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Disability Communications Fund (DCF) Grant

Grants to California Nonprofits and Educational Institutions
to Improve Communications Access for People with Disabilities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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California Communications Access Foundation (CCAF) - Disability Communications Fund (DCF)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

10/05/18 5:00 PM


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Grants to California nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to improve information and communications resources for State residents with disabilities. LOIs are due August 8. Funding is intended for technology and programs within the following three priority areas:

1. Training AT and AAC Professionals:

Disability Communications Fund (DCF) supports projects that build capacity and skills of professionals (specialists and general care providers) to provide communication support to individuals with disabilities.

The goal of this priority is to expand the availability of professionals trained in Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools and strategies. Training can be provided by the applicant or for the applicant, and may include sending staff to conferences.

Projects should:
- Use an existing, tested, and proven curriculum, or
- Develop a curriculum that promotes ongoing sharing of knowledge and best practices.

Given other available public resources and sources of funding, the trainings we support should focus on no/low tech and mid-tech systems. Examples:

No/low tech: Communication boards/books, Eye-gaze frames, Writing boards, Laser Pointer, Adapted stylus, Mounting
Mid tech: Braille note taker, Single or multi message device, Sequenced message device, Switches, Voice amplifier, Adapted mouse

This priority intentionally focuses on the training of professionals, because they have the potential to impact the life of many individuals over the course of their career. Therefore, it is useful to involve individuals with disabilities and/or family members as part of the curriculum or training, but their training should not be the focus of the project.

2. Facilitating Research and Innovation:

Disability Communications Fund (DCF) supports organizations in the collection and evaluation of data on a service or target population for the purpose of documenting best practices, gap analysis, or advocating for systemic changes. This may include pilot and trial programs prior to seeking government funding.

DCF also wants to encourage the development and testing of new technologies and services that benefit individuals with disabilities, recognizing this has the potential to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities far beyond the initial project participants.

Grantees need to publicly share the results of their project in one of the following ways:
- Article/paper,
- Presentations, or
- Open sourcing (making specifications of a device, app or program available for public use or

3. Building Networks and Replicating Successful Models:

Disability Communications Fund (DCF) wants to foster collaboration and exchange among stakeholders serving the communication needs of Californians with disabilities, so that best practices can be shared and redundancy is avoided.

DCF supports organizations in sharing successful programs or models with one or more partners. One of the collaboration partners needs to be designated as the primary applicant/grantee. The project should share best practices, adapting them to geographically, demographically or culturally different settings, as needed. The program or model to be shared does not have to have been previously funded by DCF, however, organizations applying need to be able to clearly demonstrate:
- How the project/model has been successful,
- The need for and benefit of replication,
- Capacity to support the replication, and
- Commitment of prospective partner organization(s).

DCF also supports projects that improve or expand existing stakeholder and professional networks (California-wide or regional), or intend to establish new networks. Network building may include information collection, outreach, identifying & piloting network activities, and implementation of a long term network strategy.

For all projects submitted under this priority a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between project partners is required.

DCF’s grant support is project-based. It is intended for projects (with a finite start & end date) or as seed/pilot support for new programs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 161912

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

One-year Grants:
- Grant amounts will range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Multiyear Support:
- Two-year projects may receive up to $150,000.
- Three-year projects may receive up to $200,000.

Term of Contract:

DCF awards a) one-year grants and b) multiyear support.

a) One-year Grants:
- All applicants are eligible for one-year grants.
- Current DCF grantees may re-apply, however, there is no guarantee that continued funding will be granted.
- Organizations may receive up to three one-year grants in a row, after which time they will be required to take a one-year break from submitting a new Letter of Intent (LOI).

b) Multiyear Support
- Only current and past grantees are eligible to apply.
- Only requests under DCF’s Funding Priority #2 “Research and Innovation”, and #3 “Networks and Replication” are considered for multiyear support
- Organizations may receive a maximum of three years of funding in a row, after which time they will be required to take a one-year break from submitting a new Letter of Intent (LOI).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible to apply for DCF funding are:
- Tax-exempt, public charities as defined under Section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, including schools, universities and governmental units; and
- Programs that use a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

The applicant must be an organization which has a physical location in California (not an on-line entity) and provide services which benefit people with disabilities in California.

DCF does not provide general operating or ongoing program support.

Please keep in mind that DCF is not making grants to:
a) Individuals
b) Projects providing equipment and services that are covered by other publicly funded programs
c) Projects providing communications equipment and services for employees of the applicant. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The LOI information webinar is scheduled for Monday, June 18, 2018, at 1:30 PM.

Join the LOI information webinar here:

The applicant information webinar is scheduled for Friday, September 14, 2018, at 1:30 PM.

Join the applicant information webinar here:

Pre-Application Information:

Key Action Dates for 2019 grant cycle:

- LOI Information Webinar: Monday, June 18, 2018, 1:30 PM (recording available afterwards)
- Deadline for LOI submission: Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 5:00 PM
- Announcement of LOI decisions: Friday, September 7, 2018
- Application Information webinar: Friday, September 14, 2018, at 1:30 PM
- Deadline for submission of full grant application (by invitation only): Friday, October 5, 2018, 5:00 PM
- Announcement of grant awards: December 2018
- 2019 grant cycle start date: January 1, 2019

DCF uses a two-stage application process, beginning with a Letter of Intent (LOI). A limited number of applicants will then be invited to submit a Full Application. The entire LOI/Application review process takes approximately four (4) months.

For one-year grants, a minimum of a 20% match of the total project cost is required.

Multi-year support:
- Up to 40% of DCF’s annual grantmaking is reserved for multi-year funding.
- Depending on the nature of the request and the availability of funds, DCF may only partially approve a request.

With the intention of encouraging grantees to find other sustainable funding sources over time, the match requirement increases annually for multiyear projects:
- 30% match of the total project cost in year two
- 40% match of the total project cost in year three

Small grants may be eligible for a match waiver.

In addition to project-related operating costs, DCF allows applicants to include up to 15% of their request to be used for general operating costs in their budget. Additional general operating costs that exceed the 15% limit may be used to satisfy the match.

More information about what DCF funds may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:;

Silke Brendel-Evan, DCF Associate Program Officer
(800) 240-6182

Disability Communications Fund
1333 Broadway, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612

P: (800) 240-6182
F: (510) 268-4761

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California