Frequently Asked Questions

Before Applying

  • 1. What kinds of grant projects does TCDD fund?

    TCDD funds projects that will help TCDD meet the goals and objectives in the five year state plan. The page Current Grant Projects on TCDD’s website provides information on current projects. The Completed Grant Projects page provides information about projects for which funding is completed. Requests for Applications for projects TCDD intends to fund is on the Funding Available page.

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  • 2. Who should apply for the grants?

    Organizations that have values in alignment with the TCDD mission statement and that are committed commitment to self-determination for individuals with disabilities and their families should consider applying. Applicants must address the specific goals in the RFA and follow TCDD requirements and policies. Additionally, the organization must be prepared and able to ensure that people from diverse cultures and disabilities are represented in all activities.

    In general, all types of organizations that are legally able to work in Texas may apply: 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; this will be listed in the RFA. TCDD appreciates 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 the grant funding can be used to contract with other individuals and organizations to assist with tasks you feel your organization needs help with.

  • 3. May organizations collaborate on a project?

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

  • 4. May out-of-state organizations apply?

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

  • 5. May individuals apply for a grant?

    Individuals may not apply for any TCDD grant or stipend.

  • 6. How many grants may one organization have?

    One organization may have up to three grants at any one time. This does not include stipends. Grantees having three current grants with at least one ending within six months after the deadline to respond to the RFA may still apply.

Writing the Application

  • 1. During the grant writing process, who do I contact?

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

  • 2. In writing our application, should we focus on year one?

    Yes, focus on and provide details for year one, but briefly describe what you expect to do in later years.

  • 3. 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 application(s) is not based on a pre-determined weighing system, but on a thorough review and discussion of each application’s overall strengths and weaknesses and a collective determination of which application is most likely to result in the desired outcomes. Applicants are encouraged to submit projects that include efforts to address the needs of underserved geographic areas of the state and under-represented groups related to race, culture, and poverty.

  • 4. 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.

  • 5. 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.

Application and Grant Award Processes

  • 1. What happens to my application after it is submitted?

    Applications are reviewed by Council staff for compliance with the technical requirements as described in the RFA packet. Applications are then sent to members of an independent review panel, who evaluate each application independently and then discuss the applications as a group. The review panel makes recommendations to the Council’s Executive Committee. The Executive Committee seeks additional input from staff on public policy and grants management issues and makes the final decisions. Comments and recommendations submitted to the Executive Committee are available to applicants. Applicants receive official notification of the Executive Committee’s decision in writing from the Council’s office, after which staff begins negotiations with grantees they select.

  • 2. If my project is not approved for funding, may I ask why and may I apply again?

    Each application is evaluated against multiple 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 TCDD has a competitive application process, so your application may be good but not as strong as another one.

    Yes, you are encouraged to apply again if there is a project that interests you!

  • 3. If I am awarded a grant, what happens after I receive the notice?

    Any necessary negotiations are completed between the grantee, Council staff, and the Grants Director after notification. The grant award is not final until after negotiations are completed and a Notice of Grant Award is signed. The length of time between being notified and having a signed NGA rests entirely on how quickly you and the assigned TCDD Grants Specialist are able to discuss and make necessary changes, have these approved by the Grants Specialist, and obtain signatures from both your organization’s Authorizing Official and TCDD’s Executive Director or designee.

  • 4. What kind of support will I receive from TCDD during the grant/project year(s)?

    A TCDD Grants Specialist will be assigned to your grant. He or she will provide technical assistance about the requirements and processes related to reporting, allowable expenses, and requesting reimbursements. He or she will also be available to answer questions about completing forms if needed and to make sure that you are complying with TCDD policies and both federal and state regulations. Other TCDD staff will provide technical assistance on communications and public policy issues.

  • 5. How will TCDD define success of the project?

    In general, success of the overall project will be “what you do, who you reach, what change you’ve created, and whether you’ve addressed and met the goal of the Request for Applications (RFA).”

    Other things that will be evaluated:

    • Whether your project created a lasting change or impact that will continue to benefit people with developmental disabilities after TCDD funding has ended. There are different ways this may be done. For example, projects may:
      • change a system that serves or supports people with developmental disabilities;
      • continue the activities that began with TCDD funding;
      • create or contribute to a policy change; or
      • create a new program or a product that continues to be available after the grant funding ends.
    • Whether you followed your workplan (or obtained approval for any changes), all reporting requirements, and TCDD grants policies.
    • Whether you spent your funds appropriately and as planned.

    At the conclusion of the grant, you must submit a final report.

    Success is not determined by completion of the workplan activities alone. We also learn from challenges grantees face in implementing new approaches and programs. We encourage grantees to share any lessons they learn from their projects.

    Grantees will have many opportunities to communicate the successes and lessons learned during the duration of the project. You will submit quarterly reports and maintain contact with your TCDD Grants Specialist. You also may be invited to address the Council as a whole. You will have to submit continuation applications as appropriate.

  • 6. 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 2 years, could it get funding for a third year?

    Grantees should not expect to receive funding longer than is stated in the RFA.

Funding Questions

  • 1. May we charge for conferences we are holding using TCDD funds?

    Yes, you may charge for conferences. However, you must ensure that people with developmental disabilities and family members of people with developmental disabilities are not prohibited from attending due to the cost of the conference.

  • 2. Are food expenses ever allowed?

    The only food expenses that are allowable are working lunches for meetings/trainings and actual expenses for meals associated with approved travel based on State of Texas travel reimbursements.

  • 3. Can we use grant funds to pay for mileage for people other than staff (for example, Project Advisory Committee members, consultants, or presenters) to travel?

    Yes, if it is necessary and related to achieving the goals of the project.

  • 4. Can airline tickets and rental cars be paid for with grant funds?

    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 cost-efficient method of travel.

  • 5. What is the rate for per diem?

    TCDD limits travel expenses for DD grants 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. Maximum travel expense rates for this and other areas is on the General Services Administration Per Diem Rates Look-Up webpage.

  • 6. What is the rate for mileage?

    The mileage reimbursement rate for 2017 is $0.535 per mile and is on the General Services Administration website.

  • 7. May the entire Match be in-kind?

    It may. It will need to be documented.

  • 8. Is there a list of what can be considered in-kind Match? If not, can you give examples?

    TCDD does not list specific items that can be used as in-kind match. The guideline is that match may include expenses that are:

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

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

  • 9. Serving poverty counties only requires a match of 10% of the grant award. Does this mean that if we receive $75,000, the match amount is $7,500?

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

  • 10. Can the main address for the applying organizations office be in a non-poverty county but provide services only in the high poverty areas?

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

  • 11. Where can I find the list of federal poverty areas?

    Data is on the US Census Bureau Quick Facts United States webpage.

    At the top of the webpage, type the name of the county (or counties) in the box and select the fact you want information about.

  • 12. If an accommodation is required for a qualified project staff member, would TCDD assist in the process? If the accommodation has a cost associated, would TCDD fund the accommodation — separate from awarded grant funds?

    TCDD expects that accommodations will be managed by the organization hiring the individual; funds from TCDD grants may be used to cover any expenses. TCDD does not provide additional funds unless the RFA notes that this is allowed.

  • 13. The Project Profile page of the Supplemental Forms asks if we will accept a partial award. What does this mean? Does this mean you might only award funds for one year?

    In some cases, TCDD might decide to fund some proposed activities but not others, particularly if they are contrary to TCDD’s positions or philosophy or if they are not related to achieving the goals of the project and RFA. Funding for years after the first year is determined at the time the continuation application is considered.