Minutes — February 2015 Project Development Committee Meeting

2015 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Mary Durheim
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Michael Peace
  • Dana Perry
  • Brandon Pharris
  • David Taylor
  • Rick Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Diana Kern
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Cindy Swain, TEA

Guests Present

  • Darryl Powell
  • Annalee Chaumont

Staff Present

  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Sonya Hosey
  • Wendy Jones
  • Susan Mihalik
  • Fernando Rodriguez

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Friday, February 6, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown at 6000 Middle Fiskville Rd., Austin, Texas 78752. Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m. A quorum was present.

1.  Introduction Of Committee Members, Staff And Visitors

Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

2.  Public Comments

No public comments were offered.

3.  Approval Of Minutes

The Committee reviewed minutes of the November 6, 2014, Project Development Committee meeting.

MOTION:  To approve the minutes of the November 6, 2014, Project Development Committee as presented.

MADE BY:  Rick Tisch

SECOND:  Brandon Pharris

The motion passed unanimously.

4.  Chair’s Remarks

Chair Cortez informed the committee that Roger Webb, Executive Director, is retiring in June 2015. She also informed the committee that the August 2015 meeting will be in San Marcos.

5.  Member Updates

No member updates were offered.

6.  Staff Reports

  1. Public Information Report
    Joanna Cordry, Planning Coordinator, reviewed the public information report and indicated there has been a continual increase in Facebook postings. Council and Committee members are encouraged to invite their friends to “Like” the TCDD page.

    The Higher Education resource guide is in high demand and a second printing is being completed. Committee discussed different options for printing and other media available for delivery of the resource guide.

    The monthly newsletter continues to go out regularly. The current issue has an article on Council member Lora Taylor. Each issue will focus on a different member. The TCDD annual report will be sent to Council members electronically and hard copies will be available.

  2. Status of New/Approved Projects
    No new projects started in the last quarter. The Executive Committee approved Special Kids, Incorporated (SKI) for funding of their Outreach and Development project for one year.

    The following continuation awards were approved:

    1. Any Baby Can — Health and Fitness
    2. Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services — Higher Education
    3. Texas State Independent Living Center — Health and Fitness
    4. VSA arts of Texas — Self-Advocates as Speakers
    5. Texas Parent to Parent — Public Policy Collaboration
    6. Texas Tech University — Higher Education

  3. Projected Available Funds
    Martha Cantu, Operations Director, reported that FY 2014 Administrative Operations expenditures are now final, and any amounts not needed for these items are available for grants in 2015. New grant projects that have been approved, but not initiated, will require approximately $910,000. Cantu is confident that TCDD will have sufficient funds to cover all grants. The Council can move forward with planned projects as scheduled.

  4. Other Updates
    Staff is continuing discussions with Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities (CEDD) about partnering on issues of disparity for people with disabilities who are also ethnic and racial minorities. Cordry is participating on the planning committee for the CEDD Annual Summit planned for August 21-22, 2015, which focuses on social justice issues. Cordry reports that CEDD and TCDD have also discussed other ideas, such as co-sponsoring an intern who will split their time between CEDD and TCDD. Ivy Goldstein commented that CEDD came about through legislation that was designed to address disparity and that they have been around for 4 years. Goldstein also commented on the importance of these activities because people with disability experience higher levels of disparity, as do many people of color. Goldstein was pleased to know that TCDD is now involved with this conference.

    Hosey provided an updated report on DD Suite which is used to manage grants. TCDD grantees are now migrating to provide various reports via DD Suite which is able to capture a significant amount of programmatic information. DD Suite does not currently support the financial management information. Susan Mihalik, Grant Specialist, commented that Power Point presentations have been created to assist grantees with the process. Mihalik will be creating new and updated training material for grantees. Cordry noted that once grants is reporting fully using DD Suite that TCDD Public Policy staff will begin reporting activities in that program as well. Hosey is optimistic that once all the grantees are using DD Suite, it should reduce the amount of time needed to complete the annual report that TCDD is required to submit.

    Cordry reported that TCDD’s annual report to AIDD was submitted on time and required about 100-140 staff hours to complete. TCDD staff are hopeful that next year’s report may take less time to complete as a result of grantees use of DD Suite.

7.  Future Activities For State Plan Implementation

Cordry reviewed the Stakeholder Training on Guardianship Alternatives Executive Summary which would provide funding for the development of training around Guardianship Alternatives and provide continuing education for attorneys, judges and family members. The training would be needed if new legislation authorizing supported decision-making as an alternative to guardianship is passed in the current session. Cordry also reported that discussions with the Executive Director of the Office of Court Administration (OCA) may result in a TCDD partnership with OCA to conduct additional activities and expand training, and informed the Committee that staff may develop a second Executive Summary for the May or August meeting to address this. The Committee discussed the proposed Executive Summary.

MOTION:  To approve funding of up to $40,000 per year for up to three years for the Stakeholder Training on Guardianship Alternatives, contingent on legislation passing in the current Texas Legislative session.

MADE BY:  Brandon Pharris

SECOND:  Dana Perry

The motion passed unanimously.

Cordry reviewed an Executive Summary developed following the discussion at the Project Development Committee in November 2014. At that time, the Committee had requested additional information and research to be done on the sustainability of the Inclusive Faith-Based Communities Symposium Projects. The four TCDD grants for these projects have ended or will end soon. Each of the four grantees experienced different barriers during their grant period and different levels of success. All four grantees were able to double the attendance at their symposiums over the life of the three year grant. Additionally, the projects created the Texas Faith Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities (TxFIND), which would benefit from some funding to develop infrastructure and establish sustainability. Cordry addressed concerns on how this project could become self-sustaining and indicated that TCDD staff proposed funding of $75,000 per year for two years in order to expand support provided by the network, create more inclusive faith communities, and establish the necessary infrastructure to maintain the network.

As proposed, the project would require the network to ensure that Self Advocates take on active leadership roles. Members agreed that grant requirements should include an assurance of diversity in ethnicity, religion and culture. Funding would be awarded through an open RFP process.

MOTION:  To approve the funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to two years, to establish the Texas Faith Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities and their Families.

MADE BY:  Brandon Pharris

SECOND:  Rick Tisch

The motion passed unanimously.

8.  Future Project Funding Priorities

The Committee reviewed the current list of projects and added the newly approved projects as listed below:

  1. Targeted Online Training
  2. Understanding Employment Options and Supports
  3. Culturally Competent Family Support
  4. Stakeholder Training on Guardianship Alternatives
  5. Support for the Texas Faith Inclusion Network for People with Disabilities
  6. Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Projects
  7. Partnership with African American Clergy to Support Families
  8. Accessible Transportation Project
  9. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Topics.

MOTION:  To reorder the TCDD Future Funding Activities Priority List as listed above.

MADE BY:  Brandon Pharris

SECOND:  Michael Peace

The motion passed unanimously.


There being no further business, Chair Gladys Cortez, adjourned the meeting at 10:07 a.m.

Roger A. Webb, Secretary to the Council