The Arc of North Carolina's STEP Grant

As we Seek To Empower People (STEP) at The Arc of North Carolina, we recognize that there are unique circumstances for people with I/DD that, with a little assistance, can change the trajectory of a life. We have established an initiative (called our STEP Grant) to address some of these needs when all other resources have been exhausted. A committee makes regular funding decisions on applications received internally or via our local chapter network. Read below to find out more. For more information, please email

Purpose and Objective: To provide needed items and services as related to a person with I/DD. A consistent and transparent procedure must be followed to ensure the integrity of The Arc of NC and the disbursement of these dollars.

A STEP Grant is intended for people with a direct connection to The Arc of North Carolina or one of its chapters. Requests may be received from self-advocates, parents, family members, legal guardians, The Arc staff, or any of The Arc of NC’s local chapters. There is neither an age limit nor income requirement for persons making the request, though the committee needs an understanding of the individual’s financial situation which warrants the request.
The Arc’s STEP Grant funds may be used to purchase services, equipment or supplies that addresses an identified need (including improving and maintaining the individual’s opportunities for full community membership) and meets the following requirements: the item or service would decrease the need for other Medicaid services; and/or increase the person’s safety in the home environment. The committee may partner with other organizations to fulfill the needs of the family. All other sources for potential funding must have been exhausted before the committee will consider the request.  All requests must show that they have utilized Medicaid and insurance funding before requesting funds from The Arc of North Carolina.  
First-time applicants will always have priority within the committee.  In addition, applicants may not apply more than once in a calendar year and the committee will set a lifetime maximum award per household. 
When a request involves a contract or purchase of medical equipment, two (2) estimates are required with the request.  The committee may fund the request at a lesser amount if it addresses the need.  Data will be collected and maintained in the EHR and will assess trends of requests received, funding awarded, and equitable access across all parts of the state.
Submitting an Application.  Applications are to be submitted using a secure online form submission system.  Applicants should, whenever possible, complete his or her own application.  A paper version of the application will be kept in each regional office and chapter as a last resort for submission; in the event that the application is filled out by hand, it will be given to the Regional Director (or designee) or chapter leader, who will transcribe the paper application verbatim into the online system and shred the original document.  Submissions from The Arc of NC employees must be approved by Regional Directors before final submission of the application.  Requests from local chapters may be submitted to the administrative designee directly using the email address  Emergency requests are permitted if there is imminent health and safety risk for the person with I/DD who needs the grant.  Emergency requests are sent out to committee members via email and require a simple majority vote for recommended approval. 
Awarding a STEP Grant. The Director of Advocacy or designee will provide to the committee three (3) business days prior to the scheduled meeting the following: application (identifying information redacted), summary of request, and supplemental information so that the committee has time to review request individually; informed funding recommendations come after thoughtful consideration and group discussion. The committee will make a grant funding recommendation as a group; the Executive Director (or designee) will review and then make final approval. The applicant/requesting party will be notified of the funding decision within two business days of the regularly scheduled meeting. Additionally, awardees will receive follow-up communication from the Director of Advocacy or designee within 30 days of receiving a grant.
Funding Limitations.  $300 maximum per applicant on any camp request; all other applications have a maximum request of $800.  Only one application per calendar year will be accepted; the committee reserves the right to deny an application if there appears to be an over-reliance or a regular ask for grant funding.  For emergency applications in which funds are requested for a reoccurring, planned expense such as rent, mortgage, car insurance, or utilities, the committee will only grant one request in a lifetime.  The Director of Advocacy or designee coordinates payment for the item approved. The Arc only pays vendors and never the applicant; vendors who receive more than $600 (total within the fiscal year) must submit a W-9 before any payment will be processed. 
Emergency Requests Procedure. The committee prioritizes requests related to the health and safety, investment in independence and education, and quality of life of an individual with I/DD. An emergency is a situation that poses an imminent risk to health, safety, life, or environment. Examples which would be considered an emergency are (but will be looked at on a case-by-case basis) loss of electrical service, loss of water stability in the home, or threat of eviction from residence. As a committee, the process for approving an emergency request could take up to 48 hours. An emergency request needs to be as complete as any other request in order to be processed.
A specific dollar amount will be set aside each quarter for emergency requests, and if those funds are used, no more funds that quarter will be used for emergencies.
Deadlines for Grant Submission. December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30 at 11:59pm. Applications received after these dates and times will be considered for the next cycle. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Find out more by email at