The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund up to 10 organizations to hire and support a full-time TCDD Policy Fellow. Fellows will develop a deep understanding of disability policy and serve as the next generation of professionals who engage in policy activities that lead to systems change. The deadline to submit a proposal is Dec. 6, 2019.
Disability policy professionals are critical when it comes to creating systems change and impacting policies so more people with disabilities are included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. However, it is possible that there will be a shortage of qualified policy professionals who can create change and impact policies. Many longtime disability advocates and policy professionals are leaving the field due to retirement, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge and experience. Also, emerging policy professionals may find there is a lack of traditional learning opportunities on disability-related issues.
To address this potential shortage, TCDD established the TCDD Policy Fellows Program to cultivate the next generation of disability policy professionals. The purpose of the program is to increase the number of policy professionals with the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to engage in disability-related policy activities. Through the program, emerging policy professionals receive training and mentoring that will help them effectively develop, implement, and evaluate the disability policies of the future. The program also provides an opportunity for longtime professionals to share their expertise and historical knowledge with the new professionals.
Since TCDD started the TCDD Policy Fellows Program in 2014, seven Fellows have participated. Most of the Fellows have continued – or are planning to continue – working within the disability field upon completion of their Fellowships.
About the RFP
TCDD aims to contribute to improvements in state policies that affect services for people with developmental disabilities. By providing entities with the funds and support to increase the knowledge and availability of new leaders to take on challenging assignments in public policy, the State of Texas will improve its capacity to create systems change so people with disabilities are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.
The TCDD Policy Fellows Program is tailored to provide exceptional learning and professional development opportunities for people who are ready to be leaders in a government agency or nonprofit organization. Each Fellowship includes four partners: the Advising Entity (grantee), a Mentor, the Fellow, and TCDD.
Fellowships are designed for:
- college graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree in public policy, political science, social work, sociology, or other related field; and
- people already employed in the public service sector who seek enrichment or advancement through a hands-on policy experience within a policy-focused environment.
TCDD does not require the Fellow to have additional education beyond a High School Diploma or Certificate of High School Equivalency if they exhibit a wealth of applicable knowledge, skill, and involvement in disability related supports, services, needs, issues, and/or advocacy. Applicants are encouraged to hire a Fellow who is a self-advocate or a family member of a person with a disability. Additional preference would be given to applicants who plan to recruit Fellows with disabilities who are also people of color and/or people who are bilingual. A TCDD Policy Fellow cannot be selected a second time, regardless of any circumstances, including different grantee organization.
Advising Entities will hire a full-time fellow and provide expertise in a specific area. Advisors from the entity will be responsible for providing advanced, senior-level guidance and technical assistance to the Fellow regarding policy development, implementation, and evaluation. Advising Entities could receive a grant or enter into a memorandum of understanding with TCDD.
Fellows will also be paired with a Mentor who will provide historical knowledge. Fellows should be mentored by professionals with at least 10 years of experience in public policy. For example, a Mentor could be a current or former elected official or office holder. The Mentor provides wisdom across broad career journeys and experiences and could be someone the Fellow aims to emulate in a significant way.
So they can be effective and engaged during the 87th Texas Legislature, Fellows will begin their two-year Fellowship at least six months prior to the start of the legislative session. The 87th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 12, 2021.
Any organization that meets the requirements set forth in this RFP can apply. Eligible applicants could include:
- government agencies,
- colleges and universities,
- faith-based institutions,
- technical and/or professional schools, and
- for-profit businesses.
Individuals may not apply for this grant.
Grant Funds Available
TCDD has made available up to $77,500 per year, per project. Up to 10 projects may be funded and projects may be funded for up to two years. The second year is not automatic.
Proposals are due to TCDD by 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Late proposals will not be accepted. TCDD will notify applicants about decisions following TCDD’s February 2020 Council Meeting. The earliest expected project start date is April 1, 2020 (this date may change).
TCDD will hold an informational webinar to provide more information about TCDD’s processes for proposal review and grant award. You are not required to attend in order to apply. The informational webinar will be held Nov. 14, 2019 at 1 p.m. Central Time. To register for the webinar, contact Scott Daigle at email@example.com. You can also refer to the Questions and Answers from the first application period.
More Information and Submitting a Proposal
For more information, the complete RFP is available on the TCDD Policy Fellows RFP webpage of the DD Suite website. Proposals for this RFP and all forms must be submitted using DD Suite.
If you have any questions after reviewing the complete RFP, email Scott Daigle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 437-5432. Also, you can refer to the Questions and Answers from the first application period.