How to Apply

Any organization that meets the requirements set forth in the Request for Applications (RFA) may apply. Types of organizations could include:

  • government agencies,
  • nonprofits,
  • colleges and universities,
  • faith-based institutions,
  • technical and professional schools, or
  • for-profit businesses.

The organization that applies for a grant must administer the grant and receive, disburse, and account for grant funds.

Individuals may not apply for a grant.

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.

General Instructions

All applications must:

  • be completed in their entirety and contain all required sections of the application, including applicant information, project description, project budget and justification, workplan and project evaluation plan, and statutory/program assurances;
  • be responsive to all RFA requirements;
  • be signed by an authorized official in each place a signature is required; and
  • include completion of all sections of the required forms.


The required forms consist of multiple sections:

  • Application – Part I: Applicant Information: This form is completed by the applicant to provide information about the applicant organization.
  • Application – Part II: Project Description: The purpose of the Project Summary/Abstract is to describe succinctly every major aspect of the proposed project. It should contain a statement of objectives and methods to be employed.
  • Application – Part III: Budget and Justification: The purpose of the budget and justification is to present and justify all expenses required to achieve project goals and objectives. This part of the application packet is to be used by the applicant to complete and submit the details of its funding request.
    • Budget Summary and Detail: In the Budget Detail, the justifications provided must be detailed, explain the methodology used, and clearly show how calculations were made.
    • Cost Allocation Plan: If any of the costs included in the applicant’s project budget will benefit more than one agency activity or program, the applicant must submit its agency’s Cost Allocation Plan.
  • Application – Part IV: Project Workplan: This is the description of how the project will be implemented, including project phases, activities, tasks, the names of the people responsible for each activity and task, and the corresponding due dates.
  • Application – Part V: Statutory/Program Assurances: The purpose of the assurances section is to ensure that the applicant organization will comply with all relevant federal laws and guidelines. Applicants must certify that it understands and will comply with TCDD assurances and all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. The Statutory/Program Assurances must be read, accepted, signed, and submitted as part of your application.
  • Letters of Support are optional. To include letters of support or letters from other entities or individuals that state they will partner with the applicant on the project, they must be submitted as an attachment to the application. A maximum of up to five letters may be submitted as part of the application.

All forms requiring signatures must be signed by an authorized official before being submitted.

Application Submission and Delivery

Deadline to Submit Applications

Applications must be received by TCDD no later than the submission deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

Delivery of Application

The online application must be completed and submitted electronically through the TCDD site. Applications submitted by any other method (mail, email, facsimile, or telephone) will NOT be considered.

The application must include all required signatures.

Applications received after the deadline will NOT be considered.

All applications become the property of TCDD after the submission deadline and will not be returned to the applicant.

Alterations, Modifications, and Withdrawals

Prior to the deadline to submit applications, an applicant may:

  • withdraw its application by submitting a written request to; or
  • modify its application by submitting a written amendment to TCDD may request application modifications at any time.

Initial Screening

TCDD staff review applications upon submission for compliance with the requirements of the RFA and to ensure that all sections are complete. Incomplete applications and applications that do not meet the requirements of the RFA will not be considered.


An Independent Review Panel consisting of three to five people with expertise related to the RFA reviews the applications. The panel’s review focuses on the quality of the proposed plan, the feasibility of completing the plan, and how well the proposed project may move TCDD closer to meeting the TCDD State Plan Goals and Objectives. The panel will only consider the contents of the application. The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress for people with developmental disabilities? How well do the goals address local concerns for people with developmental disabilities? How clearly are the goals and objectives stated? How many people will benefit?
  • Innovation: How creative is the proposal? Will the project provide experiences for groups or participants to empower themselves, grow, enhance their well-being, and build powerful connections? Does the project reflect the use of new approaches and techniques and incorporate elements that are new and improved over what has been done in the past?
  • Approach: Does the project include efforts to reach a broader community and/or specific target groups with programs to obtain desired outcomes? Does the applicant clearly spell out how the project will be marketed and promoted?
  • Likelihood of Success: Is the project feasible in terms of time, budget request, and available resources? Does the applicant discuss reasonable evidence it has that this project will achieve the desired results?
  • Sustainability: Does the applicant identify its goal(s) for ensuring future financial sustainability for this project? Does the applicant describe how it will ensure that this idea will be sustainable in the future?
  • Budget: Are the budget and amount requested appropriate and reasonable for this type of project? Was an adequate level of detail provided in the budget justification?

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • leverage additional funding,
  • demonstrate collaborative partnerships in the community,
  • build organizational and financial capacity,
  • expand or improve over what has been done in the past,
  • show ability to achieve the desired results, and
  • have the potential to make a long-term impact.

Executive Committee Review and Decision

The TCDD Executive Committee reviews information related to the steps above and makes the final funding decisions. If you have received a grant in the last five years, TCDD staff will inform the Executive Committee about your performance on the past project.

Note: TCDD may give priority to proposals that address the needs of people who are unserved or underserved. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • people living in rural areas,
  • people who experience poverty,
  • people of color, and
  • people with limited English proficiency.


TCDD will notify each Successful Applicant of its selection to receive an award. The dollar amount awarded to each Apparent Awardee depends on the:

  • available funding,
  • applicant’s response merit and scope,
  • independent review panel recommendations, and
  • Executive Committee decision.

Any award resulting from this RFA will be funded on a cost reimbursement basis, and only to the extent the grantee commits, uses, and reports approved project funds and required match funds within each expenditure and match reporting period.

Under the cost-reimbursement method, the grantee must initially pay for project activities using its own funds. TCDD then issues reimbursement payments to the grantee on a monthly basis for reported actual cash disbursements supported by adequate documentation.

All costs funded by the grant must be allowable, allocable, and reasonable. Grant applications must be supported by a detailed and realistic budget.


Before finalizing any agreements, TCDD may enter negotiations with each successful applicant to determine:

  • the award period,
  • the final award amount, and
  • the terms of the grant.

Reimbursement is made only for allowable and reported expenses the grantee incurs within the grant term.

The negotiation phase involves direct contact between the apparent awardee and TCDD representatives and may be conducted via phone, email, or in person.

Apparent awardees may expect in-depth discussions of the application and proposed project, and requests for clarification or additional detail regarding the application and proposed project.

Final funding amounts and award terms are determined at the sole discretion of TCDD.

TCDD Right to Cancel, Make Partial Award, or Decline to Award

TCDD reserves the right to cancel, make a partial award, or decline to award a grant under this RFA at any time at its sole discretion.

Match Funds (Cost Sharing)

Grantees must provide a matching contribution each year. This may include funding from non-federal sources, volunteer hours, and other “in- kind” donations, such as office space and utilities.

Other federal funds may not be used as match. Items or funds that are used for match for another federally funded project may not be used as match. TCDD prefers that the amount of match increase each year of the project.

Match Amount

The percentage of match expected for non-poverty counties and for poverty counties is provided below. View the match calculator (zip file, 11 KB).

Poverty counties are counties in which at least 20% of the people in the county live in poverty. View the list of poverty counties (PDF, 61 KB).

  • Non-poverty counties: Project activities located in counties not designated as federal poverty areas require matching resources equal to at least 25% of total project costs.
  • Poverty counties: Project activities located in counties designated as federal poverty counties require matching resources equal to at least 10% of the total project costs.

Continuation Funding

Organizations that are awarded funding must apply for continuation funding each year. Continuation funding will not exceed the maximum per-year funding amount stated in the RFA. Continuation funding is based on the availability of TCDD funds and a review of:

  • the project’s accomplishments,
  • progress toward stated goals and objectives,
  • management of funds,
  • compliance with reporting requirements,
  • the most recent program audit,
  • findings of TCDD’s on-site reviews, if conducted, and
  • development of methods through which sustainability will be achieved.

Continuation funding is not automatic, and TCDD may choose not to award continuation grants. Continuation proposals are generally due approximately three months before the end of the grant year.


Grantees must submit progress reports quarterly. Grantees must submit financial documents, including reimbursement requests, monthly. Grantees must also provide required evaluation and survey data, information about systems change measures, contact information for project participants, annual continuation proposals, personal stories related to impact of project activities, and a final report. Failure to meet reporting and spending requirements may impact continuation or future grant awards.

Continuation Funding Proposals

Grantees may be asked to provide information about public policy implications and sustainability in the application for continuation funding.

Project Advisory Committee

TCDD supports the establishment of a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) for all or part of a project period, although a PAC is typically not required. TCDD may determine the need for the grantee to establish a PAC to help the project produce outcomes that are consistent with the RFA goals.

TCDD Support

TCDD will serve as a resource to support grantees to be successful. Grantees may be asked to participate in grants management training during the project period. Grantees may also receive calls from TCDD staff about outcome and performance measures, public policy issues that relate to a grantee’s project, products produced, and project events (if applicable). All grantees are required to attend a new grant kick-off meeting with TCDD. An in-person kick-off meeting is not required; however, travel costs for this kick-off meeting should be included in the budget if the meeting will take place in person. If a grantee’s project is funded for additional years, they may be asked to present about the project’s progress at a quarterly Council meeting (typically held in Austin). Kick-off meetings and Council meetings should be factored into grantees’ annual budgets. TCDD may share opportunities for a grantee to present at state or national conferences.

Project Communications

Grantees will work with TCDD to develop and execute a communications plan for their project. Plans could include promoting grantee activities via external communications, raising awareness about products created as part of the project (if any), and developing required stories about the project’s impact at both the community and personal level. All communication products must be approved by TCDD.

Grants Manual

All grantees must adhere to the TCDD Grants Manual, which is a document that provides information related to program policies and procedures, financial regulations, financial guidelines, and more.


Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 75 (external link)

Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, pdf file, 364 kb

Poverty Counties in Texas, pdf file, 727 kb

RFA Application Preview, pdf file, 16 kb

RFA Budget Example, zip file, 153 kb

RFA Budget Instructions, zip file, 63 kb

TCDD Grants Manual, pdf file, 483 kb

TCDD Match Calculator, zip file, 11 kb


Terms and Conditions

RFA Inquiries

All requests, questions, or other communication regarding an RFA shall be emailed to TCDD at TCDD does not respond to questions related to ideas, scope, or content of specific projects. TCDD will post all questions and responses related to the RFA on the website by the designated date.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to TCDD eNews and receive important disability-related information via email. Just enter your email address and name, and then select the information you wish to receive.

* indicates required
Select the information you wish to receive:

When you press subscribe you are agreeing to TCDD’s Privacy Policy