Skip to main content

Minutes - September 21, 2006

Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service
Chicago: 401 S. Clinton, 7th Floor
Springfield: 401 W. Lawrence Avenue, 3rd Floor
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
September 21, 2006

Commissioners Present: Cynthia Armster, Dan Bassell, Jocelyn Dionisio, Tedd Gibbs, John Hosteny, Howard Lathan, Dave Lawrence, Fred Rodriguez

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

I. Call to Order

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

II. Introductions

Dave Lawrence asked everyone present to introduce themselves, giving their names, agency and title.

III. Approval of June 8, 2006 Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the June 8, 2006 meeting were unanimously approved.

IV. Volunteerism

Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference (SIVC): Scott Niermann made reference to a brochure in the Commissioners' packets regarding a Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference that is being held October 11th in Carterville. All Commissioners were invited to attend. ICVCS staff will be attending, Dave Lawrence will attend, and John Hosteny's co-worker, Jancy Lafallett, is planning to attend. Cynthia Armster said she will send someone from City Colleges. Dave stated that the Commission has been trying to develop more collaborative partnerships in Southern Illinois and the Commission having good representation at the SIVC conference is a good way to show support.

Dan Bassill asked what is the Commission's policy on supporting these conferences because this is a key part of what the Commission's plan should be. Scott Kimmel stated he is not aware of any such policies, but he agreed that the Commission should be looking for ways to support these types of events. Dan asked if there is a website or any kind of web presence so interested persons can connect with the conference sponsors. Scott Niermann stated that the conference is local, but next year they are looking to expand it. Howard Lathan suggested that putting Southern Illinois in a data base is something down the road and the first step would be to build a relationship with the people since they have not been seeking to expand and they are used to doing things locally. Dave and Fred agreed. The question was raised as to how to use this conference to do outreach. Tedd Gibbs asked Scott Kimmel to email the information to him and he will forward it to their contacts in Southern Illinois to get more people involved down there.

V. Community-Based Learn and Serve

Brenda Letcher reported that the CBLS program has not been refunded. The program ended in May. They did have some funding left over, so 11 Teen REACH agencies were awarded a $2,000 grant. That funding will end September 29th. Letcher reported that although CBLS was not refunded, that does not mean it was not successful. The 3-year program was very successful, and many emails were received from AmerCorps saying how much they liked the program. A lot of agencies are going to continue CBLS in their area even though they were not funded.

The question was raised as to why the program was not refunded. Kimmel explained that there were nearly 200 applications received by the Corporation for funding. The competition was very stiff. Only 12% of the CBLS applications received were funded and Illinois was not one of the states chosen. For the past 9 years, Illinois has experienced on again off again funding, having been funded in every other three-year cycle.

The Lt. Governor's Office has a Learn and Serve Program. Ted Gibbs will be the coordinator for the School Based Learn and Serve. Utilizing funds from a grant they received from the State Board of Education (which ISBE received from CNCS), as many trainings as possible throughout the school year will be conducted. The first one is October 23rd. All commissioners are invited. There is also a call for proposals, which Dan Bassill has already responded to.

Tedd Gibbs reported that the Learn and Serve program received a 12% cut. So 11 school districts did not get funded. They want to help those 11 districts to continue to do service learning with the Cesar Chavez program and keep them involved with all the trainings they are doing throughout the year.

Dave announced that the Commission asked Tedd to be on the Commission as a nonvoting member.

VI. Senior Corps and VISTA

John Hosteny reported that the federal fiscal year begins October 1. The Corporation is providing level funding for the four programs they fund. They are looking for their grantees to have one person serve as a volunteer and go out to the volunteers to train the trainer. The Corporation's board meeting was held September 20th. There was heavy emphasis on the good work volunteers did in New Orleans. A new VISTA program the Corporation approved is the Homeless Education Program.

VII. New Grants

Youth Service America

Scott Niermann reported that the Commission was one of 50 successful applicants for a $2,000 grant to promote National and Global Youth Service Day. The Commission will use these funds to facilitate our AmeriCorps/LeaderCorps members with training events and promotional activities. Out of 171 applications received, 50 were awarded. The YSA representative said that Illinois' application was one of the best they received. The Youth Service Day will be held April 20-22, 2007. Applicants can choose any one of the three days to do their event.

Disaster Preparedness

Brenda Letcher and Scott Kimmel reported that the Commission received a $20,000 Disaster Preparedness (DP) grant from the Corporation. The funds can only be used for training related activities for AmeirCorps members. Our strategy is to integrate the training into other Commission- and program-offered trainings. One of the areas we will be exploring is Damage Assessors as a first response that AmeriCorps volunteers can play a role in. Before an area is designated a national disaster area, IEMA sends in Damage Assessors. IEMA was excited to know that there is a pool of volunteers and the programs were excited to know there is something they can put their arms around when disaster strikes.

VIII. Disability


Scott Kimmel and Brenda Letcher reported that the Illinois Public Health Association indicated that they would like to discontinue serving as the Commission's Disability Outreach Coordinating Agency. Scott Kimmel and Jim Nelson discussed this decision and both agreed that it would be in the best interest of the grant to have Commission staff take over those functions. So, IPHA's last function will be the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities conference at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. Following that, commission staff will take over the duties. Brenda Letcher will serve as the Disability Outreach Coordinator. Some meetings and activities have been planned including AmeriCorps 101 for People With Disabilities. Staff will be working with CPRD in developing this training. Staff will be putting together a disability plan for 2007 which is due the first of November.

IX. AmeriCorps

Administrative Standards Review

Scott Kimmel commended Deborah McCarrel and other ICVCS staff in compiling information for the administrative standards review. All ICVCS staff participated in the review. Deborah McCarrel was the point person. Deborah reported that the review was held the week of September 11th, and lasted that entire week. The review went well. The Commission met 51 out of 60 elements. The biggest issues were in the fiscal area. One of the issues was the Commission's need to better document its protocols. The other issues have been corrected and need to be put in writing. A report will be coming out in a couple of weeks.

2003-2006 Program Close Out.

Michael Gaines reported that he and Lisa Hooker are in the process of doing program closeout meetings and that they are about halfway done. They are looking at Commission compliance issues, member files, etc. Programs have 60 days to do their required reporting and submit them by December. The closeout will be completed by the end of February. There were a few programs staff were concerned about. Those programs were visited and they are now back on track with Commission requirements. The programs are very busy because while they are closing out their three-year grant programs for 2003-06 and some of them are also starting up new programs for 2006-09.

State Service Plan

Scott Kimmel reported that the commissioners' comments were incorporated into the State Service Plan and the plan was submitted to the corporation. The plan was accepted and it will become a part of the agenda.


Scott Nierman reported on some of the activities related to LeaderCorps. The brochure, application, and application process were finalized. A copy of the brochure is included in the commissioners' packet. Staff are in the process of selecting members.

State Program Directory

Scott Niermann referred to a directory in the commissioners' packets that lists all the sites funded in 2006-07. Brenda Letcher was commended for putting this comprehensive document together. Michael Gaines commented that this is the best directory he has seen in six years.

New Program Director's Training Feedback

ICVCS staff discussed the feedback received from the new program director's training. Information on this is included in the commissioners' packets. Feedback was positive.

Opening Day

ICVCS staff gave an update on the upcoming Opening Day that is scheduled for October 25th. The expected attendance is about 500 members. Since opening day is in October, many of the members are just beginning their year of national service. Among those expected to be in attendance are Elizabeth Seal from the corporation and the Lt. Governor has been invited. Patrick George is the keynote speaker. He is a motivational speaker who has won many awards. His theme is, "I Challenge You." Staff have been working with Tom Green in the DHS Communications Office to put together some media packets and they are attempting to arrange for TV interviews with some of the members that will hopefully be aired on the evening news by local TV stations.

State Survey

Scott Kimmel announced that Scott McFarland is working on a survey of all state commissions. This is a 50-state survey. Its purpose is to get ideas about what other states are doing. If you have any information areas you want to be on the survey, let Scott Kimmel know. Dan Bassell suggested sending out a draft for commissioners' to review. This may stimulate other questions. It is hoped that the survey will be out early next year.

2007 CNCS Competitive Program NOFA

Scott Kimmel received a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) from the Corporation for 3-year funding. The strategy this year is to bring in the community-based organizations that replied to the 2005/06 RFP and to provide them with technical assistance to beef up their application. This will not be opened up to new applicants because, based on the guidance received from DHS Grants Management Office, that would require issuing a new RFP and there is not enough time to do that since the application is due January 25th.

X. ICVCS Activities

Scott Kimmel referred to a chart in the Commissioners' packets that lists staff activities and timelines. They plan to keep this going and they will revise the list as needed.

XI. Media


Scott Niermann talked about a few changes that are reflected in the Summer 2006 issue of the Serve Illinois Newsletter. He explained that they are trying to gradually give the newsletter a new look, and will probably change to a 4-color newsletter on white background.

A question was raised as to the cost effectiveness of changing the color of the newsletter versus the cost effectiveness of reaching more people. About 4,000 people currently receive the newsletter. Scott Niermann stated that the clip-out coupon on page two was redesigned to make the newsletter more available online. Other suggestions were: 1) add people from other commissions to the mailing list; 2) have a corporate leader profiled in the newsletter to talk about how their corporation befitted from volunteers; 3) use resources such as United Way and Points of Light Foundation to obtain a list of corporations that use volunteers.


Scott Niermann gave an update on the Commission website. Hopefully, the entire State Program Directory will be on line soon. There is an events page that contains conference links. So the ICOVA and National Conference are linked on that page.

XII. Other

Dave Lawrence informed the group that he attended a National Conference that was held June 18, 19 and 20 in Seattle. He highly recommended two booklets that were featured at the conference: "Volunteering in America -- Trends and Rankings" and "The Art of Effective Public and Non-Profit Partnerships." Dave called attention to three things in the Rankings booklet which showed Illinois is doing well.

Dave congratulated Howard Lathan for being appointment as Vice Chair.

Scott Kimmel, Dave Lawrence, and Deborah McCarrel were asked to set-up a panel meeting in November.

Deborah McCarrel introduced Scott McFarland who is the new Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI).

XIII. Adjourn

With no further business being offered, the meeting adjourned at 12:03 p.m.