. Future Project Funding Priorities
    The Committee reviewed and discussed the current list of projects that have been approved for funding. The Future Funding Priorities list was updated and reorganized as listed below:

    1. TCDD Network Partners: Impact of Medicaid Services and Support
    2. Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training
    3. Peer Support Specialists for Person Directed Planning
    4. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Topics
    5. Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making DD Network Project

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of the Future Project Funding Priorities list with the addition of the projects in the following order:

    1. TCDD Network Partners: Impact of Medicaid Services and Support;
    2. Local Leadership Development and Advocacy Training;
    3. Peer Support Specialists for Person Directed Planning;
    4. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related topics;
    5. Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making DD Network Project.

    MADE BY: Mary Durheim
    SECOND: Scott McAvoy
    The motion passed unanimously.

  10. Other Discussion Items
    Planning Director Cordry briefly presented slides related to TCDD’s Health and Fitness projects that recently ended. Additional discussion will be conducted at the August 2017 PDC meeting.


There being no further business, Chair Cortez adjourned the meeting at 4:03 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council