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Minutes - October 14, 2009

Location, Date, and Time

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Hotel
And Conference Call
1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
October 14, 2009

Commissioners Present

Jane Angelis, Don Baden, Andrew Barbeau, Lawrence Benito, Julian Brown, Merri Dee, Judy Donath, Kathy Engelken, Alvin Goldfarb, Nancy Jameson, Peter Kamps representing Mary Ellen Caron, Mark Williams representing Chris Koch, Howard Lathan, Bob McCammon, Fred Nettles, Kelly Reffett, Genita Robinson, Fred Rodriguez, Giraldo Rosales, Cynthia Sims, John Sirek, Judy Swinson, Barb Tubekis, Gloria Verastegui, Debra Watkins representing James Tyree, Steve Wolfe

Commission Staff Present

Ted Gibbs, Executive Director; 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

Guests Present

Gina Jacaway, Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA)

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 p.m. by Lathan. Introductions of persons were made.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

McCammon motioned to approve the June 11, 2009 meeting minutes, and Rosales seconded. Motion was approved.

Commission Chair Update

National Conference

Lathan provided the report. The National Conference took place from June 22-24, 2009 in San Francisco. McCammon, Jameson, Lathan, Wolfe, Baden, Gibbs, Fornero, and Hooker attended the conference. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act was the theme that was being promoted. Michelle Obama provided a keynote, as well as a number of Californian officials. The conference really pushed participants to begin to become engaged in the various sessions and programs, how Commissioners can be more effective in their states, and best practices were discussed. Lathan thought that the days were worth while, and he will share the resources that he obtained with fellow Commissioners. Wolfe was impressed with such a star-studded affair. One of his primary reasons for attending was to obtain more information on Volunteer Management. He thought that the conference was very useful to network with other programs rather than re-inventing the wheel and to see what is going on in other states. McCammon was amazed with the turnout of 4,500 participants in San Francisco. He went looking at how the conference was organized, transported people, as well as the content of the workshops. He thinks that the conference was very well organized. There were 150 sessions, as well as a business track to see what the interest in serving was from the businesses. He was also impressed with the speakers.

Gibbs mentioned the possibility of holding the National Conference in Chicago in 2011. We would like to put together an Ad-Hoc committee to discuss our plans for Chicago in 2011, including what that would entail, how Chicago would be the best place to host that conference, etc. The Commissioners who volunteered to be a part of that committee included Jameson, Rodriguez, McCammon, Engelken, Barbeau, Dee, Benito, and Sirek.

Additional Updates

At the CNCS Commissioner Institute in Washington D.C., Lathan learned the role of Commissioners, how we market ourselves, how to have the right partners connected, and whether we are putting our dollars where the need is. Gibbs attended the event as well. It was a day and a half of training in service and very in-depth. There were key national trainers that did the training, as well as key Washington D.C. trainers. We learned how to connect with all levels of stakeholders. Hopefully we will be instituting these practices that we learned soon.

White Paper

The Governors Office has it under consideration. Barbeau described the "white paper" that was developed by the Executive Committee a few months ago. He also mentioned that a special Governor appointed advisory group, separate from the Commission, from around Illinois develop a new Strategic Plan to really push the idea of volunteerism and community service. We will send that out to the new Commissioners so that everyone can have a copy.

Commissioner Terms Expired

Lathan stated that Commissioners Dave Lawrence, Dan Bassill, and Arlene Mulder's term had expired. Lawrence left a great legacy and vision for how to strengthen the Commission. Bassill was also a very thought provoking individual and in-depth with technology to make an impact in communities. Mulder offered a great contribution to the Commission during her time as well.



  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Programs
  • 08-09 Grantees
  • 09-10 Grantees
  • Programs Monitoring Visits

    The handout provided lists of the 2009-2010 ARRA Programs, as well as the current AmeriCorps programs. The Commission is getting ready to close out last year’s program cycle. Lott and Hooker will have a schedule for closeout visits decided next week, and everyone is welcome to attend any of the closeout sessions. Closeouts will take place through December. Attending these sessions would help the Commissioners to understand the work of the AmeriCorps programs.

  • Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) Program Presentation

    The presentation was given by Gina Jacaway from IPHA, located in Springfield. IPHA was established in 1940 and is devoted exclusively to public health. They are an affiliation of the American Public Health Association. They are helping to develop other public health associations and push AmeriCorps programs currently to the Great Lake Coalition that has been formed. Members are serving throughout the state of Illinois. Members are doing a variety of tasks such as reaching out to new mothers, infants, baby boomers and underserved families, by connecting them to care within their own communities. HIV and STD education, emergency preparedness, bio-terrorism and H1N1 response is being coordinated for the state of Illinois with the help of IPHA AmeriCorps members. IPHA AmeriCorps' latest host site partner is AARP. IPHA is composed of an executive council, cosponsors state public health conferences while IPHA affiliate members have benefits such as vaccination discounts. They are now on their seventh-year and third grant cycle with the Commission. AmeriCorps members have very much affected her personally and made her realize how important public health volunteers are for the betterment of our society. IPHA had 70 members serve in year's four to six. There is never a lack of host site requests. The retention rate for year's four to six is 90 percent. The members have completed over 91 thousand hours of community service and recruited over 2,400 non-Americorps volunteers. The new OnCorps reporting system will provide more accurate numbers for their AmeriCorps Program.

AmeriCorps VISTA

Full-time VISTA Recruitment – McFarland provided the report. There are currently five VISTAs. Four VISTAs will be ending their term on November 20, 2009. The fifth VISTA started in August of this year at the DHS office in Chicago. We are looking to recruit five new VISTAs for the following sites: Peoria Volunteer Center, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network, Team Illinois – City of Savanna, Team Illinois – Alexander County, and Kreider Services (Dixon). The newly recruited five VISTAs will start their term of service on November 21, 2010.


Lott provided the report. Next month will be the first planning meeting for the new program year. There are 30 AmeriCorps state program participants and 5 VISTA's. The purpose of the meeting is to get to know each other, choose officers, convene committees, and obtain new skills. The Leader Corps members will meet tomorrow at National Service Recognition Day. Lott's goal is to have the LeaderCorps member create an accomplishments list. They will have a record of everything that they have accomplished that will be presented to them in a portfolio format at the end of their service term. The first conference call is scheduled for October 30, 2009. They will exchange email addresses at that time and decide how often to conduct conference calls. The members will also start planning for National Service Days.


  • VMN Regional Leadership Teams – Niermann provided the report. A concept paper for the creation of Regional Leadership Teams (RLT) for the Serve Illinois Volunteer Management Network was presented. Teams are to be organized in each of the five (5) VMN regions in preparation for 2010 regional meetings, and as a way to continue to give local/regional control back to the partners, so that they can identify volunteer capacity needs and solutions in their region. Lathan asked – do you see this as a role for an outreach committee? Niermann responded – yes. Wolfe motioned for this to become a role for an outreach committee, and Barbeau seconded. Motion approved. Dee abstained.

  • Volunteer Management Landscape Survey – Niermann reported that the Volunteer Management Landscape Survey will be distributed and posted online in November, with results coming in December (preliminary) or the first of the year (full report). Kamps asked to get a copy of the Landscape Survey. Niermann said he would provide Kamps and all Commissioners with the link to the survey. The survey has been through a couple rounds of testing and changes were made based on recommendations from the beta test group.

  • Volunteer Recognition Ad-hoc Report – Wolfe provided the report. Wolfe stated that Niermann got the ball rolling by considering different categories (e.g. age groups). Wolfe stated he does not feel like we should reinvent the wheel rather than look at other models that have been established by other Commissions. See the handout for the criteria that the committee selected for recognition. McCammon asked – is there a budget? Niermann replied – yes, a proposed budget is on page four. Barbeau thinks that this is great and that it will also help provide Serve Illinois with better recognition across the state. Barbeau asked – is this an application process or nomination process? Wolfe replied that it is a nomination process, which is the next step for the committee to plan. Barbeau stated that in terms of award categories, would it be worth while to have an "innovation" category? Wolfe replied that was one of the categories in other states, and he thinks it is a good idea. Barbeau motioned to accept the Volunteer Recognition Awards concept paper as drafted by the ad-hoc committee, and McCammon seconded. Motion approved.

  • Conferences and Outreach – See the handouts and list of meetings that have taken place since the inception of the VMN. The next conference is the West Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference on October 29, 2009 in Macomb. Northwest Illinois has formed a committee to start a new conference there in 2010. People are contacting us and we have solid contacts throughout the state. Recent outreach has included service clubs' statewide networks, United Way of Illinois, among others. This year there has also been increased discussion about National Service in general and also on engaging older adults. Staff are always adding to the contact database and the VMN effort is getting the word out about what is happening in each region and at the statewide level. Regular VMN Meetings will resume in January once leadership teams are formed and survey results are tabulated. A goal for 2010 is to continue and sustain this initiative. Contact Niermann with any questions.

McFarland provided the report. See the printed report. Since the launch of the website, 23,000+ people have visited the site. October was the second biggest month because of the 2008 Opening Day. We are hoping that the same spike will happen tomorrow with National Service Recognition Day. Press releases are the key to the spikes in viewers. In terms of the volunteer opportunity portal: most people search by all categories. There are currently over 14,000 click throughs on the website, almost 15,000 click throughs. California is far above all states as far as click throughs. Illinois was second on the list as far as click throughs, but now New York has pulled ahead.

New Business

Commissioner Walter Grady

Gibbs provided the report. Grady was appointed two years ago, but unfortunately he has not been responsive to participating in meetings. We will contact him and if we can not get through to him then the Commission will vote about his inclusion on the Commission at the next meeting. Approval to go forward with this was motioned by Rosales, and seconded by Sims. Motion approved.


2010 Competitive Process

Fornero provided the report. See the handout. Commissioners who are affiliated with an AmeriCorps program were asked to leave at this time. The Corporation has varying types of AmeriCorps grant programs. The Commission is responsible for AmeriCorps Competitive and AmeriCorps Formula. The decision making happens within the Serve Illinois Commission. We can pick a pool of applicants to fund. The Corporation has the ultimate decision. Another competition is coming up in January 2010. The Department/Commission monitors, awards the dollars, and manages the grants. In January 2009, the Commission sent 15 applicants’ proposals (including four continuation proposals) up for AmeriCorps Competitive funding. Of the 15 applicants that were submitted, eight applicants were not selected by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The eight applicants not chosen by the Corporation for competitive funding were considered for the AmeriCorps State Formula funding. Of the eight applicants, seven were funded with Formula funds. Last time, scores and member slots were considered, as well as many other factors. With the upcoming competition held this January, we are suggesting 14 applicants' proposals to send forward. McCammon asked – why are we not opening up the application process again through a new RFP process? Fornero responded that the RFP process is very extensive, and at this time we do not have the staff capacity to manage that process. We already had a jump from 22 AmeriCorps programs to 30 AmeriCorps programs. We offered technical assistance in the past for programs after submissions. Jameson asked – are these 14 programs that we are suggesting qualified and have they proven their performance? Fornero responded that some of the programs are new as a July, so it is not the best indication of their performance thus far. All of the programs have been great thus far, met deadlines; even with the new systems that have been put into place. Lott and Hooker responded that the programs are very responsive and quick to make changes if needed. Jameson asked – when can programs apply for AmeriCorps funding again? Fornero replied in fall 2011. Motion to approve staff recommendations to send forth the suggested 14 AmeriCorps programs was made by McCammon, and seconded by Jameson. Motion approved.


  • 2010 Administration Grant – The State Service Plan needs to be submitted in the grant.
  • 2010 PDAT Grant
  • 2010 Disability Grant
  • The Department will be submitting these three grants.

State Service Plan

  • Listening Sessions update – Gibbs provided the report. 158 people attended the Listening Sessions and 91 people provided comments, suggestions, or emailed suggestions. The Listening Sessions were a significant first step towards the development of the State Service Plan. The plan includes a recommendation that Listening Tour Sessions should be annually conducted. The facilitation questions differ from the guidance provided after the sessions, there is not a one-on-one match, but it was important that we had something in place because of the deadline to submit the plan.

  • Review Report – Gibbs read through the State Service Plan Draft to the Commissioners. Jameson suggested that in the 55 and older section of the State Service Plan that Senior Corps needs to be listed. Niermann suggested that the plan should address background checks. Fornero suggested that we explore other states preferences over who they hire. Any suggestions or edits need to be sent to Gibbs before next week. Motion to move to the Executive Committee for final approval was made by Baden, and Rosales seconded. Motion approved.

  • Next steps – The State Service Plan will be approved by the Executive Committee and submitted to the Governor in November 2009.

National Service Recognition Day

Gibbs provided the report. Please see the schedule of events included in the packets. National Service Recognition Day is tomorrow, and the Commission staff would appreciate seeing all the Commissioners there. There are 966 people registered for the event. The Commission staff will be at the Convention Center at 8:00 a.m. to start setting up for the event, and Commissioners help would be appreciated in setting up. The service projects will start at 9:30 a.m.

Other Business


Public Participation


Next Scheduled Commission Meeting: December 17, 2009

The meeting locations will be in the Chicago and Springfield DHS offices, as well as by conference call.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:07 p.m. by motion of Sirek, and seconded by Barbeau. Motion approved.