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Attachments 2-8: RFP 2011-3 Reviewer Summary, Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training

Texas Advocates

Key Project Staff

Project Director: Rona Statman

Project Coordinator: Tanya Winters

Project Location (counties): Travis, Bexar, Atascosa, Guadalupe, Cameron Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr

Project Abstract

Texas Advocates will train and support State Supported Living Center (SSLC) residents and community organizations so that Self Advocate Voices are Engaged to create change for themselves and their community. Texas Advocates will provide trainings for Austin and San Antonio SSLCs and Rio Grande State Center with community participants on the history of the disability movement, self determination and self advocacy. Self Advocates will learn to speak up for themselves on real life issues such as transition and employment. Texas Advocates will support/train SSLC residents and community organizations through statewide training, individual and community self advocacy activities, and social media.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $75,000

Match: $14,729

Total Project Cost: $89,729

 Strengths

  • The project activities will cover a wide geographic area.
  • The project would train residents of State Supported Living Centers, and support them to improve their ability to advocate for themselves.
  • Project staff will give people templates to track their advocacy activities.
  • The announcements and training materials developed through the project will be in Spanish and English, large print and Braille.
  • The proposal includes information about many different types of accommodations that could be provided if necessary.
  • The proposer has identified many specific fundraising activities.
  • The Project Coordinator has a disability, and other self-advocates will assume leadership roles.
  • The referenced proven best practices in training and 21st century learning; the proposer is not going to “reinvent the wheel.”
  • The organization already has an established network and infrastructure in place.
  • The proposer plans to develop a “train the trainer manual” that can be used widely and in the future, after TCDD funding has ended.
  • The proposer will use pre- and post- surveys to assess changes in knowledge and/or ability. They plan to conduct phone surveys, which might increase their survey participation rate.
  • The proposer will have ongoing (quarterly) meetings to develop sustainability.

Needs

  • The proposer should re-evaluate if the amount of money budgeted to staff is necessary. If less was spent on paying staff, more could be used to provide ongoing support for self-advocates’ activities. Alternately, perhaps other sources of funding could be used to support the project activities.
  • The proposer should work on developing non-traditional partnerships with community businesses and other organizations.

Questions/Concerns

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

Texas A&M University (College Station)

Key Project Staff

Project Director: Dr. Dalun Zhang

Project Co-Director: Eric Roberts

Project Location (counties): Brazos

Project Abstract

Texas A&M University proposes to establish a leadership and advocacy program for youth with and without disabilities and their parents. The program will provide direct instruction to students in their classrooms, support community and school leadership projects, and provide information to parents for them to support students in the community. Both special education classrooms and classrooms structured for students at risk for dropping out of school will be involved in this program. With the assistance of mentors, youth will practice learned skills in the community by implementing leadership projects. Parents of support groups will receive instruction for supporting students’ instruction.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $75,000

Match: $19,949

Total Project Cost: $94,949

Strengths

  • A&M has an established infrastructure that could support the project long term, and the staff have good experience.
  • A&M plans to work to get their training embedded in classrooms, and they will provide support for educators.
  • The target population is broad, inclusive, and will involve students at risk of dropping out of school.
  • The proposal’s emphasis on addressing bullying is timely; addressing an issue that is the subject of many education-related policy discussions and widely reported on in the media may provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the experiences of kids with developmental disabilities.
  • People with developmental disabilities will drive the project; over half of the advisory committee will be people with developmental disabilities.
  • The evaluation plan is strong piece is strong and reaches beyond participant satisfaction to address outcomes. The feedback received through the evaluation process will used to improve the project.
  • The project builds on existing programs and uses evidence based processes/programming.
  • The partnerships are strong and well-defined.
  • The budget includes funding to pay student workers.

Needs

  • More detail about the student worker should be provided. Is this the same person as the graduate student? If so, the budget needs to be clarified to ensure that the amount of money the graduate student will be paid is appropriate. If the student worker is a high school or undergraduate student, that should be clarified. It would be preferable for the student worker to be a person who has a disability.
  • The continuation plan is vague; more detail should be provided.
  • The explanation of how technology will be used is vague; more detail should be provided.
  • The proposal should address the disproportionately high dropout rates for some ethnic groups compared to others and how this might impact students with disabilities. For example, are students with disabilities of some ethnicities at a greater risk for dropping out of school than students with disabilities of other ethnicities? If so, than the most “at-risk” population should be included, and care should be taken to ensure that project activities are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Questions/Concerns

The project activities sound similar to the “No Place for Hate” program. Is this project expanding or replicating No Place for Hate?

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

NAMI Texas, Inc. (Austin)

Key Project Staff

Project Director: Robin Peyson

Project Coordinator: new position, not yet filled

Project Location (counties): All regions of Texas

Project Abstract

Consumers, their families, and interested others must become leaders with strong voices advocating for change. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Texas (NAMI TX) will lead a two-day leadership and advocacy “train the trainer” conference for Consumers. This training will spur grassroots efforts to improve leadership skills among local consumers and others to teach and encourage advocacy on behalf of those with mental illness in local communities. Conference attendees will advocate in their own communities, develop regional Consumer Councils as a structure to continue the project longterm, and offer advocacy and leadership training locally.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $ 75,001.01

Match: $ 45,326.20

Total Project Cost: $120,326.21

Strengths

  • The proposal notes that 50% of the activities will be in rural areas.
  • The proposer will use a “train the trainer” model, and the trainers will go back to provide local training. This will help them develop a workforce and a stronger infrastructure. To ensure that the work continues, follow up will be done; and the proposer plans to have sustained contact with trainers/trainees.
  • The proposer will reach people where they live.
  • This proposal addresses a huge need – many people in Texas who have mental illness do not receive sufficient supports, and there is a great deal of stigma around having a mental illness.
  • The organization has an existing network and infrastructure.
  • Self-advocates are involved in the implementation.
  • There is a plan to develop podcasts and videos of the training that can be used repeatedly and/or by people unable to personally attend the training
  • The organization plans to have at least 1 person in each region that speaks Spanish.
  • Over 50% of the total project cost will be match.
  • The organization plans to use membership fees for sustainability, although they will also look for support from foundations and/or businesses.
  • The plan will use evidenced-based processes.

Needs

  • The proposer needs to address how accommodations will be provided if necessary.
  • The proposer should consider working more closely with institutions and/or mental health providers.
  • The proposer needs to provide more details about how trainers will be supported on an ongoing basis after they have been trained.

Questions/Concerns

The term “consumers” is offensive to some people. It is preferable to use “individuals,” “people,” or something that better reflects People First language.

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

The Arc of Dallas

Key Project Staff

Project Director: Sherry Wacasey

Project Coordinator: Rita Callens

Project Location (counties): Collin, Dallas, and Rockwall

Project Abstract

Advocates for Choice and Change North Texas (ACCNT) empowers individuals, their families, and other members of the community to create changes in public policy that increase viable supports and opportunities for people with disabilities living in the community. To accomplish this goal, ACCNT will provide proven advocacy and leadership training; facilitate an inclusive grassroots advocacy network in North Texas, and help facilitate advocacy activities that promote full inclusion for people with disabilities in their communities. This program is an expansion of The Arc’s current Leadership Institute and Advocate Leaders program and the re-establishing of a grassroots advocacy group.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $75,000

Match: $25,000

Total Project Cost: $100,000

Strengths

  • The proposer intends to build and expand on an existing program and re-establish a grassroots advocacy group.
  • The proposer is an organization that does a lot of good for many people.
  • The proposer appears to have many strong partnerships in the community, including non-service organizations.
  • The letters of support are strong: 2 are from family members of past participants; 8 letters are from organizations that state they will collaborate with the proposer.
  • The proposal states that different styles of learning will be accommodated and that best practices will be used. The proposer will provide in-depth training over time in a small group situation and will solicit feedback to improve the programming as time goes on.
  • Over 60% of the people who will be trained will be self-advocates.
  • The proposal clearly explains how the use of technology and social media will support the project activities, and they will use a wide range of types of technology (such as group texting).
  • The proposer has been able to identify quite a bit of match and plans to use volunteers to support project activities.
  • The proposer has a good outreach plan to ensure that they reach people of different ethnicities.

Needs

  • The proposal would be strengthened if there was an indication that people with disabilities would be employed in leadership roles.
  • The evaluation plan and the plan to monitor participant involvement need to be strengthened.
  • The budget justification requires more detail.

Questions/Concerns

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

The Arc of Texas (Austin)

Key Project Staff

Project Director: Amy Mizcles

Project Coordinator: Ginger Mayeaux

Project Location (counties): Austin, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley, and Amarillo/Central Plains Region

Project Abstract

Through Project MOVE, The Arc will build capacity by partnering with Arc chapters and other local groups to provide training and ongoing support to Mobilize and Organize self advocates, families and allies to use their Voices to Empower communities and create meaningful change. The Arc will develop curriculum based on nationally accredited organizing strategies, provide training (including train-the-trainer) and ongoing technical assistance to ensure local groups can implement and sustain advocacy efforts. Project MOVE will give advocates skills and power to take collective action on their own behalf, win concrete improvements in their lives, and shift current relations of power.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $75,000

Match: $11,806

Total Project Cost: $86,806

Strengths

  • The proposer will be using a “Train the Trainer” model.
  • The proposer plans to use funds “more effectively/efficiently” to build infrastructure that will enable the project activities to be sustainable.
  • The project will be implemented across 24 counties: 18 of these are rural; 18 have a high poverty rate.
  • The proposer has relationships with other organizations representing a diverse group of people.
  • Training materials will be in Spanish and English and will be modified to accommodate different disabilities.
  • The proposer will track participants’ advocacy activities.
  • The proposer has identified the need for a new curriculum.
  • At least 160 activities are built into the training.

Needs

  • The proposer needs to build more partnerships with organizations outside of the disability arena.
  • The proposer plans to use project funds and time to develop a new curriculum when many already exist that could be used.
  • The role of the Project Advisory Committee is not clear.
  • The proposal would be stronger if a person with a disability was employed in a leadership role.

Questions/Concerns

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

The Arc of Gulf Coast (Alvin)

Key Project Staff

Project Director: to be determined

Project Coordinator: Joanne Mayes

Youth Coordinator: Rhonda Meek

Project Location (counties): Brazoria, Wharton, Matagorda, and Galveston

Project Abstract

The Arc of the Gulf Coast believes learning self-advocacy and leadership starts in school by actively promoting student-centered education plans, self-advocacy and self-determination. The Self-Advocacy Youth Club initiative is in partnership with local Arc’s of Wharton and Matagorda County and respective school districts. A primary goal is for 70 youth with disabilities, ages 15-22, will develop self-advocacy skills to demonstrate during their Individual Education Plan process. Additionally, 70 students without labels and family members will participate as trusted allies. The Club provides a mechanism to learn leadership skills, host presentations and sustain the project beyond grant funds.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $ 75,000

Match: $ 25,000

Total Project Cost: $100,000

Strengths

  • The Project Coordinator has a child with a disability.
  • The proposer appears to be a very collaborative organization.
  • The proposed project will include youth with disabilities and youth without disabilities (proposer notes that the football team wants to participate) in inclusive activities.
  • The proposal includes good information about how accommodations will be provided, how technology will be used to support activities, and various teaching approaches that will be implemented.
  • The proposer plans to increase the number of schools involved each year and expect programs to be sustainable without TCDD funding by the third year.
  • The proposer plans to address transition needs in addition to self-advocacy.
  • The proposer plans to work with a culturally diverse group of youth and has identified possible issues that will need to be addressed.
  • The evaluation plan is strong incorporates a feedback loop that will help them improve project activities on an ongoing basis.
  • The organization’s Board of Directors is diverse and includes self-advocates.

Needs

  • The proposal needs more detail about how data will be collected.
  • The proposer needs to confirm that the youth have access to the technology they will need to participate in all activities.
  • Key staff have not yet been hired.
  • Information must be provided to justify the budget. In particular, the proposer must address why so much money is needed for consultants; it might be more beneficial to use this money to support club activities.

Questions/Concerns

It’s difficult to evaluate how likely it is that this program will be successful, in part because success will require that the club be youth-driven and have staff support. In addition, a strong foundation should already exist, or it will be hard to get the club off the ground. There are many unknowns that depend on the culture of the student body: will youth want to meet twice a month? Will a “self-advocates club” be an inclusive club, and will enough youth be comfortable “stepping up” and taking a leadership role in a self-advocacy club?

Final Recommendation

Fundable.

Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC) (Austin)

Key Project Staff

Development Coordinator: to be identified

Project Specialist: to be identified

Project Location (counties): Statewide

Project Abstract

The Statewide Independent Living Council’s (SILC) mission is to assure that Texans with disabilities have access to quality Independent Living (IL) services by providing a framework for service delivery. The SILC will implement an innovative statewide, cross-disability, multi-agency conference to promote the IL philosophy. This conference is attended by 350 participants; with intent to incrementally add 75 participants with developmental disabilities yearly.

The conference will provide technical assistance and training to facilitate participant exposure to IL; provide opportunities to develop peer relationships by enhancing collaborative learning and personal networking; offer participants meaningful sessions that address self-advocacy, legislative advocacy, and leadership.

Year 1 Budget

Funding amount requested: $75,000

Match: $29,200

Total Project Cost: $104,200

Strengths

  • The organization is run by self-advocates and is an EEO employer.
  • The proposer plans to address needs in rural areas.
  • The proposer specifically states they will use practices that have been evaluated for effectiveness of practice across cultures, and they intend to partner with NAACP and LULAC to reach people they haven’t reached before.
  • The proposer plans to provide follow-up to activities started during conference.
  • The proposer’s sustainability plan is probably realistic – they will charge exhibitor fees and make use of AmeriCorps volunteers as much as possible, and they will continue to develop other funding sources.

Needs

  • It is unclear in the proposal if people with cognitive disabilities will be included in implementation of the project.
  • The proposer might consider developing a strategy to reach out to Asian communities, as well as African American and Hispanic, if possible.
  • The staff that will implement this project has not yet been identified, so it’s difficult to evaluate their experience.
  • Parts of the budget are incorrect, and the budget justification doesn’t include enough detail.
  • The proposal needs more information about how the organization will continue to support people after the conference and how they will follow-up with participants.
  • The proposal would be strengthened if the applicant used technology or other strategies to try to reach people who cannot attend a conference in person.

Questions/Concerns

Final Recommendation

Fundable.