RFP to Develop the Next Generation of DD Policy Professionals

Request for Proposals for DD Policy Fellows with a capitol building icon
Policy Fellows will build skills to promote self-determination and self-advocacy.

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund up to two Texas organizations to hire and support a full-time TCDD Policy Fellow. Fellows will develop a deep understanding of policy affecting people with developmental disabilities (DD) and also build skills to promote self-determination and self-advocacy. The deadline to submit a proposal is June 7, 2017.

TCDD invests in general, broad-based leadership and advocacy training for Texans with DD and their families so they can advocate for their right to be fully included in the community and exercise control over their own lives. While it is important to continue these efforts, it is equally important to ensure that new policy-focused professionals receive training and mentoring that will help them to collaborate with self-advocates and families to develop future policies and procedures.

Both public agencies and advocacy organizations currently face an ensuing loss of institutional knowledge and experience as many advocates and policy professionals are preparing for retirement. Opportunities to be mentored by seasoned, long-time experts may diminish in the near future. Unfortunately, tight budgets and the current fiscal climate have increased the difficulty organizations have in hiring individuals who would benefit from having experienced mentors.

Providing support to pair seasoned mentors with less experienced policy professionals through a fellowship program can maximize the skill sets of all involved, while also supporting organizations to continue to create positive change through their advocacy work.

About the RFP
TCDD hopes to fund up to two Texas organizations to select, hire, train and employ a paid full-time TCDD Policy Fellow for up to two years. Two years after the project ends, the Fellows are expected to be employed in positions that impact public policy that addresses issues important to individuals with DD.

The majority of the Fellow’s work should be on issues important to people with DD; however, the Fellow may work on some cross-disability issues. The Fellow, in collaboration with the organization (grantee), will be able to select their core areas of focus. The Fellow must use research and data to justify the particular policy they choose as their focus. When proposing the issues they will work on, and the specific policy activities they will engage in, the Fellow must demonstrate how strategic progress in their work constitutes a “win” or significant incremental accomplishment on the way to a longer-term public policy goal that is consistent with TCDD’s Mission and Guiding Principles.

Organizations are expected to provide the Fellow with training to enable them to work at the national, state, and community levels on issues that address major social, economic, and/or health conditions facing people with DD. Each organization will be required to identify a mentor for the Fellow.

Eligible grant applicants include public agencies, not-for-profit organizations, secondary schools and post-secondary institutions, faith-based institutions, and for-profit businesses. Fellows must be (A) recent graduates of post-graduate programs in law, social work, public policy or other related programs; or (B) self-advocates or parents or siblings of persons with disabilities who have demonstrated post-graduate level skills and knowledge in public policy advocacy.

You may apply if you have previously received a grant for a TCDD Fellow, but no earlier than one year after the end of the previous TCDD Fellow grant. Applicants who have not received a TCDD Policy Fellow grant before will be given priority in the selection process.

Grant Funds Available
TCDD has made available up to $67,500 per year, per organization, for up to two organizations, for up to two years. Funding for the second year is not automatic. The organizations receiving the grants must use the grant funds to cover:

  • the salary of a full-time Fellow (expected to be approximately $35,000 — $45,000 per year),
  • benefits equal to those of the other organization’s employees,
  • mentoring, and
  • professional development.

Organizations receiving this grant may choose to hire a Fellow for only one year. However, if you do so, the budget must be adjusted accordingly as the majority of the budget should be used for the Fellow’s salary.

Key Dates
Proposals are due to TCDD by 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Late proposals will not be accepted. TCDD will notify proposers of decisions within 30 days following TCDD’s August 2017 Council Meeting. The earliest expected project start date is September 1, 2017 (this date may change).

More Information & Submitting a Proposal
For more information, the complete RFP is available on the Notice of Funds Available 2017–1 TCDD Public Policy Fellows webpage on the DD Suite website. Proposals for this RFP and all forms must be submitted using DD Suite.

If you have questions after reviewing the complete RFP, email Danny Fikac, Planning Specialist, or call him at 512–437–5415.