Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about TCDD grant funding.

What kinds of grant projects does TCDD fund?

We fund projects that help us meet the goals and objectives in our five-year state plan. You can find more information on our projects here on our website. To learn about the latest Request for Applications (RFA) and stipends, see our Funding Available page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive announcements about funding opportunities.

Who should apply for the grants?

Organizations that have values aligned with our mission statement and that are committed to building self-determination for people with disabilities and their families should consider applying for TCDD grant funding. Applicants must address the specific goals in the RFA and follow TCDD requirements and policies. Also, applicants must ensure that people from diverse cultures and disabilities are represented in all activities.

In general, all organizations that can legally work in Texas may apply. This may include public agencies, private nonprofit agencies, private for-profit organizations, or universities — unless the RFA states only certain types of organizations may apply. Some RFAs may include specific restrictions or stated preferences.

We appreciate and values the small, local groups helping to support and shape their communities, especially those in rural and underserved areas of Texas. We encourage organizations of all sizes to apply. A portion of awarded grant funding can be used to contract with other people and organizations to assist with tasks a grantee would like help with.

May organizations collaborate on a project?

Yes! We encourage collaborations. You will have to decide which organization is the “grantee of record” and will be responsible for managing the project and the funding. Questions about potential conflicts of interest should be directed to TCDD staff.

May out-of-state organizations apply?

Unless restricted by the RFA, out-of-state organizations may apply if they can legally work in Texas.

May individuals apply for a grant?

Individuals may not apply for TCDD grant funding or stipends.

How many grants may one organization have?

One organization may have up to three grants at any single time. This does not include stipends.

If a grantee already has three existing grants but would like to apply to a new RFA, then the grantee may still apply as long as one of its existing grants will end within six months after the RFA’s application deadline.

During the grant writing process, whom do you contact?

If you have questions, contact the TCDD staff member listed in the RFA. Please note that there is a deadline after which questions may not be answered. This deadline is also listed in the RFA.

In writing your application, should you focus on the first year of your proposed project?

Yes, you should focus on and provide details for the first year of your project, but you should also briefly describe what you expect to do in the following years.

Will grant application review criteria be made available to applicants? For example, if certain sections are weighted more heavily than others, is this information available to applicants?

Specific review criteria are available to applicants. Selection of the top applications is not based on a pre-determined weighting system, but on a thorough review of each application’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a collective determination of which applications are most likely to result in the RFA’s desired outcomes. Applicants are encouraged to submit project proposals that address the needs of underserved geographic areas of Texas and under-represented groups related to race, culture, and poverty level.

Are there a preferred number of performance measures per objective?

There is no preferred number of performance measures. The number will depend on your project and the number of measures that are manageable for you to capture and report. However, applicants must propose methods to address the outcomes listed in the RFA.

Are letters of support accepted?

Yes, letters of support will be accepted with your application if they are submitted as attachments to your application through SMApply.

What happens to your application after it is submitted?

Applications are reviewed by TCDD staff for compliance with the technical requirements as described in the RFA packet. Then, the applications are sent to an independent review panel that evaluates each application and makes recommendations to the Council’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee seeks additional input from TCDD staff on public policy and grants management issues, then makes the final decision on whether to award funding.

Comments and recommendations submitted to the Executive Committee are available to applicants. Once a funding decision is made, applicants receive written notification from TCDD, after which grant negotiations can begin.

If your project is not approved for funding, may you ask why?

Each application is evaluated against the criteria listed in the RFA. You will receive comments from review panel members that explain both the strengths and the weaknesses of your application. Please remember that we have a competitive application process. Even if your application is good, there may be another application that is considered stronger.

If your project is not approved for funding, may you apply again?

Yes! You are encouraged to apply again if there is an available RFA that interests you.

If you are awarded funding, what happens after you receive the notice?

Any necessary negotiations are completed between the grantee, TCDD staff, and the TCDD grants director. The grant award is not final until negotiations are completed and a formal document called the Notice of Grant Award is signed by your organization’s authorizing official and the TCDD executive director or designee. The length of time it takes to complete the negotiation process can vary from project to project.

What kind of support will you receive from TCDD during your project?

You will be assigned a TCDD grants specialist who will provide technical assistance about the requirements and processes related to reporting, allowable expenses, and requesting reimbursements. Your grants specialist will also answer questions about completing forms and make sure you are complying with TCDD policies and both federal and state regulations. Other TCDD staff members can provide help on communications and public policy issues related to your project.

How will TCDD define the success of your project?

In general, your project’s success depends on what you do, whom you reach, what changes you create, and whether you address and meet the goal of the RFA. Other things that will be evaluated:

Your project will also be evaluated on whether it creates a lasting change or impact that will continue to benefit people with DD after your funding ends. There are different ways this may be done. For example, your project may:

  • change a system that serves or supports people with DD
  • continue the activities that began with TCDD funding
  • create or contribute to a policy change
  • create a new program or a product that continues to be available after your funding ends

In evaluating your project, we will also look at whether you followed your workplan (or obtained approval for any changes), all reporting requirements, and TCDD grant policies. You will also be evaluated on whether you spent your funds appropriately and as planned.

Success is not determined by the completion of your workplan activities alone. We also learn from the challenges our grantees face in implementing new approaches and programs. We encourage you to share any lessons you learn from your project. You will have many opportunities to do so throughout the duration of your funding.

You must submit quarterly reports and maintain contact with your TCDD grants specialist. You also may be invited to address the Council about your project.

You must submit continuation applications as appropriate, and at the conclusion of the grant, you must submit a final report.

Do grantees ever get extensions at the end of the grant cycle? For example, if the RFA states a project may receive funding for up to two years, could a grantee receive funding for a third year?

Grantees should not expect to receive funding for longer than the RFA states.

May you charge for conferences you hold using TCDD funds?

Yes, you may charge for conferences. However, you must ensure that people with DD and their families are not prohibited from attending due to the cost of the conference.

Are food expenses ever allowed?

The only food expenses allowed are for working lunches for meetings and training sessions as well as actual expenses for meals associated with approved travel based on State of Texas travel reimbursements.

Can you use grant funding to pay for mileage for people other than your staff members to travel? (For example: Project Advisory Committee members, consultants, or presenters)

Yes. If it is necessary and related to achieving the goals of the project, you can use grant funding for this purpose.

Can airline tickets and rental cars be paid for with grant funding?
Yes, airline tickets and rental cars can be included as travel expenses if they are necessary and related to the goals of the project and are the most cost-efficient method of travel.

What is the rate for per diem?

We limit travel expenses to the amounts allowed by the State of Texas. Amounts allowed for meals and lodging (often referred to as “per diem rates”) vary based on where you are traveling. To find maximum travel expense rates for this and other areas, including the mileage reimbursement rate, see the General Services Administration Per Diem Rates Look-Up.

May the entire match be in-kind?
It may, but it will need to be documented.

What kind of things can be considered in-kind match?

Your in-kind match may include expenses that are:

  • allowable under federal guidelines and TCDD policies;
  • necessary for your project;
  • not paid by federal funds (ours or those of another agency); and
  • not already being used as match for another federal grant.

Some examples include: office space, utilities, volunteer time (including members of your Project Advisory Committee), printing costs, consultants (if not paid through the grant), or staff not paid for through the grant.

Projects serving poverty counties only require a match of 10% of the grant award. How is the total match amount determined?

The required match amount for poverty areas is at least 10% of the total project cost and should be calculated by taking the total TCDD funding amount received and dividing by nine. So, a TCDD grant of $75,000 would require match of at least $8,333 (75,000/9=8,333). The match amount for these projects is provided at the top of the first page of the RFA. Please use the amount noted in the RFA or use the formula provided under Section B in the Grant Application Instructions.

Can the main address for a grantee’s office be in a non-poverty county but provide services only in high-poverty areas?

Yes. Also, if all services are provided in a poverty area, you may use the lower 10% match rate.

Where can you find the list of federal poverty areas?

You can find this information online from the U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts. At the top of the page, type the name of the county (or counties) in the box and select the fact you want information about.

If an accommodation is required for a qualified project staff member, would TCDD assist in the process?

We expect that accommodations will be managed by the organization hiring the individual. Awarded grant funding may be used to cover any expenses.

Would TCDD fund the accommodation separate from awarded grant funding?

We do not provide additional funds unless the RFA notes otherwise.

If you are asked to accept a partial award, what does that mean?

In some cases, the Council might fund some proposed activities but not others, particularly if some of the proposed activities do not align with TCDD’s positions or philosophy, or if they are not related to achieving the goals of the RFA.


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