National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) Award Competition 2009

February 25, 2009

Inclusive of Individuals with Disabilities as Active Volunteers and Members in National Service 


The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)--University of Massachusetts Boston UCEDD, in collaboration with Association of University Centers Disabilities (AUCD), conducts a comprehensive program of training, technical assistance, and dissemination designed to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)-funded programs. NSIP, in partnership with the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and AUCD with the 67 University Centers for Excellence on Developmental Disability (UCEDDs), will build upon this dynamic movement of individuals with disabilities giving back to their communities. With input from all CNCS programs, this partnership proposes a comprehensive and multifaceted campaign of face-to-face training and eLearning, both synchronous and asynchronous, onsite and remote technical assistance, collaborations among the service, volunteer and disability communities, dissemination of organizational and individual successes and product development that will enhance the capacity of all CNCS grantees and communities.

The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Click on the following hyperlink for program descriptions and organizational charts of AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and National Senior Service Corps. It is part of the mission of these federally supported programs to increase the participation of people with disabilities in service programs. For additional information, please visit the CNCS website and review the Corporation's program fact sheets. In addition, you may want to view activities of past NSIP grantees.

  • The National Service Inclusion Project conducts the following:
    • State based team and action planning facilitation;
    • Regional, state and program-specific training and technical assistance;
    • On-going assessments to ensure applicable and meaningful training and technical assistance activities;
    • A "one stop" interactive website;
    • The building of state and local partnerships between CNCS grantees, local consumer driven organizations and the disability community; and
    • The development and dissemination of information focusing on the opportunities for individuals with disabilities in national service through networking, conferences, postal and electronic mail.

Previous NSIP awards have been dedicated to cultivating working relationships among the CNCS Grantees and UCEDD/Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs in each state. The UCEDD/LEND programs serve as gateways to disability organizations, consumer advocacy groups, service providers and public agencies on the state and local level. National service provides a wide range of opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in civic engagement, while building skills in leadership development and preparing them for possible future employment opportunities. With increasing frequency people with disabilities are valued as members, volunteers and leaders in national and community service. More disability organizations are proposing service and volunteerism as a valued option for their constituents. Positive stories from members, volunteers and alums with disabilities serving in CNCS programs are relayed from every part of the country. In addition, participation enables individuals with disabilities to perform service that can make a meaningful difference in their communities. Finally, the partnership with the UCEDD/LEND programs provide national service program sites with information on how to better involve persons with disabilities and promote awareness of disability related issues of accessibility and independent living.

NSIP routinely works with CNCS State Commissions, State Offices, National Service programs and National Direct programs. The emphasis of this award competition will be to generate and implement strategies that will result in measurable increases in the application, enrollment, and retention of service members and/or volunteers with disabilities by the UCEDD/LEND program in partnership with their respective State Commissions or CNCS State Offices and a local National Service program(s). The CNCS Grantees should be willing to collaborate with the UCEDD/LEND program and the CNCS State Commission/State office to develop and implement inclusive strategies that result in the measurable increases of active participation of service members and/or volunteers with disabilities.


NSIP intends to award up to three (3) subawards of $25,000 each for a 12-month project period for UCEDD and/or LEND programs in support the of NSIP project goals at the statewide level. To be successful, applications must:

  1. Describe plans to collaboratively generate and implement strategies with a CNCS Grantee that will result in a measurable increase of applications from and enrollments of individuals with disabilities in national service.
  2. Describe plans to work with a consumer and /or member-driven organization to achieve project goals. Such organizations include, but are not limited to: independent living councils, NDSC, SABE, and People First chapters. Applicants are encouraged to develop proposals and subcontract with consumer and/or member-driven organizations.
  3. Identify one or more project priority areas under which it will focus its activities.  The three project priority areas are:
    1. Improvement in recruitment of people with disabilities with the intent to boost enrollment.
    2. Outreach and engagement with economically distressed areas with a focus on National Service as a gateway to employment and/or post secondary education.
    3. Increase access and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities with the intent to improve the numbers of people with intellectual disabilities enrolled in higher education or engaged in employment.

Note: This funding is specifically targeted towards increasing the number of applicants and service members with disabilities in all national and community service programs, not those projects that only include individuals with disabilities. This competition will not support projects that promote a separate process for or segregated strategy of recruiting and placing individuals with disabilities.


This opportunity is limited to UCEDDs or LENDs that have not obtained a CNCS or NSIP grant (either as the lead or as a major partner) in the past 2 years.

Proposal Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria

The proposal should be submitted with the format and content described below. Maximum scores for each section are provided; the narrative is limited to 10 double-spaced pages. The cover page, budget, and budget narrative may be single spaced.

Applicant Cover Page   (0 points)

Includes contact information, signature, and project abstract of 500 words or less (1/2 page). Please use the cover page provided in Attachment A.

Narrative Components of Sub-grant Proposal:

The narrative section should not be longer than 10 double spaced pages with margins that are not less than 1 inch and font no smaller than 12 point.  In this section please describe:

  1. Background and Experience with National and Community Service (15 points)This section should include a description of the applicant's past and/or current collaborative experience(s) with national and community service. Describe, if any, previous activities and level of involvement between the UCEDD/LEND program and the CNCS State Commission, State Office or local CNCS funded programs.

  2. Brief Description of Project and Priority Area to Be Addressed (10 points)
    This section should include a brief description of the proposed project and should identify and describe how the subaward will address one or more of the priority areas.  

  3. Project Narrative (60 points total-See subset for individual point values)

3A. Description of Proposed Partnership with CNCS Grantees and Consumer or Member-driven Organizations (25 points)

This section should describe the proposed partnerships; elements of the proposed partnership should include descriptions of the:

1. Type of collaborative activities that are planned between the partners during the course of the project and plans for sustaining these activities following the period of the award.

2. Plans to identify joint strategies to increase individuals with disabilities in national service activities.  Those joint activities must be finalized and submitted to NSIP within thirty (30) days of the project start date and outcomes of implementing those strategies must be documented in the final progress report.

3. Plans to work with the CNCS State Commission or State Office on areas such as the development and implementation of the state commission's disability plan; identification of available state resources and other accommodation funds, creation and implementation of appropriate inclusionary practices; or other topics related to the support to individuals with disabilities in national service.

4. The identification of  possible obstacles and plans to address those obstacles  with partners.

5. Plans to assist NSIP in providing technical training and assistance in collaboration with project partners.

Note: Applicants must secure letters of collaboration (and submit those letters with the proposal) from (a) CNCS State Commission or CNCS State Office and (b) a CNCS grantee (c) and a  consumer or member driven organization that describe proposed activities and their level of involvement to implement the project.

3B. Projected Goals Objectives, Outcomes and Timelines (20 points)

This section should describe proposed goals, objectives, activities, and timelines for achieving objectives, and the anticipated outcomes of the project.  Applicants must describe plans to or commit to the following:

1. Assist in the development of and actively participate in at least one state and/or regional training activity with a project partner.

2. Assist NSIP and AUCD in reporting CNCS data, experiences, challenges and lessons related to the efforts designed to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in national service.

3. Submit a case study with direct relevance to the UCEDD/LEND program's learning experiences, increased knowledge, and best practices with regards to increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities during the course of the project.

In addition, successful applications are encouraged, but not required to attend the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service scheduled on June 22-24 in San Francisco, CA.  Travel for at least one person to attend this conference may be reflected in the budget.

3C. Plans to Continue Activities to Promote Inclusion in National and Community Service (15 points)

This section should describe plans for continuing activities at the UCEDD/LEND, following the project period, that will be designed to:

1. Improve recruitment of people with disabilities with the intent to boost enrollment

2. Undertake outreach and engagement with economically distressed areas with a focus on National Service as a gateway to employment, and/or

3. Increase access and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities with the intent to improve the numbers of people with intellectual disabilities enrolled in higher education and engaged in employment.

4. Budget (15 points)

This section should provide a 12 month budget with a justification for line item amounts. The maximum amount available for funding is $25,000.  Matching or in-kind funds are not required; however any proposed matching funds may not stem from CNCS. If in-kind support or subawards are proposed for consumer or member-driven organizations as part of this project, it must be detailed in the budget.  The indirect rate for this competition is capped at 10%.  Proposals that request funding in excess of $25,000 or propose an indirect rate above 10% will not be considered.

Budgets may include travel for at least one person to attend the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco in June 2009.

Required Attachments

  • Vita or Biosketch of key staff (each vita/biosketch is limited to 3 pages)
  • Letter(s) of collaboration from the state CNCS State Commission or State Office
  • Letter of collaboration from the National Service program
  • Letter of collaboration from a consumer or membership-driven organization

Submission Process and Timelines

Applications will only be accepted through online submission (Follow the link)

Proposals submission date: March 27, 2009 by midnight eastern.

Complete proposals must be submitted by that time; completed proposals include the cover page, project proposal, budget and justification, vitas/biosketchs of key staff and ALL letters of support.  ALL materials must be submitted electronically through the above vehicle, and only complete proposals will be considered.


Proposal Available: February 26, 2009
Proposal Due: March 27, 2009 by midnight EST
Amount of each Award: $25,000
Funding Duration: 12 Months
Expected Project Start Date: April 15, 2009


NSIP: Jason Wheeler,  (888) 491-0326  (voice/TTY)
AUCD: Anne Riordan  (301) 588-8252  (voice)