RFP: TCDD Policy Fellows

RFP TCDD Policy Fellows

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 Oct. 4, 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.


To ensure the greatest return on TCDD’s investment, the target population for Fellows is people in early- to mid-career stages. Fellows will be:

  • college graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree in public policy, political science, social work, sociology, or other related field;
  • people already employed in the public service sector seeking enrichment or advancement through a hands-on experience within a policy-focused environment; or
  • people who have demonstrated skills in disability policy and/or advocacy (e.g., self-advocates and family members of people with disabilities).

Advising Entities

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,
  • nonprofits,
  • 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.

Key Dates

Proposals are due to TCDD by 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Late proposals will not be accepted. TCDD will notify applicants about decisions following TCDD’s November 2019 Council Meeting. The earliest expected project start date is Jan. 1, 2020 (this date may change). This RFP will also be posted a second time with a proposal deadline of Dec. 6, 2019.

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 Sept. 16, 2019 at 1 p.m. Central Time. To register for the webinar, contact Scott Daigle at grants2@tcdd.texas.gov.

More Information and Submitting a Proposal

For more information, the complete RFP is available on the TCDD Policy Fellows RFP webpage. 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 grants2@tcdd.texas.gov or call (512) 437-5432.