RFP: TCDD Policy Fellow

Request for proposals for TCDD Policy Fellows

TCDD Policy Fellow

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to fund one organization to hire and support a full-time TCDD Policy Fellow. The Fellow will develop a deep understanding of disability policy and build skills to promote self-determination so they can engage in policy activities that lead to systems change. The deadline to submit a proposal is March 16, 2018.

Background
TCDD invests in general, broad-based leadership and advocacy training for Texans with developmental disabilities (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- and advocacy-focused individuals receive training and mentoring that will help them collaborate with self-advocates and families to inform and/or 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- and advocacy-focused individuals through a fellowship program can maximize the skill sets of all involved. At the same time, organizations can be supported to continue to create positive change through their advocacy work.

About the RFP
TCDD hopes to fund one Texas organizations to select, hire, train, and employ a paid full-time TCDD Policy Fellow for up to 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. The organization will be required to identify a mentor for the Fellow.

Eligibility
Eligible grant applicants include public agencies, not-for-profit organizations, secondary schools and post-secondary institutions, faith-based institutions, and for-profit businesses.

When hiring the Fellow, the organization is expected to conduct outreach and make a concerted effort to reach out to people of color, people who are bilingual, and people with disabilities. The Fellow is not required to have additional education beyond a high school diploma or a Certificate of High School Equivalency (sometimes referred to as a “GED”) if they exhibit a wealth of applicable knowledge, skill, and involvement in any or all of the following disability-related areas:

  • supports
  • services
  • needs
  • issues
  • advocacy

Organizations are encouraged to hire a Fellow who is a self-advocate or family member of a person with a disability.

Your organization may apply if it has previously received a grant for a TCDD Policy Fellow, but no earlier than one year after the end of the previous TCDD Policy 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, for up to two years for one organization. Funding for the second year is not automatic. The organization that receives 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.

The organization that receives 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 Friday, March 16, 2018. Late proposals will not be accepted. TCDD will notify proposers of decisions within 30 days following TCDD’s May 2018 Council Meeting. The earliest expected project start date is June 1, 2018 (this date may change).

More Information and Submitting a Proposal
For more information, the complete RFP is available on the Notice of Funds Available 2018–2 TCDD Policy Fellows webpage on the DD Suite website. Proposals for this RFP and all forms must be submitted using DD Suite.

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