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Minutes - June 8, 2006

Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service
Chicago: 1112 South Wabash Avenue, 3rd Floor Large Conference Room
Springfield Staff: By Conference Call
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
June 8, 2006

Commissioners Present: Cynthia Armster (for James Tyree), Matt Baker, Daniel Bassill, Cleo Arthur Boswell (for Randy Dunn), Jocelyn Dionisio, John Hosteny, Howard Lathan, Dave Lawrence, Dorothy Miaso, Phillip Moore, (for Walter Grady), Kelly Reffett (by phone), and Fred Rodriguez

ICVCS and DHS Staff present: Kimberly Fornero, Michael Gaines, Lisa Hooker, Scott Kimmel, Brenda Letcher, Deborah McCarrel, Scott Niermann, and Alma Stallings-Ott

I. Call to Order

Chairman, Dave Lawrence, called the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

II. Frank Sorenson

Dave Lawrence announced that Frank Sorenson passed away April 4, 2006. Dave and the other Commissioners and staff praised Frank Sorenson for his dedicated service on the Commission. A condolence letter was sent to Mrs. Sorenson from Executive Director Scott Kimmel on behalf of DHS and the Commission. Also, flowers were sent on behalf of the Commission to the funeral home. Michael Gaines attended the funeral. The April 2006 Serve Illinois newsletter contains a Memoriam on Mr. Sorenson. (A copy of the condolence letter and April 2006 Newsletter were included in the Commissioners' packets.)

III. Introductions

Dave Lawrence asked those in attendance to introduce themselves. Dave announced that there has yet been no re-appointments of Commissioners by the Governor's Office. He proposed that Mr. Howard Lathan, Chicago Area Project, be made Vice Chair on a temporary basis until re-appointments have been made. It was so moved and seconded, and the motion carried.

IV. Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the February 9, 2005 Commission meeting were unanimously approved.

V. Program Reports

Volunteerism and Citizens Corps

Dorothy Miaso reported that the Volunteer Management Training was held on May 11 and 12 at the Illinois Conference on Volunteer Administration (ICOVA). This is the second year the Volunteer Training track was held at the conference. There were 190 persons in attendance. Positive responses were received from the participants who expressed that they would like to see more training conducted. Fred Rodriguez noted that he served on the Steering Committee for ICOVA. Mr. Rodriguez commented that there were people from his town that had never attended the ICOVA Conference before and they were very pleased with what they heard and learned.

School-Based Learn and Serve

No Report.

Community-Based Learn and Serve.

The announcement on grant awards for the next three-year cycle will be made on Monday, June 12th. The program year will end June 15th and the programs are going through their closeout process. Page one of the April 2006 Serve Illinois Newsletter contains an article about the Cesar Chavez Serve & Learn Program Breakfast that was held on March 30, 2006 at the McKinley Elementary School in Chicago. Scott Kimmel attended on behalf of the Commission and Brenda Letcher received special thanks for her role in supporting Illinois' service learning initiative.

Senior Corps and VISTA

John Hosteny announced that the Midwest Training Event will be held in June. Information on the training will be released on Monday, June 12th.


Deborah McCarrel gave the AmeriCorps report. Ms. McCarrel stated that programs are currently working on their 2003-2006 program year closeout and closeout visits have been scheduled. John Hosteny noted that there was a policy that was never enforced for AmeriCorps grants. It is still a 3-year grant, but the funds have to be used up every year; and so the funds cannot be carried over from year to year. Scott Kimmel stated that this information will be highlighted at the program directors training in August. Scott Kimmel also stated that he would like to see the Illinois Commission submit competitive grants applications to the Corporation this coming January and that this year he would like to see those programs not funded by the Commission apply for Competitive funding.

On May 27th, the Corporation announced the competitive grants awards. Staff will be sending notices out to these grantees on June 9th.

VI. Old Business

AmeriCorps Standards Review

Scott Kimmel indicated that he had been notified that CNCS will be conducting an Administrative Standards Review September 11-15th. Deborah McCarrel is the lead person for the Commission on the review. ICVCS staff will spend the next couple of months preparing for this review.


Scott Kimmel reported that staff have been talking with the Prevention First, Inc. (PFI), the contractor for the newsletter, about ideas in terms of a new look and content B more news and less letter. No drastic changes will be made without input from the Commission. Brenda Letcher is in the process of updating and streamlining the mailing list and she hopes to have the update completed by October.

Web Site

Scott Kimmel noted that even though updating the web site is a slow process, he is in good communication with the Governor's Office Webmaster and updates are occurring. As an example, the SERVE Illinois newsletter is now on the web site.

VII. New Business

Points of Light Conference / ASC. Dorothy Miaso reported that the Points of Light Conference is scheduled for June 18-21 in Seattle, Washington. Dave Lawrence and Dorothy Misaso will attend on behalf of the Commission. The Association of State Commissions (ASC) will hold their annual meeting and election of new Board members at the conference. The annual ASC meeting will be Dorothy's last as her term on the Board will expire.

Dorothy also reported that Debra Harmon, Executive Director of Nebraska, passed away 4-6 weeks ago after suffering a heart attack. She was only 48.

Commission Appointments

Scott Kimmel stated that he received unconfirmed word that the recommendations for new appointments are in the Governor's Chief of Staff's Office. Since the time that the list of Commissioner recommendations had been sent to the Governor's Office, two people need to be replaced: Frank Sorenson and Randy Dunn, ISBE Superintendent who has announced his resignation. It is hoped that appointments will be made before the next Commission meeting. Dave noted that Frank Sorenson recommended Nancy K. Jameson for his replacement. She is from Carthage , Illinois, but he didn't have any contact information for her. She is the Director of the RSVP Program for five counties in Carthage.


Scott Niermann gave an update on LeaderCorps activities. The LeaderCorps had their initial meeting at the Leaders Conference in April in Alterton Park. The LeaderCorps members are working on Scott Kimmel's request to create a sustainable program including by-laws and a format that can be followed by future LeaderCorps members. Positions for officers with certain responsibilities are being created. Consideration is being made of electing LeaderCorps representative from each program. This would result in approximately 40 LeaderCorps members. In the coming year, they will produce information packets that include the mission statement and an application for LeaderCorps membership. There has been discussion that the first LeaderCorps meeting should be in November each year to plan for the coming program year.

Dorothy Miaso expressed concern about what is being proposed for LeaderCorps, particularly electing Team Leaders since there is already a system in place in some programs. There was some discussion about LeaderCorp not being mandated by the State and that it came about as the result of a recommendation from the Commission. It was suggested that one of the subcommittees serves as advisor to LeaderCorps.

Dave commended Scott Niermann for his work with LeaderCorps.


Included in the Commissioners packets were three suggestions for an ICVCS logo. Scott Kimmel asked Commissioners to look at them and let him know their choice or suggest something else. Mr. Kimmel stated that it's been his experience that the current logo is not recognized as a Lincoln hat.

State Service Plan

Scott Kimmel informed the Commission that this is the last meeting before the date the plan is due to the Corporation, which is September 18th. He reviewed the State Service Plan (formerly Unified State Plan) that was included in the Commissioners' packets and asked for feedback and approval. He noted that the Corporation sent out three questions that they wanted the Commission to answer. The State Service Plan answers those questions. The following is feedback from the Commissioners regarding the State Service Plan:

  • John Hosteny commented that the plan will pass as written because the Corporation is simply looking for a statement of what will be done over the next three years. So, there is no pass or fail.
  • Dan Bassill made the following recommendations:
    1. Insert a bullet in each section to indicate what the Commission is going to do to achieve the goals of volunteerism.
    2. Add a statement in Section 1 that talks about leveraging national service resources. For example, The Commission will look for ways to leverage national resources to better achieve these goals.
    3. Add a summary in Section 2 that says everything we do will be a collaborative effort to achieve everything we said in Section 1, showing that the Commission will take a leadership role.
    4. In Section 3, add a third paragraph that talks about leadership and advocacy that supports the infrastructure of volunteerism.
  • Dave Lawrence cautioned that the State Service Plan has to stay within a five-page limit.
  • John Hosteny stated that the original State Plan was AmeriCorps focused, but the Commission is more than AmeriCorps and asked whether the current plan captures that. He also noted that the plan does not mention business and other government entities and if these things are not mentioned they may be off the radar screen.

It was moved and seconded that the State Service Plan be accepted as a draft document; the motion carried. Dave Lawrence told the Commissioners to send any additional feedback to Scott Kimmel within five business days. Scott asked that the feedback contain actual language to be used in the document. He will incorporate the feedback into the plan and send it out to the Commission with a deadline for their response. Commissioners will respond by the established deadline about whether or not they approve.

Kim Fornero stated that the State Service Plan is just a statement that provides a framework for future planning. This statement can be reviewed, expanded, and turned into an actual plan at a later date.

Ethics Training

Deborah McCarrel asked the Commissioners to read the Ethics Training form in the Commissioners' packets, sign it, and leave it with her at the end of the meeting so she can turn it over to the Governor's Office. She will send the form to Commissioners who were not present.

AmeriCorps Competitive Grants

Reference was made to a spreadsheet in the Commissioners packet regarding the AmeriCorps Competitive Grants. Illinois received a competitive award totaling $2,254,971, an increase of $795,482 over the 2003-2006 period (+54.5%). Out of the 20 proposals submitted, four were approved for funding during the next program cycle. The providers who were approved for funding are City Year Chicago, Literacy Volunteers of America-Illinois, Inc., Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, and Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. Illinois ranks 8th nationwide in competitive funding B up from 22nd during the 2003-2006 program cycle. Scott Kimmel was asked what he thought was the reason for Illinois' improvement in Competitive grant funding and he stated he thought it was Kim Fornero's suggestion of giving providers technical assistance and feedback before submitting their proposals to the Corporation. John Hosteny reminded the Commissioners that Corporation funding is supposed to decrease every year until it is no longer necessary for the program to exist. So, there is a need for providers to move toward sustainability.

AmeriCorps Formula Grants

(Kelly Reffett and Matt Baetke were excused.) The same spreadsheet referenced above shows there are $3.4 million available for Formula grant funding. There were 15 programs being recommended for funding by the Commission staff, six of which are new to AmeriCorps. There are 13 programs who were not recommended, two of which are programs currently being funded (2003-2006). Those two programs (Springfield Community Federation and Sauk Valley Community College) were not recommended because their peer review scores were low. For those programs recommended for Formula funding, the grant amounts they requested were adjusted down in order to maximize the number of programs Illinois is able to fund and to provide statewide coverage. Deborah McCarrel explained how the programs were chosen. John Hosteny raised the question as to what is left in the communities that are being served by the programs who will not receive funding. Scott Kimmel stated that staff will attempt to keep in contact with those providers and try to do more technical assistance. He also suggested working with unfunded programs to submit applications for Competitive grant funding from the Corporation in January 2007. Dave Lawrence noted that one of the providers that is not being funded scored higher than two providers who are. Michael Gaines explained that this was addressed under "Additional Conditions" that looked at such things as geographic area.

It was moved and seconded that the 15 recommendations be accepted; the motion carried. Scott Kimmel stated that notices will be sent out to the providers on June 9th.

Everyone was encouraged to read the Press Release in the Commissioners' packet that highlights Illinois as having the highest number of volunteers each year in the Midwest during 2002 to 2005. More information can be found at

New Program Directors Training

Scott Kimmel announced that the New Program Directors training is scheduled for Monday, August 28 through Wednesday, August 30th for the 19 grantees. They will be trained in WBRS (Web-Based Reporting System) and eGrants. Opening Day will be October 25 at Interstate Center in Bloomington. The Governor and Lt. Governor will be receiving a invitation to Opening Day.


Dave Lawrence stated that he wants to put together a list of everyone's email addresses and asked everyone to send him an email just to say "Hello" he will have their email addresses. His email address is

Dave Lawrence shared that he did a couple of speaking engagements. The sponsors paid for his travel so the Commission incurred no expenses for him. He spoke in Connecticut, at the Illinois State Crime Stoppers, and with representatives from Coles County. Now that he is going to have everyone's email, he can let people know when these events come up because there may be others who can be presenters. Dave feels the Commission is doing very well and that things are getting done the way they should be done.

Scott Kimmel and Dave have been discussing the idea of an annual report. There is nothing in the legislation that says this has to be done; however, some states are doing annual reports. That was one of the projects of the marketing committee.

Scott Kimmel announced that the Commission has requested another GPSI intern as Scott Niermann's term ends June 30th.

Next Meeting. Thursday, September 21. Hopefully, we will have new Commission members by that time. The location will be announced at a later date.

VIII. Adjourn

With no further business being offered. The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.