Skip to main content

Minutes - January 18, 2007

Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service
Chicago: 401 S. Clinton, 7th Floor
Springfield: 401 W. Lawrence Avenue, 3rd Floor
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
January 18, 2007

Commissioners present: Daniel F. Bassill, Tim Capparelli, Jocelyn S. Dionisio, Ted Gibbs, John Hosteny, Howard Lathan, Dave Lawrence, Dorothy M. Miaso, Phillip Moore, Arlene J. Mulder, Fred Rodriguez

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

Guests present: James Borishade, Jumpstart for Young Children of Illinois; Jessica Lent, LeaderCorps/ AmeriCorps; Lauren Nichols, LeaderCorps/AmeriCorps

1. Call to Order

Chairman, Dave Lawrence, called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

2. Introductions

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

3. Approval of September 21, 2006 Meeting Minutes – Dave Lawrence

The September 21, 2006 minutes were approved with the following corrections:

  • Dan Bassill's last name was spelled with an e instead of i.
  • Ted Gibbs' first name spelled with two d's instead of one.

4. Volunteerism

Scott Niermann reported on the Illinois LeaderCorps fall conference that was held November 17-18, 2006. The ICOVA conference will be held May 10-11 at the Oak Brook Marriott. There will be a variety of workshop tracks that include intergenerational volunteerism, special needs populations in volunteering, as well as courses on disaster management and service learning. Commissioner's Dan Bassill and Ted Gibbs are presenting.

Southern Illinois Volunteer conference is usually in the fall of each year. That committee is now meeting regularly and Niermann is co-chair. Scott presented the results from the October conference.

Dan Bassill reported that the next tutor/mentor conference will be held the week after the ICOVA conference on May 17-18, in Chicago. Also reported that they have been working with the Chicago Bar Association to raise funds to support tutor/mentoring. January is National Mentoring Month, and Bassill encouraged commissioners to look at the mentoring web site to see what's going on and get involved. One of the things that has been done is a slideshow on Access TV Channel 21. If you are involved in a program, here is a place you can update information about your program. We are hoping other people can look at this and do something like this in their area.

Jocelyn Cheng reported that the VCI conference will be held in conjunction with the ICOVA conference. VCI will be presenting again this year on the basic Illinois Volunteer series.

Deborah McCarrel reported that Scott Kimmel, Dave Lawrence, and she presented at the MVDOVIA (Mississippi Valley Directors of Volunteers Agencies) conference in November. It was a successful conference with an opportunity for collaboration between Illinois and Iowa volunteer programs.

5. Senior Corps and VISTA

John Hosteny reported on three things: 1) the SeniorCorps conference March 7, 8, and 9 in Champaign at the Hawthorne Suites; 2) a meeting with Kathy Habelton to talk about how to get the colleges and universities more involved; 3) meetings with congressional offices that had occurred to educate congressional leaders on national service. The last conversation was with Representative Jesse Jackson's office.

6. Disability Outreach

Brenda Letcher reported on a 2007 report on Disabilities Outreach Activities referenced in the Commissioners packets. There is a grant writing training January 23rd in Bloomington. You are all invited to AmeriCorps 101 in the morning then a grant writing session in the afternoon.

Arlene reported on the Commission for Citizens with Disabilities in Arlington Heights. About 60% of the members actually have disabilities. Arlene talked about some of their accomplishments and the many services they provide. We empower the people with disabilities.

We have a handicap accessible community. Recently started a scholarship for people with disabilities. We have won so many awards. We have a video we made with one of our members who is blind and he has a guide dog. So, we have a video about the guide dog. These volunteers are trying to educate people to do the right thing.

7. Disaster Preparedness

Brenda Letcher reported that this topic was introduced at the program directors training in August. From that training came the idea of doing a damage assessors training. A survey was sent out to program directors about the need for this training and 27 surveys had been returned. It is what IEMA really needs right now because they are always lacking in having someone to go out and assess the damage and this will be a great way to involve AmeriCorps members. The Commission received a $20,000 grant for Disaster Preparedness and Response to cover the period July 1, 2006 through December 31, 2007. Commission staff thought this would be one good avenue for using those resources for something that will have practical applications in the future. We are going to use LeaderCorps to communicate that message and generate some interest in attending.

8. AmeriCorps

Opening Day – Slide Show

Scott K. reported that there were about 700 in attendance in Bloomington at Interstate Center. This is the largest Opening Day event the Commission has had. AmeriCorps Director, Kristin McSwain, spoke to the members. Kim Fornero also spoke. The keynote speaker was Patrick George. Ms. McSwain spent time communicating with folks one on one. She came in the night before and stayed all day. Media was there. Tom Green was very helpful and supportive. He's working with us to try to bring some publicity to these events. Kristin did the swearing in ceremony as well. Commissioners present were Fred Rodriguez, Howard Lathan, and Dave Lawrence. Cynthia Armster also had a representative there. Dave encouraged more to attend in the future.

2003-2006 Program Close Out

Michael Gaines reported that the majority of the programs are done. We expect to have everything completed by March 1.

Special Needs Populations

Deborah McCarrel reported that Scott Kimmel talked about this subject when discussing the Disability Outreach Grant. It is an ongoing effort so it will be continued in 2008. A Special Needs Population memo is in your packet.

Administrative Standards Review

Deborah McCarrel reported on the final draft. This is an ongoing process that will need to be completed by the end of February. We are currently working on manuals and internal written procedures. There were six critical elements not met regarding fiscal issues due to lack of written processes.


Scott Niermann introduced LeaderCorps members Lauren Nichols and Jessica Lent to talk to the Commission regarding National & Global Youth Service Day: April 20-22, 2006. Lauren shared a quick overview of the November LeaderCorps conference. She shared that LeaderCorps is planning a service learning satellite teleconference in February. In March the coordinating committee is planning a one-day in-person meeting to tie up loose ends for National & Global Youth Service Day.

Jessica presented plans for National & Global Youth Service Day in Illinois, the largest youth service day in the world. She described the roles of the three LeaderCorps committees: Public Relations, Volunteer, Final Report. One of the goals is to have 750 youth involved and we anticipate easily meeting that goal. Additional goals included AmeriCorps program collaboration, mobilize the youth for future service, and to educate the media and policy makers about youth service. All of the commissioners were encouraged to get involved in projects in their regions.

CNCS 2005 Audit

Deborah McCarrel reported that we are working with the Corporation to resolve some of the audit issues and negate some of the audit findings.

06-07 Program Updates

Michael Gaines extended an invitation to all Commissioners to attend site visits. The AmeriCorps member site visit schedule is in your packets. Write your name then check off the site you want to visit. If it doesn't fit your schedule, contact Michael or Lisa so they can schedule an additional visit. The programs love to see you come.

9. ICVCS Database

Scott Kimmel reported that Scott McFarland and Brenda Letcher have been working on the database, trying to get a more universal look. Brenda and Scott Niermann are working on a one-page form to send out to the people. This will be an ongoing process, constantly adding more people, finding out who is in there so we can do some direct marketing and using it as a start for communicating with people interested in what we are doing. We want to get all the national programs, all the state commissions, and all the Americorps members. This database should do nothing but grow over the years.

10. Dome Day

Scott K. reported that City Year is planning a Dome Day at the state capitol on March 22nd. Their plan is to bus their members down to Springfield. They have reserved a room at the Howlett Building, next to the capitol. They plan to take about 80 members and go try to do some sort of service day in Springfield and they want the Commission to assist in determining what that service is. Twenty or so members will stay at the capitol and conduct round tables with legislators. There will be no lobbying; it's all educational. They talked about doing Dome Day in conjunction with National & Global Youth Service Day. LeaderCorps is planning to be in Springfield the day before. I will send out written information. John Hosteny reported that he had also met with City Year. He is trying to influence the state legislators. He kept talking about AmeriCorps. I said I am not interested if you are only talking AmeriCorps. If you involve non-corporation programs, okay. Scott K stated that he believed it will be viewed as a City Year event even if we involve all the other AmeriCorp programs. Kimmel asked the Commissioners: "How far do we want to go in support of this?" Dan Bassill stated that he believes the role during the event is to share information. So, he suggested including it in the Commission's communications, but didn't think it was appropriate to take a direct role. Howard Lathan asked what kind of support City Year had requested. Kimmel responded that City Year was only asking for support and for the Commission to be represented at the event. Dorothy Miaso added that if the Commission was planning to invite other members, there needs to be some clear direction as to what they want others to do. Kim Fornero added that the Commission needs to make sure of what our role is that day. We can make sure our program brochures are there but we need to be careful about having face to face interaction with legislators. Dan Bassill said that we are discussing three different roles – information broker, advocate, communicator.

Dave Lawrence asked that the minutes show that Scott Kimmel led a discussion on the appropriate role of staff in this matter and Kimmel concluded that the Commission will be supportive, collaborative, and will participate but that the event will remain a City Year one this year and that the Commission can reassess its role should there be a similar event next year.

11. Media


Scott Niermann reported that the January edition of the new newsletter is in your packet. This is a collaborative effort. In the future, we hope LeaderCorps members will be contributing to the column on Page 4. There will be a Program Feature and a Training and Professional Development page on the back cover of each edition. ICOVA information and volunteer management training series is in there. Last page is training events and Upcoming Days of Service.

Web Site

Scott Niermann reported we continue to send updates to the state.

12. Action Items

2007-10 CNCS Competitive Applications

Scott Kimmel reported that Illinois put out an RFP in December 2005 and we had just over 30 programs respond. From that we submitted 20 applications for AmeriCorps*Competitive funding and four received funding. Those not funded Competitively were ranked and the Commissioners decided which programs to fund with Formula monies during the 2006-09 grant cycle. In November, in Bloomington, we brought in a grant writing person and we invited all our programs who responded to the original RFP in December. We included programs that were funded with formula dollars and those not funded. All those were invited to apply for the competitive application in 2008. We ask the Commission to approve these programs to be considered for competitive funding. It is going to be very competitive this year. Even if they don't get funded, they have benefited from working with our grant writing specialist.

Fred Rodriguez motioned; Dan Bassill seconded; all in favor for the submission of competitive applications for 2008 funding consideration.

2006-2009 Continuation Applications

Fred Rodriguez motioned; Tim Capparelli seconded; all in favor of the competitive continuation applications being submitted.

13. Adjourn

The dates for the 2007 quarterly Commission meetings are April 19, July 19 and November 15.

With no further business being offered, the meeting adjourned at 11:55 a.m.