Serve Illinois strengthens communities through volunteerism, national service, and recognition.
We envision an Illinois where the needs of every community are met and all Illinoisans have the opportunity to give their time, talents, and resources.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
The enabling legislation of the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (Serve Illinois) promotes, partners, and supports community service in public/private programs, while stimulating new volunteerism/community service initiatives to meet the needs of Illinois citizens. (20 ILCS 1345/) Within the Illinois Department of Human Services, we serve as a resource advocate for community service agencies, volunteers and programs which utilize State and private volunteers. Serve Illinois oversees all aspects of program administration and training for the Illinois AmeriCorps program, which provides trained, dedicated individuals to help non-profit organizations and other governmental agencies accomplish their missions and make more effective use of volunteers.
Serve Illinois was formed in 1979 as the Illinois Office of Voluntary Citizens Participation with a five-year grant from ACTION, the federal domestic volunteer organization. In 1985, it became the Governor’s Office of Voluntary Action. In 1991, it was transferred to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and was merged with the Senior Action Committee in the Office of Volunteer and Senior Action.
In September 1993, the federal “National Community Service Trust Act” was signed into law that called for each state to establish a state commission to administer the new AmeriCorps program. As a result, in July 1994, the Illinois State Legislature created the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Community Service, replacing the Office of Volunteer and Senior Action.
In 1998, Serve Illinois moved to the Illinois Department of Human Services and legislation enacted in 2000 (20 ILCS 710, Chapter 1278, paragraphs 3800 to 3806) changed the name to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and charged Serve Illinois to:
- promote and support community service in public and private programs to meet the needs of Illinois citizens;
- stimulate new volunteerism and community service initiatives and partnerships; and,
- serve as a resource and advocate within the Department of Human Services for community service agencies, volunteers, and programs which utilize State and private volunteers
In 2007, the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service adopted the title of the “Serve Illinois Commission.”
In 2014, Serve Illinois was moved from the Department of Public Health to the Illinois Department of Human Services in the Office of Preparedness and Response.