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Minutes - April 12, 2010

Location, Date, & Time

Illinois Department of Human Services
Hay Edwards Building, 007 Training Room
400 West Lawrence Ave., Springfield, IL 62704
James R. Thompson Center, Murdock Room, 5th Floor
100 West Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
April 12, 2010

Commissioners Present

Alvin Goldfarb, Jocelyn Cheng, Fred Rodriquez, Andrew Barbaeu, Genita Robinson, Bob McCammon, Judy Swinson, Judy Donath, Steve Wolfe, Merri Dee, Jane Angelis, Howard Lathan, Don Baden, Julian Brown, Tim Capparelli representing Jody Weis, Jill Heise, Kathy Engelken, John Hosteny, Nancy Jameson, Cynthia Armster representing City Colleges, Fred Nettles, Giraldo Rosales, Frank Bass representing Todd Stroger, Mark Williams representing Chris Koch, Arlan McClain

Commission Staff Present

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

Guests Present


Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 1:15 p.m. by Lathan. Introductions of persons were made.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Lathan motioned to approve the December 17, 2009 meeting minutes, and Brown seconded. Motion approved.

Commission Chair Update

Lathan provided the report. The Governor's Volunteer Service Awards Ceremony was a very powerful and great event. The nominees were phenomenal. He was amazed with the team that was responsible for making that happen. Hosteny thought it was an amazing event and that the nominees were outstanding. Engelken was signing people in and the nominees were excited to be there. For this being the first time that the event was held, everything went great. Lathan believes that it increased our availability and captured a crowd that the Commission is not always present to. He commended the staff and committee for their excellent work, making the event a success. The nominees that were not selected will also receive a certificate. We would like to see the elected officials be present and take pictures with the award recipients as well as the Commissioners from their region. Dee thought the program went well, and congratulated those who were on the committee. She would like to donate a microphone and stand to the Governor's Mansion I think that was a joke, probably shouldn't put it in there. She was wondering if there is a second tier of those that were selected, that may be honored in the fall or at a later time. Is there any thought to that? Wolfe stated that the second piece of the awards will take place at National Service Recognition Day later this year. Dee did an excellent job presenting the awards. One suggestion was to honor the individuals at the volunteerism conference that takes place in each award recipient's area of the state.

Lathan went on to comment about the Commissioner Training that took place in February. He appreciated those that were able to make it. He feels that it was very helpful. Dee enjoyed the training and was happy to attend. She had felt like she was talking around in a fog so she thought it was quite helpful. Wolfe stated that he still received a great deal of value from the training even being a second year Commissioner.



  • Program Monitoring Report – Gibbs provided the report. The closeout has been performed for the 08-09 program year. We have 14 programs that are receiving ARRA funds or stimulus funds. These programs could go through December. We will work on closing out those programs. We will also work on the thirty 09-10 programs to plan for formula funds, and we will be putting together a calendar soon listing all site visits that will take place in the next few months. We are trying to determine good times to conduct those visits.
  • 2010-2013 Competitive Process – Gibbs provided the report. Thirteen programs were put up for the competitive bidding process. We will find out on May 15th which programs were picked up for the competitive process. Those programs that are not picked up for competitive will be brought back down to compete for formula dollars. All the indications from the Corporation are that this is one of the most competitive competitions that they have received. We are hoping that all 13 are funded, but we also want to work with the programs for formula funding as well. McCammon would like to see as many programs as possible to be funded.

AmeriCorps VISTA

McFarland provided the report. VISTAs have been working with the DHS VISTA program for about two years now, and they focus on capacity building. There are currently five serving – one in Savannah, one in Cairo, two in Chicago, and one in Peoria. The VISTA worker in Peoria is working on a developing a volunteer center. A few weeks ago we received a call about a sixth VISTA to be placed at Baden's site. We are looking at plans for the third program year and how we want to handle that. We will not have summer associate VISTAs this year.


McFarland provided the report. Since January, he has taken over LeaderCorps. LeaderCorps is a representative body of our AmeriCorps programs. Each program sends a representative to receive training and professional development, coordinate service projects for our National Days of Service, learn about "Life After AmeriCorps," and make plans for National AmeriCorps Week. There will be an end of the year event in May to discuss "Life After AmeriCorps."


  • Volunteer Recognition – Niermann provided the report. He thinks that we had a great start with the 2010 Governor's Volunteer Service Awards Ceremony. Some things will change next time, but it was a good way to get things going. Thanks to Fred Nettles for offering to help with everything.
  • VMN Regional Leadership Teams and Meetings – Niermann provided the report. There has been fifty percent participation from the people selected to run those leadership teams. We are trying to determine what the needs are in each region. In January, there was a state-wide meeting. These teams should continue to help us localize this initiative to leverage more local support for what we have been doing. We would like to encourage and attract a strong group of volunteers. There is a schedule in your packets of the regional leadership meetings. There is also a list of the public Volunteer Management Network meetings. They had approval to print the "Guide to Managing Successful Volunteer Programs," and there are many copies with us today if anyone would like to take a few. The guide provides templates, and it will be uploaded on the website soon. There are new certificates currently printed for volunteers. If you would like a copy of the certificate sent to you, then email Scott McFarland. There is also a version on the website that can be printed as well.

McFarland provided the report. The website report is in the packets. When looking at total visits, the spikes are from us having events that day. We have big spikes on National Service Recognition Day, MLK Day, and also when the Governor's Volunteer Service Award nominations were released. Since September 1, 2008, there are 66,000+ opportunities to volunteer. Click throughs are 50,889 since we launched the site. We are getting more people to the site, but it is no where near the numbers that we should be at right now.

Disability Inclusion

McFarland provided the report. There is a partnership with the Commission staff and Lois Barnhart from Kreider services. McFarland and Barnhart attended the November training in New Mexico, and they are working hard to create regional inclusion teams which include people from all types of backgrounds. The goal is to get together to involve their clients, and determine how AmeriCorps can help their clients as well. There are two trainings at the end of the month – in Belleville on the 27th and in Joliet on the 29th. They have made some very large steps forward. An anonymous survey was sent out to AmeriCorps members asking for members to disclose whether they have a disability. The results, so far, have shown that every program has at least one member in their program with a disability. We are moving to become a premiere state for disability inclusion in Illinois.

New Business

Commission Committee Assignments

Gibbs provided the report. The Executive Committee will be meeting soon to discuss the committee leaders, and there are also some spots available on the Executive Committee. In the packet is a list of the people who volunteered to be in a particular committee at the February training. Please let us know if you would like to be included in one of the committees. You can also serve on more than one committee. There is some overlap in the descriptions if you read through them. We would like to increase the committee participation. Gibbs would like to have a conference call soon with the leaders of these committees. Nettles asked if there could be an ad hoc committee within the Community Outreach Committee. The ad hoc committee would have to discuss that option. Anyone who would like to join these committees may do so.

Volunteer Generation Fund

Gibbs provided the report. The Volunteer Generation Fund is a federal funding opportunity made possible through the Serve America Act. The federal budget request for this fiscal year was 10 million dollars and only four million was approved. Only State Service Commissions can apply for it, to increase the amount of volunteers in their state. We feel it is an opportunity to try to secure federal funding to recruit managers, support volunteer programs, and connect individuals to volunteer activities. The applications are due by May 18th and a letter of intent is needed by April 30th to apply for these funds. We would like to work with our committees to find the best way to secure these funds. The Resource Development Committee will discuss their input on Friday, April 16th at 10 a.m. on the regular conference call line. Motion to approve the letter of intent was made by McCammon. Rosales seconded. Motion approved.

Social Innovation Fund

Gibbs provided the report. The Social Innovation Fund is a fund made possible with the Serve America Act, and it is funded at 50 million dollars. We debated about whether the Commission could apply for this or not. Ultimately, because of the match requirements, we were unable to apply for this grant. Every dollar that was requested would have to provide a contribution, of cash, of one million dollars. Also the match would have to be matched my local organizations. So after thoroughly looking into it, we were not able to apply for the grant.

Cities of Service

Gibbs provided the report. The Cities of Service is something that we have been working on. At the last official meeting, we discussed that Chicago received one of the 10 grants. The City of Chicago will be able to hire a Chief Service Officer to create a service plan to push the needle along in Chicago. They will receive $200,000 to hire the Chief Service Officer. They must hire the officer by the end of this month, April 30th. The first report is due by June 30th. Gibbs, Hosteny, and Engelken sat in on these calls. The city is going to post information about this position and once that is made public and posted, then it will be sent out to the Commissioners. The Chief Service Officer will be housed in the Mayor's office and will not go through the traditional hiring process. More information can be found at

AmeriCorps State Formula

Gibbs provided the report. For this fiscal year, of the 23 formula programs we have, each will be awarded a certain amount out of 4.1 million dollars. The funds for next year are 4.6 million dollars. We were able to secure additional formula dollars. Gibbs encourages you to fill out your census forms because that determines the amount of funds allocated. Of the 13 programs that are being sent for the competitive funds, there are four continuations and nine programs competing to be competitively funded. We will find out sometime near May 15th who is funded. We would like the Commission to decide the best way to use the formula funding. We do not have a particular recommendation at this point. It will be a very tight timeline after the selected competitive programs are announced. At the next commission meeting on June 17th, we will be stating who was selected for competitive funding. A motion was made by Barbeau to send this information to the Resource Development and Community Outreach Committees to discuss how to potentially use the funding. Nettles seconded. Motion approved.

2010 National Conference Attendance

Gibbs provided the report. In the past, we have made it available for Commissioners to receive a scholarship to attend the conference. Last year, four Commissioners were able to receive funds to attend. We would like to formally request that Commissioners send in their interest to attend. Please anyone else that is interested, send an email as soon as possible. We will award partial scholarships based on the number of requests received. The early registration closes May 1st. We would like to get the most bang for our buck, which will require knowing how many people will be attending, and ensure that everyone can receive the cheaper rate. We need to have a request sent to Gibbs through email, by Friday, to confirm who is interested in going. Commissioners would have to fund a portion of the expense to attend. already has the list of speakers for the conference. Some of the conference sessions are even live webinars, so look into those as well if you are interested and can not attend in person. McCammon thinks that it is important to give the most funding to those individuals that have not had the opportunity to attend the conference before.

2011 National Conference

Gibbs provided the report. We will not know until mid May whether Chicago was selected as the 2011 National Conference host. If we are selected, then we will need to determine who needs to be present to accept the nomination. The selection is supposed to be made by mid May at the latest. Gibbs would like to give credit to the Commissioners who were able to get a letter put together to send to local decision-makers.

Other Business

The schedule for Illinois Dome Day is in the packets. Illinois Dome Day is a Commission partnership with the Corporation and City Year Chicago. Programs and individuals that participate in service will be there tomorrow for a rally. This will be a time to educate the legislators on what is going on with volunteerism and service around the state and invite them out to site or event and show their support. Hosteny commented that the Serve Illinois staff as well as City Year did an outstanding job of promoting and organizing the day to include all streams of service.

Merri Dee will be the key note at ICOVA in May.

Jon Bon Jovi is coming to Chicago to perform two concerts where there will be individuals and staff of service organizations passing out information on service.

Public Participation



Motion to adjourn was made by Nettles, and seconded by Rosales. The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.