Minutes — February 2016 Project Development Committee Meeting

2016 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Ivy Goldstein
  • Jennifer Kaut
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Dana Perry
  • Barbara Kaatz
  • David Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Rick Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Andrew Crim
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair

Council Member Present

  • Kristen L. Cox, Council Vice-Chair

Guests Present

  • Megan Morgan
  • Isabel Evans

Staff Present

  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Wendy Jones
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Josh Ryf

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, February 4, 2016, at the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin at 12525 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, Texas 78738. Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 1:39 p.m. A quorum was present.

  1. Introduction of Committee Members, Staff And Visitors
    Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Approval Of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed minutes of the November 5, 2015, Project Development Committee meeting.

    MOTION:To approve the minutes of the November 5, 2015, Project Development Committee.
    MADE BY:John Thomas
    SECOND:Rick Tisch
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Cortez announced that Andrew Crim resigned as a Council member and that Mary Durheim, Council Chair, accepted the resignation. Chair Durheim will make a request to the governor’s office that this vacancy be filled as soon as possible. The Committee discussed which terms expire soon and where the governor appointment applications can be found.

    Joanna Cordry, Planning Coordinator, noted that the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities asks Council Members to disclose race/ethnicity, geographical location, and gender identity for the new state plan. TCDD staff are asked to disclose race/ethnicity and gender identity, and to self-identify if they have a disability. There is an option to not disclose.

  5. Member Updates
    Andrew Crim has submitted his resignation as council member.

  6. Staff Reports

    1. Status of New Projects
      Cynthia Ellison, Senior Grant Specialist, reported that the National Disability Institute’s project start date is pending and Disability Rights Texas’ project began on February 1, 2016.

    2. Projected Funds Available
      Martha Cantu, Operations Director, reported that TCDD has approximately one million dollars that needs to be obligated by September 30, 2016. These funds need to be spent by September 30, 2017.

      There were no additional questions for Cantu.

    3. Other Updates
      Staff reported that Beth Stalvey, Executive Director, is conducting research on how other DD Councils have implemented and structured their Partners in Policymaking project. Stalvey has had conversations with the New York DD Council about their use of technology to provide training. This information will be used to determine how best to use contractors to implement the program and to develop a draft workplan and job description. It was noted that Stalvey has met with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) contract staff. All contracts are issued through TEA, and TCDD will use their procedures for contract development and procurement. Currently there are no timelines for the project. The Committee discussed in detail the issues and options available for the implementation of the project.

      Cordry updated the Committee on the status of the Outreach and Development Grants that are currently approved through FY2016. To continue the funding for these projects, a new executive summary will need to be approved to authorize additional money. The Committee discussed options to update the requirements of the grant and to address issues such as: assisting grantees to develop infrastructure and sustainability; providing increased funding to continue successful projects; allowing grantees to apply for more than one grant; and reaching out to grantees from underserved areas. The Committee instructed staff to create an executive summary for an Outreach and Development RFP in the amount of $10,000 per project for the first year and to allow for an increase in funding in the second year if the project can show potential for sustainability.

      Cordry reported that the review panel process to evaluate the proposals submitted in response to the Leadership and Advocacy Projects Request for Proposals (RFP) is incomplete and the Executive Committee did not review any proposals received. The recommendations from the review panel will be presented at the May 2016 meeting. Staff are also re-writing sections of the TCDD Policy Fellows RFP to explain more clearly that the primary focus should be on supporting the Fellows to develop public policy skills.

  7. Future Activities For State Plan Implementation

    1. Higher Education Collaborative
      The Committee discussed the Higher Education Collaborative Executive Summary. This project will expand best practices that support students with developmental disabilities to succeed in post-secondary programs that were originally designed for students without disabilities. The project would be a 5 year grant with an open funding amount. Applicants would include the amount that they need to achieve the outcomes, although the expected cost would be approximately $250,000.

      MOTION: To recommend approval of a Higher Education Collaborative Project as described in the Executive Summary for up to five years.
      MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
      SECOND: John Thomas
      The motion passed unanimously.

    2. Promotion of Supported Decision-Making and Alternatives to Guardianship
      The Committee discussed the executive summary for a project that will build on the work done to promote alternatives to guardianship and supported decision making. Staff recommend that the project be conducted by the Texas Developmental Disabilities Network partners (DD Network), which consists of Disability Rights Texas, the University of Texas Center on Disability Studies, and the A&M Center on Disability and Development. If approved, TCDD will fund a contractor to coordinate training, travel, and logistics, and to support the development of online training as needed. TCDD would also contribute staff expertise to the project.

      MOTION: To recommend approval of up to $100,000 for one year to hire a contractor to begin a DD Network project to provide training on alternatives to guardianship and supported decision making statewide.
      MADE BY: Rick Tisch
      SECOND: Scott McAvoy
      The motion passed unanimously.

  8. Future Project Funding Priorities
    The Committee reviewed and discussed the current list of projects and added the Higher Education Collaborative to the list of priorities. The priorities were reorganized as listed below:

    1. Partners in Policymaking;
    2. Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making DD Network Project;
    3. Higher Education Collaborative;
    4. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Topics;
    5. Partnership with African American Clergy to Support Families.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of the Future Project Funding Priorities list with the addition of the Higher Education Collaborative project as the third priority and reordering as listed above.
    MADE BY: Scott McAvoy
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

  9. Other Discussion Items
    The Committee discussed the Update on Workplace Bullying and agreed with staff recommendations to consider further action, such as developing projects, based on the legislative session outcomes.

    The Committee discussed and explored possible future project ideas. Staff was directed to research several project ideas and present executive summaries for a project to develop peer-to-peer supports for individuals with developmental disabilities receiving services in addition to developing an executive summary for additional Outreach and Development projects. Other ideas were discussed, including projects to develop models for community-based non-work and to hold Youth Leadership Forums.

    The Committee discussed the possibility of increasing the amount of funds available for stipends to organizations holding conferences in order to support individuals with developmental disabilities and family members’ attendance. The Committee asked staff to provide additional information at the May 2016 meeting.

    The Committee also discussed:

    • Contracting with a marketing firm to reach out to underserved areas and promote RFPs;
    • Promoting self-advocates who are trained as public speakers through TCDD’s Self-Advocates as Speakers projects;
    • Collecting videoed testimonies of people with developmental disabilities and their family members highlighting their success in order to provide hope and positive message to families who hear negative messages about their child’s future; and
    • Holding a conference to share information about the Higher Education Projects with educators. The Committee noted that this could be an activity included in the Higher Education Collaborative Project.


There being no further business, Chair Gladys Cortez adjourned the meeting at 3:58 p.m.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council