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Minutes - June 17, 2010

Location, Date, & Time

Illinois Department of Human Services
823 E Monroe, Springfield, IL 62701
Metcalfe Federal Building, GSA Conference Center
77 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
June 17, 2010

Commissioners Present

Jane Angelis, Don Baden, Andrew Barbeau, Lawrence Benito, Julian Brown, Jocelyn Cheng, Judy Donath, Kathy Engelken, Alvin Goldfarb, Jill Heise, John Hosteny, Sara Montemayor, Nancy Jameson, Howard Lathan, Mike Mangan, Jose M. Munoz representing Terry Mason, Fred Nettles, Kelly Reffett, Genita Robinson, Fred Rodriguez, Giraldo Rosales, Cynthia Sims, John Sirek, Frank Bass representing Todd Stroger, Judy Swinson, Barb Tubekis, Albert D. Tyson, III, Gloria Verastegui, Steve Wolfe

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; Lois Barnhart, Disability Outreach Coordinator

Guests Present

Carla Ganiel, Corporation for National and Community Service

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:34 a.m. by Lathan. Introductions of persons were made.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Sirek motioned to approve the April 12, 2010 meeting minutes, and Benito seconded. Motion approved.

Commission Chair Update

Lathan provided the report. The National Conference ad hoc committee has done a great job as well as the other Commission sub-committees. He attended the AmeriCorps program event where Governor Quinn proclaimed May 8-15, 2010 as AmeriCorps Week in Illinois. It was a really nice event.



Gibbs provided the report. We have closed out the 08-09 programs, and we are currently working with the 09-10 closeouts. The competitive AmeriCorps programs are being examined at this time, and we are also currently working on fourteen ARRA Programs. We are in the process of conducting mid-year evaluations and site visits.

AmeriCorps VISTA

McFarland provided the report. We are currently operating with five VISTAs, located in Peoria, Cairo, Savannah and two in Chicago. East St Louis just had a new VISTA placed there. New VISTAs will also be placed in November.


McFarland provided the report. LeaderCorps just closed out for the year. The end of the year event took place in May at the Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. The last conference call took place in June. They are trying to build up the Alumni contact list to continue to involve members. The new LeaderCorps term will start up in August. LeaderCorps has one representative from each AmeriCorps program; they work on Alumni contacts, National Days of Service and make sure that their programs know what is going on with volunteerism and service statewide.


Gibbs provided the report. The report is in the packets. Looking at the Volunteering in America Report, you can see that Illinois has improved from 32nd to 31st in ranking from 2007 to the 2009. The report also indicates that in 2008, Illinois' volunteerism percentage was 24.8%; that rate has improved to 28%. Our overall rate indicates that more people are volunteering in Illinois than last year; however, we still want to work on improving the volunteerism sector and rate in Illinois. In 2003, Illinois had a volunteerism rate of almost 30.2%. There have been times when the state has been above where it is now, so it is our goal to continue to grow these rates. McFarland stated that we did see a state increase. It is part of the Census Bureau tracking and based on the economy. There are more unemployed citizens, which in turn may have created more volunteers. The national level with President Obama could also help with the big push to have more involvement and more funding coming in. If Commissioners would like more information on the demographics, age groups, or any other data that you would like to explore, please contact the Commission staff. The Independent Media Center in Champaign is doing an excellent job. It is very effective at bringing volunteerism out on a wide basis.

McFarland provided the report. The report is in the packets. We recently changed servers so the visits per month dropped drastically, but those numbers are not accurate. We had a meeting with Network for Good, and we are working on some new developments to revamp the website. We would like to highlight disaster response because it is very important at this time. For instance, the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana received a lot of attention from volunteers. Our web layout currently directs users to the Network for Good site, and we are hoping to change the main page to single out different aspects. If you would like to know how the counties are doing, that is in the report as well. We hope to connect with Hands on Connect, which will hopefully replace 1-800-Connect in the near future. We could reach more people by including the Hands on Contact on the website. McFarland will go back to Network for Good to look into those possibilities. If any organizations have a database already set up, they can work with the Commission to get their database included on the Serve Illinois website.

Disability Inclusion

McFarland provided the report. Lois Barnhart from Kreider Services is the Disability Outreach Coordinator for the Commission. She created an Inclusion Team to bring everyone to the table to discuss how all citizens can be included in service. I pilot team is set up in the Northwestern region with the hopes of expanding to every region. The Commission provided mini-grants to AmeriCorps programs for Disability Inclusion projects. The goal is to increase our inclusion. We started with no one stating that they had a disability, and now there are many who indicate they have a disability. We distributed an anonymous survey to AmeriCorps members asking them to disclose whether or not they have a disability. There were two training sessions conducted in Belleville and Joliet. The trainings included recruitment, retention, and others aspects to help the programs be involved with inclusion. A presentation discussing inclusion was also given at the ICOVA conference last week. Barnhart stated that ABC AmeriCorps has put in a request for a disability inclusion garden, for which they are very excited. They used their mini-grant to create the garden. Five agencies will be submitting a proposal for the second mini-grant round. The Inclusion Team that is currently established will work as a model to have teams in all regions. If you would like to establish a team, please contact Barnhart or McFarland. McFarland said Barnhart has done an excellent job since she has come on with the Commission, and Illinois has now become a model for inclusion. We hope to have good things come through in the upcoming months. Under the Serve America Act, disability funds can be used for Learn and Serve as well as Senior Corps grantees. Although Barnhart stated in October that she was slowly becoming involved with the Inclusion Team, now it is more accurate to say she does not have enough time to get everything done. There is an outpour of interest.

Other Business

Commission Committee Assignments

Lathan provided the report, which could be found in each person’s packet. The committee structures are listed on the report, and there are four committees: Executive Committee, Public Relation and Marketing, Community Outreach, and Resource Development. All Commissioners have had the opportunity to be included in the committee in which they were most interested. The Chairs of each committee are as follows: Public Relation and Marketing – Merri Dee, The Community Outreach Committee – Giraldo Rosales, and The Resource Development Committee – John Sirek. Two other Commissioners have been selected into the Executive Committee – Steve Wolfe and Nancy Jameson. A staff member will be included in each of these committees to act as a liaison. During the committee conference calls, Commissioners can bring up ideas, and staff can utilize the input from Commissioners at this time as well.

Volunteer Generation Fund

Gibbs provided the report. The Commission and committee submitted an application to Serve Illinois' Volunteer Network Partners. The application was put forward to expand on topics of interest in those regions of the state. There would potentially be one in each of the five regions. We had some feedback from our partners as far as what it would look like to be doing this work. Thirty-eight other Commissions applied for the grant as well. It was a very competitive application. The minimum amount to apply for was $75,000. We applied for a grant of $621,000. We will not know until mid August. Once we do know, we will alert the Commission. Our chances are very good. Our VMN has provided a real space for non-profits to help move volunteerism forward in Illinois. The match required was 20%, which would be funded by subgrantees.

Cities of Service

Gibbs provided the report. See the report in the packets. The City of Chicago was one of ten cities selected to be one of the Cities of Service Leadership grant awardees. Jenne Myers was hired as the Chicago's Chief Service Officer, and she is very interested working with the Commission. She came in June 1, and a report providing an outline as to what Chicago can do with the Cities of Service grant is required by June 30. Chicago will focus on after-school youth development and economic empowerment. A survey was distributed to Chicago residents to assess the needs of the city. After June 30, the city will be putting the plan together and moving forward. All 10 cities selected as Cities of Service Leadership grantees will come together to do a 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance with Mayor Bloomberg. Engelken and Hosteny were included on this Committee. There have been a lot of dynamic discussions on deepening the work and service that we do. Engelken said he thought it was a very rich discussion. The goal is to make a huge difference in order to make service phenomenal in Chicago. There is a real effort to move this motion beyond a government discussion. Niermann wanted to encourage Commissioners to become involved with Myers.

2010 National Conference Attendance

Gibbs provided the report. The National Conference will take place from June 27-30 in New York City. We have six or seven Commissioners attending, and we will be going over some of the workshops that they will be able to attend. The head of AmeriCorps will be participating in one of those forums at the conference. There will also be a networking session for Commissioners to meet with other Commissioners and see what they are doing in their specific state. This will allow Commissioners to discuss best practices and learn why some states have the higher rating service statuses than others. It will be a great networking opportunity for the Commissioners and Commission staff.

2011 National Conference

Gibbs provided the report. He said he expects the host of 2011's National Conference to be announced on the last day of this year's conference. At this time, he does not know who the host city will be. Hosteny said he has heard that New Orleans is in the lead. Prior to this year, Chicago and Indianapolis were in the lead for the conference location. Theoretically, someone from the host state that wins should know before that last day. Chicago did submit a packet that included a letters from Commissioners showing support, and we thank the Commissioners for making those efforts. The letters were a good indication of the support our state can produce. If we do not get it in 2011, then we will work to have it in 2012. A Commissioner asked if it is possible to obtain technical assistance on the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal that was sent for 2011. Hosteny said he will request that information.

Serve Illinois Commission Staff Changes

Gibbs provided the report. Attempts to establish direct state employee positions for Scott McFarland and Scott Niermann are currently taking place. At this point in time, both employees will be put on a contract directly with the state that will go through the end of December. We are shifting from one contract to another, and they will be staying here for the indicated six months. Hopefully they can be funded and state positions for them can be established by that time. Gibbs has spoken with the Governor's office and staff to work to ensure that they can stay with the Commission. Gibbs said once we can establish those positions, we will then focus on hiring another AmeriCorps Program Officer.

New Business

AmeriCorps Competitive Awardees

Gibbs provided the report. The report is in the packets. A total of 605 programs applied for this combined competition grant, and 302 programs received the award nationally. Nine programs in Illinois were awarded the grant. This year, we hired technical assistance to help each program apply for funds. Out of the 13 organizations that applied, nine were awarded funds. Two of the current AmeriCorps Formula grantees are new competitive grantees: Literacy Volunteers of America and PCC Community Wellness Center. One current AmeriCorps Formula grantee is a new Educational Award Only grantee: Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Five applicants were not selected by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and those applicants will continue to be funded by the AmeriCorps State Formula funding. Four continuation applicants were awarded. Those grantees are City Year, Public Allies, Inc., Rend Lake College, and Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

AmeriCorps Formula Allocation

Gibbs provided the report. We received an increase of about 30%. Two of our current formula grantees were awarded competitive funds. Eight programs declined additional member slots. Those programs that declined additional funding or member slots included Alternatives, Inc., American Red Cross – Chicago, Asian Human Services, Board of Trustees / Western Illinois University, Fulfilling Our Responsibility Unto Mankind (FORUM), Greater Food Depository, and Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center. One program, The Boys and Girls Club in Jacksonville, decided to stop being a program due to various reasons, including inability to meet match requirements. There have been a lot of staffing changes and they did not have the capacity to administer this grant anymore. Eleven grantees have stated that they would like additional funds – they could handle 75.5 new members. The grantees for this consideration are: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mississippi Valley, Children's Home Association of Illinois (Peoria), Coalition of Africa, Asian, European and Latino Immigrants, Illinois Public Health Association House, Luthern Social Services of Illinois, McHenry County Mental Health Board, Project YES, Sauk Valley Community College, Schuler Family Foundation, Springfield Urban League, and Western Suburban PADS. Motion to approve these recommendations from the Commission Staff for formula funding was made by Rosales, and seconded by Tubekis. Motion approved.

Additional Comments


Public Participation

Angelis reported that 2010 is the "Year of the Engaged Older Adult." Illinois was selected to be a partner of the Governor's initiative. She is arranging The First Summit on Aging and Education on September 20, 2010. The statistics show that about 7% of seniors are participating in service. Angelis has a Summer VISTA Associate that is going to create a directory to have an inventory of intergenerational programs in Illinois.

McFarland added that the next meeting is on October 20 and October 21 and will be included with National Service Recognition Day in Springfield.

Jameson added that there is a wonderful Missouri Commission ad that talks about AmeriCorps and Senior Corps on the WGEM television station. Jameson thinks that the Serve Illinois Commission should do something similar.

Nettles added that when he and Lathan were in Washington D.C. they saw some advertisements that he feels would serve as good examples for similar ads that could be implemented by the Illinois Commission.

Mangan stated that there are free Public Service Announcements (PSA's) made by the Corporation that can also be used.

Niermann declared that there are three regional conferences coming up in the next few months. The conferences will take place August 5 in Dixon, September 23 in Mt. Vernon, and October 28 in Macomb, IL.


Motion to adjourn was made by Rosales, and seconded by Lathan. The meeting was adjourned at 1:41 p.m.