Frequently Asked Questions


Question 1: What are examples of disabilities on which you focus? Or is the focus all disabilities?

Answer: The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) uses the federal definition of developmental disabilities, as it appears in Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (The DD Act). This definition is based on substantial physical or mental impairment function in three or more major areas of life activity and the age of onset when the disability occurred.

For more information on the definition, go to “Appendix A: Council Policies and Resolutions” in the most current PADDC RFA booklet. Our funding must benefit people with developmental disabilities, but people with other disabilities may also participate and benefit.


Question 2: Please define “generic social change”.

Answer: The Generic Social Change model is a hallmark of our work over the past several years. It grows from our vision, mission, and values around generic change, cultural competence, systems change, and viewing disability as a natural part of the human condition. Generic social change starts with the understanding that people should live, work, and thrive in generic social situations and the broad community. Rather than building special models and services for people with disabilities, we believe generic systems should change their ways to accommodate all community members. This part of your proposal should describe how your project will address the generic community (the existing systems and services for all people) as the change target. Additional information about the four mandatory content areas is in the Grant Application Instructions section of the most current PADDC RFA booklet.


Question 3: How many will move on to step 2? How many will receive a grant?

Answer: Unfortunately, we cannot answer this question. We do not know how many letters of intent we will receive or how many will be asked for a full proposal. There is no set limit to the number of grants we may fund. 


Question 4: We are a nonprofit college that also partners with community nonprofits. Can we submit a proposal?

Answer: Yes. Please keep in mind if your project involves multiple organizations, one of them must step up and agree to be the grantee. There needs to be a single legally responsible party to receive the grant.


Question 5: I am confused about the part, “Do not ask for funding for direct services.”

Answer: According to federal law, Developmental Disabilities Councils cannot fund direct services, except in rare cases when demonstrating a new approach. Even then, the funding is only for a short period. Because the grant program has limited funding for each project and grants are short-term, suggesting projects with a direct services focus might encounter difficulties making a case for funding.


Question 6: What are some examples of funded activities and projects?

Answer: There are a variety of different types of activities and items that Council-funded projects can support – for example, educational sessions, hosting events to raise awareness, planning meetings, focus groups, the production of materials, staff time, office supplies, etc.


Question 7: Please give an example of a good project idea.

Answer: The Community Grants aim to reflect issues and concerns at the local level. Second, “good” is often in the eye of the beholder and a matter of degree rather than absolute. Please refer to the list of grantees/projects and the Request for Applications (RFA) booklet on the website.


Question 8: How long is the grant period?

Answer: The grant lasts for a maximum of 18 months. You can suggest projects that take less time, but remember that they must finish within the 18-month limit.


Question 9: What does lasting impact mean?

Answer: It means that we expect there is at least potential that the work of a Council grant will be of some benefit to others beyond the life of the actual grant and not just to individuals who are direct project participants.


Question 10: Other than the 2-page maximum, are there any formatting requirements for the Letter of Intent? For instance, specific font size/type?

Answer: No. However, we prefer letters that are clear, concise, and easy to read. Avoid making them unnecessarily long, wordy, or filled with jargon as they become hard to read.


Question 11: Would it be appropriate to ask for tools for grant participants to work with?

Answer: It depends. Tools may be considered an allowable expense depending on the type of tool and the nature of the request. Expenditures for equipment – particularly pieces of major equipment – are not allowed.


Question 12: Is there a requirement for the number of people with/without disabilities to be involved in the project?

Answer: There is no specific number. However, the Council strongly believes in the meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all its funded projects. It is a mandatory requirement for all projects.


Question 13: Is there a restriction against faith-based organizations?

Answer: No, there is no restriction. However, you cannot use Council funding to pay for religious activities or faith-based instruction.


Question 14: Over the next year, our goal is to get a mobile van to support our efforts. Can our organization apply for this grant to help with that?

Answer: As described, no. A van would be considered a major piece of equipment.


Question 15: Would working with the deaf/deaf-blind community be appropriate for this grant?

Answer: The short answer is a definite maybe. The DD Act definition of developmental disabilities does not include sensory disabilities. See “Appendix A: Council Policies and Resolutions” in the most current PADDC RFA booklet for a complete description.


Question 16: Are there any restrictions on what the budget can cover?

Answer: We cannot pay for direct service, construction projects, lobbying, entertainment, alcohol, or incentives, such as gift cards.


Question 17: Is partnering with another nonprofit key to receiving funding?

Answer: No. Partnering could be helpful, but it is not a “key” to receiving funding.


Question 18: What is the grant award time frame?

Answer: Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until Federal funding is no longer available.


Question 19: Will any grants be awarded for less than $20,000?

Answer: There could be. It all depends on what the proposers suggest. If there is a valuable project that costs less than $20,000, it could definitely get funding. However, remember that there is no advantage in asking for less money. We do not award extra points for that.


Question 20: How are the funds from the grant released?

Answer: Once you become a grantee, you submit fiscal paperwork and then get reimbursed for the expenses you incur during the grant period. If we ask you to submit a full proposal, you will receive additional information about budgetary matters.


Question 21: When working with projects for young children with disabilities (early childhood), will parents of such children meet the requirements of including people with disabilities?

Answer: Yes.


Question 22: Sometimes, when applying for grants, organizations may request $20,000, but the funders might decide to provide funding for only certain parts of the proposal, less than the requested amount. As a result, the grantee has to adjust the project based on the actual funding received.

Answer: We do not do that.


Question 23: Construction: Does that include repairs on facilities that support developmental disabilities? ADA Access to buildings

Answer: Yes, both would be considered construction and unallowable expenses.


Question 24: Are there any topics or systems that would be off-limits?

Answer: No.


Question 25: Are there geographic impact requirements- minimums (example: 1 county) or maximum (example: 8 counties)?

Answer: No. When making a proposal, think about what you can realistically achieve and what aligns well with your capabilities. Propose a project that you can handle and will bring about positive outcomes.


Question 26: Can you explain the format for the letter of intent? Is there a template that you can share?

Answer: There is no template. You may find it helpful to review the answers to Frequently Asked Questions 10 & 11 and the PADDC Community Grants Program announcement. Council funding cannot be used to buy equipment for personal needs or fund direct services, except in limited circumstances for a demonstration project.


Question 27: Does the budget form need to be completed with the Letter of Intent?

Answer: No. You do not need to submit a budget with the Letter of Intent. However, you can mention the total requested amount of Council funding. If Council asks you to submit a full proposal, it will provide a budget form for you to use.


Question 28: Can I submit my documents via fax?

Answer: No. Submit all documents electronically. Send your application to:

Please note:

1. We cannot accept electronic documents saved on third-party file-sharing sites (such as Google Docs).

2. Make sure that your electronic file name includes unique identifying information. Example: “ABCD User” 2021 Letter of Intent