Strengthening Self Advocacy in Virginia

2024 Competitive Grant Program Request for Proposals (RFP)
(Awards to begin January 15, 2024)

The Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (the Board) is the Commonwealth’s Developmental Disabilities (DD) Council. The Board’s mission is to advance opportunities for independence, personal decision-making, and full participation in community life for individuals with developmental and other disabilities. The Board’s grant and contractual investments are designed to advance its mission and support the tenets of full inclusion by working with organizations at the local, state, and national levels to achieve our goals.

Overview and Purpose

Through this RFP, the Board seeks to support a local, regional or statewide culturally and linguistically competent self-advocacy organization or program, the purpose of which is to advocate for changes to policies, programs and systems for individuals with developmental disabilities that encourage inclusive communities. Projects funded through this special grant program must be designed to strengthen an existing self-advocacy organization or program led by individuals with DD, by improving an organization’s skill set, organizational structure and/or work to effect policy change. The Board encourages innovative proposals, based on promising or best practices.

Projects should holistically incorporate cultural and linguistic competence in project design and activities. The National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) at Georgetown University defines culture as “…a system of collectively held values, beliefs, and practices of a group which guides thinking and actions in patterned ways.” The Board considers cultural competence to include the following: the organization has defined values, principles and policies that demonstrate that:

  1. Diversity and differences are valued.
  2. The organization is able to work effectively across cultures and adapt to the cultural context of the communities being served.
  3. The organization recognizes the importance of cultural sensitivity towards the target audience.
  4. It is able to incorporate these values, principles and policies in each aspect of policy-making, administration, practice, service delivery and systematically involve consumers, families and community members.

The NCCC defines linguistic competence as “…the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse groups including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, individuals experiencing disabilities, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Linguistic competence requires organizational and provider capacity to respond effectively to the health and mental health literacy needs of populations served. The organization must have policies, structures, practices, procedures, and dedicated resources to support this capacity.” (cite)

Available Grant Funds

The Board has reserved total funding of up to $100,000 for successful proposals from one or more self-advocacy organizations or a self-advocacy program, within an organization, led by individuals with DD.  Funding for a self-advocacy organization with statewide reach will receive preference.  The Board may award all or a portion of available funds. We may choose not to award grant funds if budget limitations are encountered or if we determine that none of the grant proposals will achieve our desired outcomes. The Grant period may range from 18 to 24 months. Grantees will be required to submit an annual renewal application for multi-year funded projects in order to demonstrate project outcomes.

Under this solicitation, grantees are required to contribute a minimum match (cash or in kind) of 25 percent of total project costs (grant funds + match). Federal funds cannot be used as match. If the project primarily serves a Designated Poverty Area, the minimum match requirement is 10 percent of total project costs. Designated Poverty Areas are listed in the Grants Manual, Appendix B.

Entities with a federally negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (ICR) agreement may elect to charge indirect costs to the project and a copy of the ICR agreement must be included with the application. Board staff will review the ICR agreement to determine the most appropriate cost rate. Entities that do not have a negotiated cost rate agreement may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10 percent of modified total direct costs (MTDC definition can be found in the Grants Manual). Applicants are strongly encouraged to use indirect costs towards the minimum match requirement.

What We Will Not Fund

This RFP will not support the following:

  • Existing projects or services that are a part of an organization’s current program or budget;
  • Projects that would supplant or replace existing federal, state, or local dollars to conduct the project;
  • Projects which have a federal, state or local mandate to be delivered by the applicant organization;
  • Projects which include capital expenditures for the acquisition of land or buildings, new construction or major repair.
  • Projects that do not directly align with one or more of the Board’s State Plan Objectives specified in the RFP.
  • Projects that do not ensure meaningful diversity and inclusion, and are exclusive of an individual’s race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, disability, and veteran status
  • Projects that take place in restrictive, isolated, or segregated settings that do not promote community integration for children or adults with disabilities.
  • Projects that do not effectively demonstrate cultural and linguistic competence through established organizational policies, structures, procedures and practices.

Board Objectives and Target Population

Projects should be designed to strengthen the efforts of individuals with developmental disabilities to advocate for systems change that will transform fragmented approaches into a coordinated and effective system which ensures that individuals with DD and their families participate in the design of, and have access to, needed community services, individualized supports, and other assistance that promote self-determination, individual autonomy,  productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life.

The target population is self-advocates with developmental disabilities. The organization(s) or project(s) to be funded must be led by individuals with developmental disabilities. While a program or project may be part of an umbrella organization, the program’s (if not an actual organization’s) direction and decision-making must rest with individuals with developmental disabilities who are either serving as staff or as a governing Board or leadership team.

Developmental disability, as defined in federal law, is a severe, chronic, often lifelong disability that causes substantial limitations in several major life activities such as: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, the capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. It is attributable to a mental, emotional, sensory, and/or physical impairment that is apparent before the age of twenty-two. People with developmental disabilities often need a combination of special services, support, and other assistance that is likely to continue indefinitely.

For projects in which there will be direct benefit to individuals, at least 60% of the target population that will benefit from the grant, must be persons with Developmental Disabilities (DD). All submission requirements can be found in the Grants Manual.  Be sure to review the Grants Manual prior to submission of a proposal. In addition, all required reports and other documents should be submitted to the Board in Microsoft Word format.

All project activities will be conducted in consultation with staff to the Board and subject to periodic approvals based on the needs of the organization.

Performance Measure Requirements

Applicants for this funding must demonstrate that their project(s) aligns with at least one of the federally required Performance Measures so that desired impacts are clear (see Appendix C of the Grants Manual for a complete list and their meaning). Long term measures are generally a result of the activities undertaken by the grantee and as the name suggests, they usually occur over a longer period of time. Applicants may select a combination of the measures but the project’s scoring is weighted toward grantees that can successfully demonstrate longer term impacts. Applicants must also demonstrate to the Board that they have the organizational capacity to collect and report the required data.

Applicants MUST include in their grant proposal, the specific federal performance measure(s) that it intends to meet for each activity in the work plan, when applicable. Applicants are not required to have a performance measure for each activity. In the case of this Self Advocacy funding announcement, the focus should be on the performance measures, which directly reflect impact on individuals with DD. Family advocacy performance measures may also be included but should not be primary.

Systems Change (SC) Federal Performance Measures
Short-Term Output Measures:
SC 1.1 Policies and Procedures.  The number of policies and/or procedures created or changed.
SC 1.2 Statutes and Regulations.  The number of statutes and/or regulations created or changed.
SC 1.3 Promising and Best Practices.  The number of promising and /or best practices created or supported. Number of promising practices createdNumber of promising practices supportedNumber of best practices createdNumber of best practices supported
SC 1.4 Training and Education.  The number of people trained or educated through systemic change initiatives.   This measure does not include information like website hits, social media likes, newsletter subscribers, etc. If the people trained have a disability or are family members of someone with a disability, IFA 1.1 and/or 1.2 should be captured instead.
SC 1.5 Collaboration.  The number of collaborative activities with organizations actively involved.  
Individual & Family Advocacy (IFA) Federal Performance Measures
IFA 1: Short-Term Output Measures:
IFA 1.1 The number of people with developmental disabilities who participated in Council supported activities designed to increase their knowledge of how to take part in decisions that affect their lives, the lives of others, and/or systems.   Grantees will be required to report aggregate data regarding race/ethnicity, geographic location (urban vs. rural), sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation & gender identity (SOGI) of participants.
IFA 1.2 The number of family members of people with developmental disabilities who participated in Council supported activities designed to increase their knowledge of how to take part in decisions that affect the family, the lives of others, and/or systems.   Grantees will be required to report aggregate data regarding race/ethnicity, geographic location (urban vs. rural), sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation & gender identity (SOGI) of participants.
IFA 2: Long-Term Outcome Measures:
IFA 2.1 After participation in Council supported activities, the percent of people with developmental disabilities who report increasing their advocacy as a result of Council work.
IFA 2.2 After participation in Council supported activities, the percent of family members of people with developmental disabilities who report increasing their advocacy as a result of Council work.
IFA 2: Sub-Outcome Measures
IFA 2.3 The percent of people who are better able to say what they want, or what services and supports they want, or say what is important to them.
IFA 2.4 The percent of people who are participating now in advocacy activities.
IFA 2.5 The percent of people who are on cross disability coalitions, policy boards, advisory boards, governing bodies and/or serving in leadership positions.
IFA 3: The percent of people satisfied with a project activity.
IFA 3.1 The percent of people with developmental disabilities satisfied with a project activity.
IFA 3.2 The percent of family members of people with developmental disabilities who are satisfied with a project activity.

In addition to the federal performance measures above, grantees will be required to report aggregate data regarding race/ethnicity, geographic location (urban vs. rural), sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation & gender identity (SOGI) of project participants in connection with Performance Measures IFA 1.1 and IFA 1.2. Demographic information in connection with Performance Measure SC 1.4 is also welcome, but not required. Please consult the “Demographic Data Collection” tip sheet on our grants webpage for recommended survey questions.

Race/EthnicityNumber of Survey Respondents
American Indian or Alaska Native 
Black or African American 
Hispanic/Latino or Latina 
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 
Two or more races 
Other race or ethnicity 
Do not know or do not want to answer the question 
Geographic LocationNumber of Survey Respondents
Do not know or do not want to answer the question 
Sex Assigned at BirthNumber of Survey Respondents
Do not know 
Do not want to answer 
Gender IdentityNumber of Survey Respondents
Transgender female 
Transgender male 
Do not know 
Do not want to answer 
Sexual OrientationNumber of Survey Respondents
Do not know 
Do not want to answer 

Application Submission Process

The review of proposals will be completed as listed in the below table.  Eligible applicants may submit a Proposal application which will be reviewed and scored by the Board’s Grant Review Team (GRT).  Final awards will be made after the review of all proposal applications. Key dates are listed below.

Application ActivitiesKey Dates
Technical Assistance for Proposal submissionOctober 2, 2023
 Proposal applications dueNovember 3, 2023, by 4 p.m. ET
Notification of funding  decisionsDecember 13, 2023
Earliest possible project start dateJanuary 15, 2024

The Board only accepts grant applications submitted electronically through the performance management and government resource planning site called DD Suite.

In order to submit a Proposal Application, applicants must first register with DD Suite to create an account. Please allow sufficient time to complete your account registration. If you experience any difficulties with registration, please see the DD Suite technical assistance page.

Proposal Applications must be received electronically in the DD Suite system by 4 p.m. ET on or before the due date listed in the above table. Late submissions will not be accepted for any reason.

Proposal applications should contain clear and concise information on the following:

  • Coversheet
  • Abstract
  • Budget
    • Budget Justification Narrative
    • Budget Form
    • Quarterly Activity Timeline & Expenditure Projections
  • Narrative (max 20 double-spaced pages)
    • Applicant Profile
    • Cultural and Linguistic Competence
    • Target Population
    • Involvement of Individuals with DD & Families in Project Development, Implementation and Evaluation
    • Collaboration
    • Systems Change, Capacity Building and Sustainability
    • Work Plan: Project Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outcomes, Stories and Performance Measures
    • Strength of Evidence*
    • Evaluation Plan

*Strength of Evidence: Describe in detail the evidence-based model/approach you have chosen and why it was selected for your project, i.e., what is the evidence that supports your approach.

Review and Scoring of Applications

Each Proposal will be date and time stamped upon electronic receipt.  Late proposals will not be reviewed.  After a review for technical completeness, the GRT will review all proposals.  Within the dollar amount available, the highest scoring proposals will be recommended to the Board for funding.  Cut off scores are at the discretion of the GRT. A project Work Plan (see page 20 in the Grants Manual for required elements) must be developed as part of your application and must demonstrate how the proposed objectives and activities align with the selected performances measures.

Full Proposal Scoring

Applicant Profile10 pts
Cultural and Linguistic Competence5 pts
Target Population5 pts
Involvement of Individuals with DD and Families in Project Development, Implementation and Evaluation7 pts
Collaboration6 pts
Systems Change, Capacity Building & Sustainability12 pts
Work Plan: Project Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outcomes, Stories and Performance Measures30 pts
Strength of Evidence7 pts
Evaluation Plan10 pts
Budget10 pts
Technical Submission Requirements 3 pts
Total Possible Points105 pts

Reporting Requirements

All grantees will be required to submit quarterly and final programmatic and financial progress reports.  Grantees also will be expected to track and share aggregated data about their projects and participants, which include federally required demographic data. Reporting deadlines and requirements will be included in the award letter and contract.  In some circumstances, the Board may require monthly programmatic and/or financial reporting.  In addition, some grantees may be required to provide post grant reporting and more frequent reports may be required in certain circumstances.

The Board requires that the selected grantee provide (in the quarterly program reports, final report, or at other times as requested) stories about people with developmental and other disabilities and their families whose lives have improved as a result of grant activities.  Examples of the types of stories (who, what, when, where and why) the Board is looking for may include: how someone became more independent because they obtained employment, housing, or transportation; how someone became more connected to their community as a result of opportunities provided through the grant; or how someone was able to remain in the community vs. being institutionalized.  The privacy of program participants must be protected at all times.


Eligible organizations include non-profit organizations, for profit organizations and institutions of higher education, including minority-serving institutions (MSI). The Board encourages braided funding and partnerships. Please be sure to clearly describe the planned role and responsibilities of each partner at all stages of the project. Only one organization can receive the grant and will be contractually responsible for grant administration, reporting and delivery of the project.

For this grant opportunity, the organization or program must be led by individuals with developmental disabilities.

Board grants are 100% federally funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL), Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD).

Yes. An active Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number is required in order to receive federal funds. On April 4, 2022, the federal government stopped using Dun & Bradstreet Numbering System (DUNS) numbers. If the grantee does not have the new, non-proprietary identifier called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID, please request one from the System for Award Management (

We are particularly interested in projects that benefit individuals with developmental disabilities who are part of underserved, low-income and/or culturally diverse communities.

All grant payments are processed on a cost reimbursable basis.