FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question 1: What would be an example of disabilities which you focus on? Or is it 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 one 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, you can go to “Appendix A: Council Policies and Resolutions” on page 22 of the PADDC 2019 RFA booklet. The Council’s funding must benefit people with developmental disabilities, but as long as people with developmental disabilities benefit, people with other disabilities may participate and benefit as well.
Question 2: Please define “generic social change”.
Answer: Generic social change is the process of making the generic community systems and supports (the systems and services that exist for all people) equally available, with appropriate accommodation, to Pennsylvanians with disabilities. We prefer to improve disability services by making them available in the context of the systems and supports that exist for all people. Proposals should indicate how the project will address the generic community (the systems and services that exist for all people) as the target of change and avoid wherever possible the creation of “special programs for special people.” Additional information concerning the four mandatory areas that must be addressed can be found on page 2 of the PADDC 2019 RFA booklet.
Question 3: How many will move on to step 2 and then to being awarded?
Answer: Unfortunately, this question is unanswerable because we have no way of knowing how many letters of intent will be received or how many of those will be asked to submit a full proposal. There is no cap on the number of proposals that we may ask for.
Question 4: We are a nonprofit college who also partners with community nonprofits. Can we submit?
Answer: Yes. Please keep in mind that with a project that involves more than one organization. One organization would have to take the lead and agree to be the grantee. There must be one legally responsible party in order to have a grant.
Question 5: I’m confused about the part “don’t ask for funding for direct services.”
Answer: Federal law states that Developmental Disabilities Councils are not allowed to fund direct services except in limited circumstances where one is demonstrating a new approach. In that instance, funding can be provided for a short time. Given the limited amount of funding available per project through this grant program, and the relatively short duration of the grants, proposed projects with this focus would seem likely to have a more difficult time making the 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 are intended to reflect issues and concerns at the local level. Second, “good” is often in the eye of the beholder as well as a matter of degree rather than an absolute. Please refer to the list of grantees/projects and RFA booklet on the web site.
Question 8: How long is the grant period?
Answer: The grant period is 18 months.
Question 9: What does lasting impact mean?
Answer: It means that there is an expectation that there is at least potential that the work of a Council grant will be of some benefit to others, and not just individuals who are direct project participants beyond the life of the actual grant.
Question 10: Other than the 2-page max, any formatting requirements for the Letter of intent? For instance, specific font size/type?
Answer: No. However, we do prefer letters that are clear, concise and readable. Letters that are unnecessarily long, too wordy or full of jargon are difficult 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 is very committed to the concept of meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the projects it funds. “Meaningful participation of people with disabilities” is one of Council’s mandatory requirements for its projects.
Question 13: Is there a restriction against faith-based organizations?
Answer: No, there is no restriction. However, Council funding may not be used to pay for religious activities or faith-based instruction.
Question 14: Over the next year we aim to secure a mobile van to support this effort. Would this grant be appropriate for the organization to apply?
Answer: As described, no. A van would be considered a major piece of equipment.
Question 15: Will we need to provide any type of documentation to show the participation of individuals with disabilities?
Answer: Not at this stage.
Question 16: Would working with the deaf/deaf-blind community be appropriate for this grant?
Answer: The short answer is a definite maybe. The DD Act ‘s definition of developmental disabilities does not include sensory disabilities. See “Appendix A: Council Policies and Resolutions” on page 22 of the PADDC 2019 RFA booklet for a complete description.
Question 17: Are there any restrictions for what the budget can cover?
Answer: We cannot pay for direct service or construction projects. In addition, we cannot pay for entertainment, alcohol or incentives, such as gift cards.
Question 18: What is the RFA book that you’re referencing? Where can I access that?
Question 19: Is partnering with another nonprofit key to receiving funding?
Answer: No. Obviously partnering could be helpful, but it is not a “key” to receiving funding.
Question 20: What is the time frame for grants to be awarded?
Answer: Grants are scheduled to run from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
Question 21: Will any grants be awarded for less than $10,000?
Answer: There could be. It really depends on what proposers propose. If there is a worthwhile project for less than $10,000, it could certainly be funded. Having said that, it is worth noting that there is no benefit for undercutting costs. No extra points are given for asking for less.
Question 22: How are the funds from the grant released?
Answer: Grantees submit fiscal paperwork and are then reimbursed for expenses incurred during the grant period. More information on budgetary matters will be provided in the webinar for those applicants who are asked to submit a full proposal.
Question 23: When working with projects for young children with disabilities (early childhood) will parents of such children meet the requirements of including people with disabilities?
Question 24: Sometimes with grants, funders get a proposal asking for $10k and then choose to fund only parts of it at less than $10k. This causes the grantee to have to amend the project to what the amount was given.
Answer: We don’t do that.
Question 25: Construction: Does that include repairs on facilities that support developmental disabilities? ADA Access to buildings
Answer: Yes, both would be considered to be construction and as such, unallowable expenses.
Question 26: Are there any topics or systems that would be off limits?
Question 27: Are there geographic impact requirements- minimums (example- 1 county) or maximum (example 8 counties)?
Answer: No. However, you as a proposer should consider what is possible and achievable and is a good fit for your capabilities. You obviously want to propose a project that you can do and that will produce positive results.
Question 28: I would like to apply for a grant to help fund additional homes where we will be implementing assistive technology. Could you tell me what the format is for the letter of intent? Is there a template that you can share with me?
Answer: Our formatting requirements are specified in the Announcement itself. There is no template. You may find it helpful to review the answers to Frequently Asked Questions 10 & 11, as well as the “Introduction to the PADDC Community Grants Program” PowerPoint. Please note that Council funding may not be used to purchase equipment for an individual’s personal needs or to fund direct services – except in very limited circumstances of a demonstration project.
Question 29: Does the budget form need to be completed with the letter of intent or only with the full RFA (Request For Application)? Is only the letter due Friday or the full proposal?
Answer: No. A budget is not required to be submitted with the Letter of Intent. You may include the total amount of Council funding requested if you wish. If you are asked to submit a full proposal, the Council will provide a budget form for your use. Only the letter of intent is due on February 7, 2020.
Question 30: Do we need to submit a budget along with the letter of intent?
Answer: No. A brief statement of a requested funding amount is all that is requested in the letter of intent.
Question 31: Can I submit my documents via fax?
Answer: No. All documents should be submitted via email or postal mail. If submitting electronically, send your application to
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” 2020 Letter of Intent
If submitting by postal mail, send your letter to:
ATTENTION: COMMUNITY GRANTS PROGRAM
PA Developmental Disabilities Council
2330 Vartan Way, Suite 130
Harrisburg, PA 17110