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Minutes - October 20, 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.
October 20, 2010

Commissioners Present

Jane Angelis, Don Baden, Julian Brown, Jocelyn Cheng, Judy Donath, John Hosteny, Nancy Jameson, Howard Lathan, Mike Mangan, Fred Nettles, Fred Rodriguez, Giraldo Rosales, Frank Bass, Judy Swinson, Barb Tubekis, Arlan McClain, Steve Wolfe, Merri Dee, Bob McCammon, Peter Kamps, Matthew Tobias, Kathy Engelken, Giraldo Rosales, Jill Heise, Mark Williams, John Sirek, Al Goldfarb, Andrew Barbeau, Genita Robinson

Commission Staff Present

Ted Gibbs, Executive Director; Kim Fornero, Bureau Chief; Lisa Fernandes, AmeriCorps Program Officer; Scott McFarland, Resources and Information Manager; Emily Ward, Graduate Public Service Intern

Call to Order and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 1:02 p.m. by Lathan. Introductions were made.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Tubekis noted one small correction: a typo in section "e" of the document. Hosteny also said #7 on the form needs to be 27%, not 7%. Angelis clarified that 7% was correct; it was just for educational settings. Jameson motioned to accept the motion as corrected for the June 17, 2010 meeting minutes, and McCammon seconded. Motion approved.

Commission Chair Update

Commission White Paper Status Update

Lathan provided the report. Said McCammon did a great job (along with other Commissioners) on the document. Gibbs said we need to find strategic ways to engage all citizens in service. The Governor thought it would be best to work within the commission and bring in additional members if needed. The Governor believes commissioners are strong leaders and can bring these visions forward. Gibbs discussed the state service plan and said the Governor's Award (implemented last year) will continue this year. The Governor has participated in service events, such as "AmeriCorps Week," the service event in Chicago on MLK day, etc. Gibbs said the state service plan will be updated each year. He then discussed listening sessions—the minutes were in each person's packet. Brown asked if the Governor would be interested in receiving invitations to specific volunteer events, such as the one Brown's organization is hosting in May. Gibbs said the governor would be very interested in receiving these types of invitations; Governor Quinn has told Gibbs volunteerism is a priority and one way he can show this is by attending events. McCammon inquired about the June 11 draft topic in the packet and asked for the original document (along with governor comments) that was sent to the Governor. Gibbs obliged. Tubekis said activities that we endorse are perfect opportunities for commission involvement. Hosteny asked to which committee the "white paper" belonged. Lathan said it would fall under Public Relations and Dee agreed; saying it may also fit in Community Outreach.

Commission Annual RFP Cycles

Lathan opened the floor to Commissioners for suggestions on how organizations can receive funding. Brown said we need to recognize issues of sustainability—perhaps offer grants that are available for 3 years, and some that are available for 1 year. That way, funding will not necessarily be depleted each year. A 3-year period gives everyone enough time to experiment, fail, correct it, and do something right. McCammon said his program has to reapply each year. He thinks there should be an A list (receiving the funds) and a B list of alternates, in case the recipients do not fulfill their requirements. He asked what other states are doing, and when our current 3-year cycle is up. Lathan requested that staff do research on the topic of other states (McFarland said he and Ward could do this), and Gibbs said we are scheduled to have an RFP out in fall 2011. Gibbs said most commissions put out an RFP every one or two years. McCammon asked when the Commission should make a decision about 1, 2 or 3 year programs. Gibbs said we need to do that fairly soon; it takes about 6 months to get a new RFP through. Hosteny asked if we need to decide on a certain RFP (in terms of years). Gibbs clarified we are getting one RFP and then dividing it between programs. Barbeau asked if it was feasible to take RFPs on for one year, and then evaluate them for continued funding. Gibbs said it is possible. Hosteny said if positive performance continues year after year, the funds can be renewed on a yearly basis. Barbeau also asked about the possibility of 6 month or 1 year planning grants. Gibbs said Illinois was one of 2 states with a National Planning Grant last year, and 4 planning grants were awarded to Formula Programs. Next year they can expand into implementation grants. McCammon asked if we would make a decision about the duration of RFP grants at the December meeting. Gibbs and Lathan said an executive decision would be made prior to the December meeting if needed. Jameson sought clarification about the RFP: she said one year is not enough time to get anything done. McCammon explained that each year, additional programs can apply, and underperforming programs already receiving an RFP will be cut. Hosteny asked what would happen if there were no underperformers. He thinks the RFP should be one year with the option of being renewed each year (up to 6 years), then have to wait 3 years. McCammon declared that we might want to keep organizations past the 6 year period if they are fulfilling commission goals. Brown agreed with waiting 3 years to re-apply so other programs can have a chance. Rosales said we need to make sure new, emerging groups are able to access funds to grow their programs. Lathan said we will need to reach a decision at the December meeting.

Serve Illinois Commission Budgets

Gibbs discussed the budget and the three grants that help the Commission and their AmeriCorps programs. He first gave an overview of the budget and explained the different grants that are awarded to programs by the Commission. He also noted that it is important for programs to be competitive (for competitive grants) so the pot of money can expand. Gibbs then discussed support expenses such as travel, equipment, supplies, personnel costs, and other support costs. Gibbs also mentioned that a new AmeriCorps program officer position has been posted, and the Commission is looking into replacing Scott Niermann's position. McCammon made a motion to develop a Budget Analysis Committee. Rosales seconded the motion. Commission members discussed the pros and cons of such a committee. McCammon withdrew his previous motion on the condition that the Executive Committee would review budgets quarterly and report back to the commission. Wolfe seconded the motion and the motion was accepted.

CNCS Update

Hosteny spoke and said the President has submitted a budget to Congress. RSVP received flat funding at 63 million dollars—there was no increase. The board was supposed to approve the Strategic Plan at their last meeting, but there was so much public comment that they decided to slow down and postpone the approval until their December meeting. Brown inquired about having a program manager for each location. Gibbs identified priority areas in which they can speak about to legislators. Hosteny said 80% of grantees touch one of the focus areas. New area of concern is with Veterans. Jameson said it is a shame that RSVP is the largest program in the nation, but the Corporation did not ask for more money and their budget did not increase at all. Brown said disability inclusion can be incorporated in lots of organizations.

Commission Reports

Resource Development

Sirek talked about 4 topics which were discussed in a conference call and asked if creation of a non-profit arm for the Commission is a possibility. He said we can raise outside funds by creating a relationship with a 501c3 organization to act as a fiscal agency for us, or create our own 501c3 organization. Sirek approached Chicago Community Trust about being our partner, but he has not heard back. However, he has found a new contact person and will try to reach that person. Gibbs said creating a 501c3 (where Commissioners are part of a board) would need to be explored in a greater capacity in order to see what steps would need to be taken. Brown said he thinks it would be best to partner with the Chicago Community Trust if possible, because it could be difficult to create our own 501c3, and CCT has a brand name that, by association, could elevate our organization. He said we could then look into creating our own 501c3 after we are established. Angelis asked if CCT would even be willing to partner with us since they tend to prefer to keep their business in the Chicago area, and we are statewide. Sirek said any public organization could be our fiscal agency; he just suggested CCT because he knew someone there. McClain asked about matching funds if we work with a non-profit agency. Engelken said Campus Compact is a 501c3 and they have a similar mission as the commission. In Ohio, their commission works with Campus Compact. McCammon asked if there is a good non-profit in Springfield with which we can partner. He said we would be able to receive donations if we partner with a non-profit, and the non-profit would be eligible for a tax-deduction.

Sirek and Gibbs talked about Chicago as a City of Service. Gibbs said since Mayor Daley is not seeking re-election, it is unclear how Cities of Service will continue under new leadership. He also said we should consider a Cities of Service Summit for next year so we can talk about Chicago and the activities it is committed to accomplishing through volunteers. Gibbs thinks this could be beneficial. Angelis said she thinks a lot of local mayors could expand on their initiatives and become involved. She said there's a lot of stuff going on around the state in addition to Cities of Service. Hosteny said although it sounds appealing to find a 501c3, there are also cons.

Community Outreach

Rosales gave the report. He commended McFarland and Niermann for the Listening Sessions they organized around the state. Rosales said the Listening Session in Champaign was well-received and provided great feedback. Rosales discussed veteran affairs, disability programs, and faith based programs and said Commissioners should do outreach to connect organizations with resources. Rosales thanked Hosteny and Robinson for creating a Commissioner Community Outreach survey and McFarland for distributing the survey. Listening Sessions, Volunteer Management, Volunteer Outreach, Ad Hoc Committee were discussed. Swinson said only 12 Commissioners responded to the survey, and she asked about re-sending the survey so other Commissioners could respond. Hosteny said we shouldn’t bother because the survey was sent 3 times and they had ample opportunities to give their input. Tubekis asked what is next, now that we have responses from 12 Commissioners. Rosales said they will review the responses, eliminate redundancy, and they will begin to focus on the areas that are indicated as underserved.

Ad Hoc Governor's Volunteer Service Award Committee

Wolfe gave the report. He distributed a timeline showing dates associated with the upcoming Governor's Volunteer Service Award. Wolfe said Tubekis has been asked to join the committee since previous members have left / retired. The Committee is adding 15 National Service Awards this year, which increases the total amount of awards to 33. The award reception will take place April 6 at the Governor's Mansion. Dee was concerned with the large number of awards this year; she is afraid the ceremony will be too impersonal. Jameson agrees that the personal aspect of the ceremony needs to stay, but we should trim down each person's biography for the sake of time. She said Dee made each recipient feel like they mattered and they were important. Dee said she will put the date on her calendar. Wolfe asked for help reviewing the nominations this year. Last year, there were only 4 reviewers for over 130 nominations. Additionally, Wolfe mentioned improvements that were made to clarify the nomination form. McCammon suggested getting VMNs involved with reviewing the forms, but Wolfe explained that the VMNs may be nominees. Tubekis said she thinks VMNs are a great resource for reviewing, but upon further discussion every one agreed it would best to have a Commissioner-only review committee. Dee volunteered to help with the review process.

Staff Reports


Fernandes said there is a training taking place on November 29 and 30th. Project Star will discuss performance measures at this session.

AmeriCorps VISTA

McFarland said there are currently 5 VISTAS serving (ending in November) and 2 remaining plus one new VISTA beginning in November. He is working on a reapplication process and hopes to have three new VISTAs beginning in spring, to bring the total to six.


McFarland gave the report. Most recipients are already selected- there are currently 29 members. They will be meeting November 30 and December 1 to begin the planning process, and they will also be recognized at Recognition Day. Hosteny asked if Senior Corp and Learn and Serve could be considered for LeaderCorps. Gibbs said we can consider it, and asked if Commissioners thought including these groups would be helpful. Mangan and Jameson said they thought it would be beneficial.


McFarland gave the reports. This is the first year all 5 regions have had a conference. WCIVC is coming up next week. He would like as many Commissioners as possible to take part in these conferences. He will send out a reminder: the East Central Conference is accepting bids for their 2011 and 2012 conferences. Rodriguez spoke about ICOVA. He said there were not many Commissioners in attendance. The Commissioners who were there did not sit together at lunch; instead, they each sat at a different table to converse with those in attendance. Rodriguez said guests loved this. Next year, he would like to see more Commissioners in attendance if possible. Swinson suggested a registration break for Commissioners: it can be expensive to attend multiple conferences. She is most interested in representing the Commission, not attending sessions. Tubekis and Rodriguez agreed; McFarland said he will bring this up to the Commission. Jameson said having ICOVA in April is not wise because there are lots of volunteer events that month in which commissioners are involved. McFarland said each committee is in charge of deciding their conference date. Engelken said having the conference in River Forest is not a good option for those who are not from Chicago. Dee suggested that ICOVA combine with another conference since it is so expensive.

There are a few new sections on the website, such as a regularly-changing "Featured Volunteer" section. He is low on new volunteers to feature, so he encouraged new submissions. Agencies can submit volunteers they have recognized internally. McFarland talked about the Network for Good site for which we are currently bidding. He pointed out that Louisiana is catching up to us in number of visits per month, possibly because they are aggressively marketing their website, and due to the BP oil spill.

Disability Inclusion

McFarland recognized Barnhart's initiatives, such as the Regional Inclusion Teams. They hope to have inclusion teams in every region by 2012.

Old Business

2012 National Conference Bid

Gibbs said a site visit took place at the end of September. It was set up by the Chicago Board of Tourism. A welcoming ceremony was held Thursday evening and the visitors were also taken to McCormick place to get a feel for Chicago. Tubekis said she thought the visitors seemed very excited about the city, and they did not seem concerned about room or transportation issues. Engelken said the representatives seemed to like the Palmer House. She discussed her prior experience developing sessions and the dedication of the Commissioners with the representatives. She left with a good feeling. Hosteny said the letters written by the Commissioners did not have an impact because they all used the exact same wording with different letterhead. He suggested all Commissioners write an original letter before spring to help impact the decision. Brown asked why the other top cities are being kept a secret. Hosteny said it is to keep unfair influences from playing a role in the decision. Gibbs is optimistic about the conference being held in Chicago in 2012.

Volunteer Generation Fund Application

Gibbs gave the report. An application built upon the volunteer management network was discussed and a printed description of the application, as well as the response from the Corporation, was passed out to Commissioners. Gibbs said the Commission will take comments from the Corporation and incorporate them into their efforts for recruiting volunteers next year. He thinks it will be a great learning opportunity. McCammon said more consideration and expertise should be incorporated into Illinois programs’ grant writing. Hosteny said other states hire someone to write their grants; we are up against a lot of competition because many states have good grant writers. Jameson suggested grant writing training for a select group of people.

New Business

2012 AmeriCorps Competitive Cycle

Competitive Information was distributed and a motion was made by Rosales made a motion to approve the 17 proposed programs. McCammon seconded and the motion was approved.

2012 AmeriCorps Formula RFP

Gibbs gave the report. The Commission anticipates the release of an RFP in 2011 for Formula grants that will be distributed in 2012. More information will be made available at the next meeting. The Commission will need to decide how long the grants will be awarded for; 1, 2, or 3 years.


Lathan adjourned the meeting at 4:53 p.m.