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Minutes - December 17, 2009

Location, Date, & Time

Illinois Department of Human Services
1112 South Wabash Ave, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL &
535 West Jefferson, 3rd Floor, Springfield, IL
10:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
December 17, 2009

Commissioners Present

Jane Angelis, Don Baden, Lawrence Benito, Julian Brown, Merri Dee, Kathy Engelken, Jill Heise, John Hosteny, Nancy Jameson, Rosemary Keefe, Bob McCammon, Arlan McClain, Mike Mangan, Fred Nettles, Genita Robinson, Fred Rodriguez, Giraldo Rosales, Cynthia Sims, John Sirek, Judy Swinson, Barb Tubekis, Tim Capparelli representing Jody Weis

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; Lois Barnhart, Disability Outreach

Guests Present

Alex Byrd, LeaderCorps President; Rene Edde, LeaderCorps Secretary

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 p.m. by Brown. Introductions of persons were made.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Brown motioned to approve the October 14, 2009 meeting minutes, and Capparelli seconded. Motion approved.

Commission Chair Update: Brown

Chairman Howard Lathan was unable to be with us because he had an emergency which required him to be out of town.

  • Gibbs – A new Commissioner has been appointed by the Governor's Office – Jill Heise. Gibbs introduced Heise, and Heise spoke briefly about her work with volunteerism.



  • Program Presentation – Alex Byrd, the LeaderCorps President, provided the report on behalf of the Schular Foundation. See handout. The Schuler Foundation was founded in 2001 by Jack Schuler. Schular wanted to donate all of his earning to his community. His dream was that education is the tool to success. The Schular Foundation serves five high schools in Lake County and will increase in 2010-2011. What it means to be a Schuler student is that the Foundation looks at a lot of different qualifications and it is a very competitive process. The summer is when the program really begins with a leadership camp. There are reading and tutoring sessions each week. Students also have cohorts, which are workshops for many different categories. Schuler provides cultural opportunities such as plays or musicals, and on Spring Break the students are flown to visit out of state schools. Schuler provides programming over the summer to ensure that students are up-to-date, and the students are required to attend the college summer program. The students take classes, get the feel for college, and they are given an opportunity to study abroad as well. The scholars have no cost – room and board, applications fees, travel costs, etc. is all covered.
  • Program Monitoring Report – Lott and Hooker provided the report. Lott just finished her last monitoring visit yesterday. All programs are on track for their match; they have enrolled their members and are in compliance. Hooker's program monitoring is coming to a close as well. They are in the process of closing out the 08-09 programs. In the early part of next year, they will be sending out an invitation for all Commissioners to attend any AmeriCorps program site visits.
  • 2010-2013 Competitive Process – Gibbs provided the report. AmeriCorps programs will be competing for the 2010-2013 competitive process. There will be four continuations, nine newly competing, making thirteen programs applying altogether. We originally had fourteen programs applying, but one program opted out of the competition. One change is the Serve America Act – now the pool of money is combined. There is a competitive process for the formula dollars. We will be providing technical assistance to the programs to strengthen their applications so that they can be funded at the competitive level. These are the same program’s that were sent up last year as well. Kathy Lynn and Amy Thompson-Salinas will provide technical assistance to the programs. If the programs are not funded at the competitive level, then those programs will be considered for formula funding.

AmeriCorps VISTA

McFarland provided the report. The VISTA program is in its second year now. The goal was to work with DHS offices. One VISTA started in August in Chicago. Four other new VISTA's were recruited and attended the training in mid-November, and their term will last until November 20 of next year. There is a VISTA from Peoria, and she is working to create a volunteer center there. There is a VISTA in Savanna, Illinois, Alexander County in Cairo, and also a new member in the Battered Women Program in Chicago.


Lott, Byrd, and Edde provided the report. LeaderCorps started as an initiative to assist members with professional development and leadership skills. The Fall Conference in November was facilitated by R. Dale Evans, and he inspired the members to provide service and be leaders in their communities. Professional development practices were discussed. During the second day of the conference, officer elections were held. They talked about the importance and strengths of the members' individual programs. The LeaderCorps committees are Marketing, Alumni, and Days of Service. They are planning events for MLK Day. They will have an Alumni newsletter and determine what Alumni would like to see come from LeaderCorps. They will create a master calendar of events that will be uploaded on the Serve Illinois website so that everyone around the state can be aware of the service projects and become involved if they would like. They are also working on asset mapping, to see what assets are available throughout the state. The newsletter was created to highlight all of the LeaderCorps members and tell about the programs that they serve. They are also developing a blog and videos. They are in the process of creating a database of MLK Day projects to involve as many people as possible and to create awareness. The hope is for it to become an interactive experience so that even after MLK Day people can see what the Day of Service was all about. A video will be made to promote National Service to everyone and to get footage of members performing service. This is a very motivated group of LeaderCorps members. Facebook pages and LinkedIn programs are also being created. The Serve Illinois Staff is creating talking points and establishing a list of events that Commissioners could become involved in, associated with LeaderCorps. MLK Day is on January 18, 2009. At MLK Day events they are collecting non-perishable food items, laundry detergent, and dog food. The Governor is attending the Rainbow Push breakfast on MLK Day, where the Chicago Public Schools are recruiting to become involved in their events of reforming students. McFarland will work with LeaderCorps and all programs to compile a list of events going on so that Commissioners can be involved at one of the events.


  • Volunteer Management Landscape Survey – Niermann provided the report. The survey was posted on our website at the end of October and closed on December 3, 2009. There were 258 responses completed. There was an open space for additional comments. We hope to have a full report by February 14, 2010.
  • Volunteer Recognition Ad Hoc Committee – Wolfe provided the report. There are mass amounts of information that was collected from other states regarding Volunteer Recognition efforts. There are a couple of states that have done well including Texas, Kentucky and Delaware. In terms of problems, the documents that other state Commissions provided us are in PDF versions, so we can not change them to make them our own. We could use help on the committee to re-work those items. The two issues that we are facing are not being sure about funding and a time frame standpoint. They have looked at several different categories for Volunteer Recognition statewide and regional. We are working to present the awards around one of our April events. We have to look in terms of doing this as an Ad Hoc Committee or a full committee. Contact Niermann to become involved.
  • VMN Regional Leadership Teams – Niermann provided the report. See the report and the map included in the packets. The 2010 conference dates are as follows: May 13-14 – ICOVA (Northeast Region), June 10 – East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference, August 5 – new Northwest Illinois Volunteerism Conference (to be held in Dixon), September 23 – Southern Illinois Volunteerism Conference, October 28 – West Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference. The regular VMN meetings will begin in January 2010. January 20, 2010 will be a VMN meeting from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Also, this coming year, 2010, is the Year of the Engaged Older Adult where we will begin to understand what elders have done in the past and learn lessons from them. This is the first time that a sitting Governor has been to the "Governor's Conference on Aging" in 20 years. This shows Gov. Quinn's dedication to service and engaging older adults. Commissioner Angelis received a Governor's Award at the conference. We are calling the initiative "Generations Serving Generations."
  • Cities of Service – Hosteny provided the report. Cities of Service is an initiative originally supported by 17 mayors and has expanded to 48 cities and mayors. The idea is to copy what Mayor Bloomberg in New York, with NYC Civic Corps, has done. They will fund 10 cities for a Chief Service Officer to do what New York has done creating a City of Service. The initiative is about changing the culture in communities and addressing critical community needs. The plan is to create a blueprint for service. By MLK Day, Chicago may be named as one of the Cities of Service. If Chicago does get the opportunity, then they will work with other cities to help them become Cities of Service as well. We hope to expand this initiative in Illinois to communities of all sizes and engage mayors’ offices to promote volunteering and service.

Disability Inclusion

McFarland provided the report. The Commission receives a grant for Disability Services. Lois Barnhart is our Disability Coordinator at Kreider Services. Barnhart and McFarland went to New Mexico for a National Inclusion Training where they had two tracks of training. On McFarland's track, the goal of disability inclusion is to make inclusion the norm, not the exception. The Disability Inclusion Project is no longer just for AmeriCorps, but also now for National Service. National Service can now apply for reasonable accommodations for everyone. McFarland was talking to the Boston program at the training, and they are going to create an Inclusion training – save a few dates in April the 6th, 8th, 27th, or 29th. They are looking to have one day of training on one or two of those dates. They may couple the Inclusion training with the Program Director Training, and serve as a day long training. The goal of the training is to show that inclusion is a priority and how to get that done. The training will include recruiting and retention. They also want to form inclusion teams throughout the state and try to become included with the VMN partners throughout the state as well. Barnhart, the Disability Outreach Coordinator for Illinois, stated that the training was very inspiring and impressive. The main mission is to expand knowledge and awareness of inclusion. The goal is to get commitment from programs to reach out and be receptive. Krieder Services will be surveying all AmeriCorps members to get a baseline number of how many members are experiencing any form of disability. Barnhart will contact the Program Director's before the training to be able to tailor the training to their specific needs. McClain is very excited about the next steps. We are looking to make all the Serve Illinois programs accessible. We are going to try to see what other state's have done to get the word out. Barnhart is also working on a brochure to send out to programs and everyone.

McFarland provided the report. The website was launched in September of last year and had been going for a year and a half now. McFarland is going to improve and revamp the link section. Please send your information to McFarland. We are working with LeaderCorps to revamp their section. There will be a new webpage for MLK Day that will be linked from our site. Also send any events to McFarland to update the calendar on the website. Please get our link added to your homepage, which is basically as easy as copy and paste. This report is as of December 16, 2009. Between October and now, there were 5,000 more visits to the website. October was a big month for website hits because of National Service Recognition Day. Marketing is key to website hits. The biggest hit was October 2008 because of the launch of the website and the Opening Day event. The volunteer opportunity portal, which compiles over 17 local databases, allows everyone to search all in one location. There have been 62,000 opportunities listed since the website was launched. There were 15,000+ searches thus far, with 36,000 click throughs. California is in the lead for website traffic, while New York is our peer and a little bit ahead of us. What we are doing is working; we just need to expand that. We are looking to expand our marketing efforts and reach more people in this upcoming year.


Gibbs provided the report. See the handout. The budget – AmeriCorps was approved for (372,547 million. CNCS' approved budget for the entire agency was 1.149 billion.

State Service Plan

Gibbs provided the report. Our State Service Plan was approved by the Corporation, so we will be trying to implement that with the funds and resources that we have been talking about. The Ad Hoc Committee really worked to expand with the vision report that they created. We would like those items to be accomplished throughout the year. The Governor would like to become involved as well to really push service in Illinois. We will continue to push some of those ideas in Illinois.

New Business

2011 National Conference

Gibbs provided the report. We are trying to get the National Conference in Chicago in 2011. A RFP will go out for potential host cities that will be sent into the Corporation. The RFP will come out January 1, 2010. We will be consulting with Commissioners to present Chicago in the best light possible. New York City has already decided their host committee. We would like Commissioners to make suggestions on who could serve on our committee. Gibbs would like us to set up a time to go over the RFP in January. Commissioners who volunteered for the committee are Keefe, Tubekis, Heise, Nettles, Rosales, and Montemayor with those who volunteered at the previous meeting including Jameson, Rodriguez, McCammon, Engelken, Barbeau, Benito, and Sirek. We all need to be mindful of reaching out to organizations and supporters for this. The meeting will be a two-hour conference call on January 14, 2010, and the location is Chicago at 2:00 p.m. Gibbs will contact other individuals to be involved as well.

2010 Commissioner Training

Gibbs provided the report. We are seeking a professional trainer to train the Commissioners. The trainer would come from out of state and provide us with information on what other states are doing and what they are succeeding with as well. The training would take place either in Springfield or Chicago on February 19, 2010. Motion to approve by Rosales, seconded by McCammon. Motion approved.

2010 Meeting Schedule

Gibbs provided the report. The four quarterly meetings will be April 12 in Springfield, June 17, October 20 in Springfield, and December 16 in Chicago. All of these meetings will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Motion to approve made by Capparelli, and seconded by Brown. Motion approved.

Other Business

McCammon wants to commend the Commission Staff for their efforts and hard work. In the light that we might see the additional funding in October, could we appropriate requests for additional staff for the Commission? Gibbs responded that there are dollars that require match, and we will have to explore it and see what we can do.

McFarland wanted to thank all the Commissioners who attended the National Service Recognition Day in October.

Gibbs reported that the National Conference is June 28-30, 2010 in New York City. We are looking into how many Commissioners we can send to the National Conference. Any Commissioners interested in attending the conference should contact Gibbs.

Public Participation



Motion to adjourn was made by McClain, and seconded by McCammon. The meeting was adjourned at 1:24 p.m.