RFA: Leadership and Advocacy Training by a Local Self-Advocacy Organization

Executive Summary

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for a Leadership and Advocacy Training by a Local Self-Advocacy Organization Grant (RFA 2020-08). Funding is available for one local self-advocacy organization to provide leadership and advocacy skills training. Self-advocates will take the lead on the project, conduct the trainings, and be positioned as community leaders. People who participate in the trainings will learn about disability-related issues and become active in creating change in their communities.

The grantee will develop a training curriculum, recruit participants, and conduct the trainings. Training participants may include people with disabilities, students with developmental disabilities (DD), people living in institutions, family members of people with disabilities, and other community members.

The funding amount for this RFA is open-ended based on activities proposed, but funding for typical TCDD projects that address leadership and advocacy range from $25,000 to $150,000 per year. A maximum of one project will be funded for up to five years and the project should provide training to at least 20 people each year. The deadline to apply is June 15, 2020.

Background

This project is intended to support self-advocates to develop their skills, participate in local self-advocacy groups and partnerships, and to become more visible leaders in their communities. Training participants will become active in creating change in their communities.

Providing leadership development and advocacy training to self-advocates promotes personal independence, self-determination, and greater inclusion in community life of people with disabilities. TCDD’s state plan includes objectives to provide leadership and advocacy skills to support people in creating systems change. Providing this type of training to self-advocates promotes:

  • personal independence,
  • self-determination, and
  • greater inclusion in community life for people with disabilities.

TCDD has funded multiple statewide and local leadership and advocacy skills training projects. This RFA supports self-advocacy organizations at the local level to build on their community activities. Training participants will advocate for policies and procedures that support people with DD and families to have control over their own lives and to be fully included in their communities.

Project Description and Milestones

The Leadership and Advocacy Training by a Local Self-Advocacy Organization project will have self-advocates in leadership positions for project development, coordination, curriculum choices, and implementation. Self-advocates will provide leadership and advocacy training to people with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, and other community members.

Project staff will determine how the curriculum will be used and how training will be provided. Training must include:

  • history and philosophy of the disability rights movement;
  • principles of self-determination;
  • strategies to find and access necessary services and supports;
  • activities to develop self-advocacy skills; and
  • activities to promote interaction between participants and peer support.

Organizations implementing the training may charge a reasonable fee for training or for continuing education units but must ensure that people with DD and family members will be able to participate regardless of ability to pay. TCDD will have final approval of any fee structure and procedure.

By the end of the first year, project staff must:

  • develop the curriculum for leadership development and advocacy skills training using curriculum selected by project staff and approved by TCDD;
  • conduct outreach and recruit training participants from the local community; and
  • begin training an agreed-upon number of individuals.

Throughout the project, staff will:

  • train a minimum of 20 individuals each year;
  • track and survey all participants’ advocacy activities and their satisfaction with the project;
  • provide TCDD with up-to-date information and recommendations that can be used to develop further policy actions and future projects; and
  • evaluate the project and use the information gained to improve the training.

By the end of the final year of the project, project staff must:

  • document at least 10% of program participants who continue their involvement in leadership roles or public advocacy after their training is complete. These ongoing activities may include serving on committees, boards, or workgroups; and
  • document that at least 80% of program participants demonstrate perceived improvement in their ability to advocate for themselves and others.

All organizations must have procedures in place to obtain contact information (including e-mail addresses) from participants and to inform participants that their contact information will be forwarded to TCDD so that TCDD may provide information related to advocacy opportunities to advocates. Grantees should forward to TCDD the names of participants who are interested in ongoing advocacy, advanced training, or serving on a board or committee.

Outputs and Outcomes

Projects will develop a training curriculum, conduct outreach to recruit participants, and train at least 20 people per year. The curriculum will be made publicly available and trainees will be engaged with after their training concludes.

TCDD expects projects to:

  • train a minimum of 20 individuals per year beginning in the second year;
  • track and survey all the participants’ advocacy activities and their satisfaction with the project;
  • provide TCDD with information about relevant public policy issues, how public policy issues can be or were addressed, and whether efforts to address them were successful (public policy issues may be related to rules, laws, budgets, practices, or other barriers that prevent people from accessing information, services and supports, and/or being included in community life);
  • provide TCDD with at least one story each year about a person who experienced a benefit from the project;
  • provide TCDD with relevant information to assist TCDD to better understand and address the experiences of diverse groups of people who are unserved and underserved (including, but not limited to, people of color, people living in rural areas, and people living in poverty); and
  • ensure that project outcomes have a sustained long-term impact that benefits people with DD. This may include things such as:
    • changing or creating at least one policy, procedure, statute, and/or regulation;
    • educating and sharing information with decision-makers or others in the community;
    • training, supporting, and/or organizing people with DD to advocate for themselves and/or serve in leadership positions;
    • creating new partnerships that increase the capacity of the community to support individuals with DD;
    • creating a new program, model, or technology that continues to be available after the grant funding ends;
    • producing a product that will be of value beyond the life of the grant; and/or
    • enabling more people to have access to services and supports.

Grant Award and Term

Eligible applicants for this RFA are limited to local self-advocacy groups and organizations; however, applicants that do not have the capacity to receive funds can partner with organizations that can perform fiscal and administrative functions. Regardless of the involvement of a partner organization, self-advocates will take the lead on the project and conduct the training.

The funding amount for this RFA is open-ended based on activities proposed, but typical TCDD projects that address leadership and advocacy range from $25,000 to $150,000 per year. At the sole discretion of TCDD, and contingent on grantee performance and the continued availability of funds appropriated by the TCDD Council, the grant may be renewed without re-procurement for up to four additional years after the initial award year. A maximum of one project will be funded.

Funds available for these projects are provided to TCDD by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Disabilities, pursuant to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. Funding for the project is dependent on the results of a review process established by TCDD and on the availability of funds. Non-federal matching funds of at least 10% of the total project costs are required for projects in federally designated poverty areas. Non-federal matching funds of at least 25% of total project costs are required for projects in other areas.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Applications are due to TCDD by 5 p.m. Central Time (CT) on Monday, June 15, 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. TCDD will notify applicants about decisions following TCDD’s August 2020 Council Meeting. Review dates are subject to change.

TCDD will hold a webinar to provide more information about TCDD’s processes for application review and grant award. Attendance is not required in order to apply. The informational webinar will be held at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. To register for the webinar, go here.

The deadline to submit questions about the RFA was Friday, May 15, 2020. For the submitted questions and corresponding answers, go here.

How to Apply

TCDD uses an online application tool called SMApply to accept applications for RFAs. In SMApply, applicants submit their applications by entering information and uploading documents. All application activities take place in SMApply. The application in SMApply includes detailed instructions regarding what information to include in an application. To apply for this RFA, visit TCDD’s SMApply page.

General RFA Information

To learn more about TCDD’s RFAs, including the application process and what is required of grantees, visit the General RFA Information webpage. For information on completing an application — including a preview of the RFA application, an example of a budget, and more — visit the Resources webpage.