Senator Watson Announces 5 Disability Grants


March 23, 2012

Contact: Melissa Loe
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
(512) 437-5441

State Senator Kirk Watson

State Senator Kirk Watson.

Texas Senator Kirk Watson announced Friday that the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities awarded grants for five three-year projects to improve opportunities for people with disabilities in Texas.

Four of the grants, for $75,000 each, will fund the first year of leadership and advocacy training projects. These were awarded to the Texas State Independent Living Council, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas, The Arc of Texas and Texas Advocates. The fifth grant, for $71,453, is to the OneStar Foundation; it will fund the first year of an Interfaith Inclusion Network.

“These grants will make a real difference to people in Travis County and across Texas who are living with disabilities,” Watson said. “The organizations receiving these grants are doing vital work supporting Texans who are in need, and I’m proud that the state, in turn, is helping to support them.”

The Texas State Independent Living Council

The Texas State Independent Living Council plans to hold conferences that promote independent living for people with disabilities in Dallas in 2012, Austin in 2013 and Corpus Christi in 2014. SILC will work with local independent living centers, as well as local advocacy groups, in planning each conference to help attract participants from different parts of the state, including rural communities.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas will train about 40 NAMI council members and other people from across the state on improving their advocacy skills. These trainees will also learn how to teach others to advocate on behalf of people with mental illness in their communities, as well as how to develop regional councils.

The Arc of Texas

The Arc of Texas expects to train about 150 individuals in 24 counties during the first year of the grant, including self advocates with disabilities, family members and others. The statewide Arc will work with local Arc chapters and other groups in Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, and the Amarillo/Central Plains Region.

Texas Advocates

Texas Advocates will work with some State Supported Living Center residents and community organizations from the Austin and San Antonio SSLCs and the Rio Grande State Center. “Individuals living in these facilities will be paired up with advocates from the community to see what life is like from each other’s perspective,” Watson said.

OneStar Foundation

Finally, OneStar Foundation will partner with Jewish Family Services and Texas A&M University’s Center on Disability and Development to create an inclusive, interfaith network in Travis County. The project will hold an annual symposium for people in 50 faith-based communities.

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

TCDD is a 27-member board dedicated to improving the lives of more than 450,000 Texans with developmental disabilities. The council uses a variety of activities — such as grant projects, technical assistance, public awareness and leadership training — to enable people with disabilities to live, grow up, attend school and work in the community. Developmental disabilities are severe, chronic disabilities that occur before the age of 22, such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.