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Minutes - December 4, 2008

Location, Date, & Time

Illinois Department of Human Services
Chicago, Illinois
Video conference and conference call
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
December 4, 2008

Commissioners Present

Don Baden, Dan Bassill, Julian Brown, Jocelyn Cheng, Cory Foster, John Hosteny, Nancy Jameson, Rosemary Keefe, Susie Morrison, Howard Lathan, Dave Lawrence, Nancy Caudillo, Peter Kamps, Arlene Mulder, Kelly Reffett, Fred Rodriguez, Frank Bass, Steven Wolfe

Commission Staff Present

Kim Fornero, Bureau Chief; Lisa Hooker, AmeriCorps Program Officer; Ebone Lott, AmeriCorps Program Officer; Scott Niermann, Volunteer Programs Manager; Scott McFarland, Resources and Information Manager; Eden Lawson, Graduate Public Service Intern

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:08 a.m. by Chairman Lawrence. Lawrence conducted a roll call. There were 23 people present, including the Serve Illinois staff.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Bassill moved to approve the October 15, 2008 minutes. Commissioner Lathan seconded. The minutes were approved.

Commission Chair Update

Commissioner Lawrence reported that Commissioner Jeff Piper resigned from the Commission. Lawrence shared that he is stepping down as Chair. His last day will be December 31, 2008. Lathan will become the Chair beginning January 1, 2009. A vote was held and Commissioner Keefe was elected the Vice Chair. Lawrence will stay on the Commission until his position is filled. There were five commissioner recommendations sent to the Governor. Lawrence motioned for the endorsement of Scott Kimmel's commitment and job well done for the Commission, noting increased funding and staffing and a focus on fulfilling the Commission mission’s. All were in favor.

Committee Reports

  • Community Outreach – No report.
  • Public Relations and Marketing Committee – Fornero, McFarland, Niermann, Lawson, Keefe, and Brown will be getting together to discuss further marketing efforts for 2009.
  • Resource Development – No report.

Ad Hoc Committees

National Conference – No report.

AmeriCorps Report

2009-2012 RFP Process

Hooker provided the report. The RFP was posted in the middle of August for applicants. There were three bidders conferences held in Springfield, Mount Vernon, and Chicago. Applications were due by October 31, 2008. Thirty seven applications were received. All applications were reviewed and scored.


There are only a few more closeouts for the 2007-2008 program year. Site visits will be initiated in January.

LeaderCorps Update

Lott provided the report. Lott believes that this year the program directors nominated a good group of motivated Members for LeaderCorps membership. The next conference call is tomorrow, December 5, 2008. LeaderCorps Members have plans in the process for MLK Day and National AmeriCorps Week.


Currently, there are five AmeriCorps*VISTA Members, who are all working to build community capacity in their areas.

Volunteerism Report

McFarland provided the report. He provided a quarterly report of the website as promised. The handout shows the website hits. The statistics proved that there was a jump of traffic to the Serve Illinois website on National and Community Service Recognition Day 2008. The Serve Illinois Commission is paying $50,000 a year for the website and would like 50,000 hits to make each hit forth $1. The report is where McFarland expected it to be. The biggest hits were to the all categories section of the volunteer portal. Viewers would visit our site then go to volunteer match. Right now, the Serve Illinois website is right in line with New York, which went live a week after Illinois. The commission staff would like to see more marketing done to promote the website. Louisiana will be the next state to go live with their website. McFarland believes that press and news releases definitely helped traffic people to the website. Organizations can work with McFarland to get their database on the website.

Volunteer Management Network (VMN)

Niermann provided the report. The next VMN meeting is next Tuesday, December 9, 2008. The number of attendees has grown significantly since the last report, to over 300 agencies and organizations engaged at some level. The word is definitely getting out about VMN and new partners are added almost weekly. Partnerships are being re-established, new partnerships are being formed, and there is a growing interest all the time. A large portion of the people attending the meetings regularly discussed goals for 2009 for their region. In 2009, there will be a transition to local leadership with assistance from VISTA Members. Niermann wants to focus volunteer efforts on real community issues, lead by a regional leadership team, moving into 2009. Commissioner Bassill asked, "how do we translate the growth of VMN and the Serve Illinois web traffic to show how they align the goals, and demonstrate progress toward goals, of the State Service Plan." Bassill clarified that he means traffic to the website search portal and collaboration within VMN should lead to an increase in volunteerism and philanthropy that supports volunteerism. Bassill also asked, "How do we measure growth of volunteerism in different parts of the state? How do we measure growth in different service sectors, such as health, environment, education, civic engagement, etc.?" Niermann reported that he has been working on preliminary plans for a statewide survey to be coordinated with VISTA Members and completed by VMN partners in the coming months.

Calendar of Events

On January 27, 2009, there is an event to fund shelters and volunteers are needed.

Other Business

2009-12 RFP

Fornero and Hooker provided the report. There were 37 applicants, with four current competitive, fourteen formula, and fifteen new applicants. AmeriCorps members are not allowed to replace current staff or volunteers, and there are restrictions on typical member roles. The application contained several different components for the applicants to respond to. Reviewers were given criteria to review by and were asked to give feedback. Reviewer comments listed strengths, weaknesses, suggestions, and stated missing information from the applications. The higher the score, the higher the application standing. The purpose of this meeting is to determine which programs will be sent for AmeriCorps competitive grant funding. Those not chosen for competitive funding will be put back into the pool for formula funding. There is a maximum of ten programs to be sent for competitive funding. We will work with the programs that are sent for competitive funding to help them better their applications before the applications are sent for review by the Corporation.

McFarland requested that all Commissioners send a photo to the Commission staff for a spotlight on the website. Email photos to McFarland.

Public Participation


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the full Serve Illinois Commission will take place March 25, 2009. The meeting will take place through video conference and a conference call.

There was a motion to adjourn by Lawrence at 12:07 p.m.