Skip to main content

Commission By-Laws

Amended February 27, 2020​


Article 1

Section A

The name of this organization is the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, and the operating name of the organization shall be Serve Illinois, hereinafter referred to as the Commission. ​

Article II
Mission and Purpose

Section A

The mission of the Commission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.

Section B

The purpose of the Illinois Commission is to promote and support volunteerism and community service in public and private programs to address the needs of Illinois residents; to stimulate new volunteerism and community service initiatives and partnerships; and to serve as a resource and advocate for community service agencies, volunteers, and programs that involve volunteers.

Section C

This bi partisan Commission acts as the State Commission required by the National and Community Service Trust Fund Act of 1993 and as required and as authorized by Illinois statute (20 ILCS 2330) and operates under the auspices of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Article III

Section A

The Governor shall appoint an Executive Director of the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. The Executive Director shall, with the concurrence of the Director of IDPH, employ such staff as is necessary to carry out the operations of the Commission. The Commission, working in cooperation with State agencies, individuals, local groups, elected and appointed government officials, educational institutions, and public and private nonprofit organizations throughout the State, shall undertake programs and initiatives to promote the concept of volunteerism and community service throughout Illinois. The Executive Director shall be responsible for administering the activities of the Commission.

Article IV

Section A - Voting Members
  1. Members shall be appointed by the Governor for a period of time as noted in Section D, Terms of Service.
  2. The Commission shall consist of up to 25 voting members and 15 nonvoting ex-officio members. At least 25% of the members shall be residents of the city of Chicago.
  3. Not more than 50% of the Commission appointed by the Governor may be from the same political party.
  4. Voting members shall include the following:
    1. Individual(s) with expertise in the educational, training and developmental needs of youth;
    2. Individual(s) with expertise in older adult volunteerism;
    3. Individual(s) with expertise in philanthropy;
    4. Representative(s) of Illinois community-based organizations;
    5. The State Superintendent of Education;
    6. Representative(s) of Illinois local governments;
    7. Representative(s) of Illinois labor organizations;
    8. Representative(s) of an Illinois national service program;
    9. A youth between 16 and 25 years old who is a participant or supervisor in a community service program;
    10. Representative(s) of Illinois business;
    11. Representative(s) of persons with disabilities.
Section B - Non-voting Members
  1. Non-voting members shall be appointed by the Governor as noted in Section D, Terms of Service.
  2. Non-voting members may serve on committees
  3. The federal Corporation for National and Community Service Representative shall serve as a non-voting member of the Commission.
Section C - Duties and Responsibilities

The following are the major duties and responsibilities of the Commission:

  1. Prepare and thereafter update a 3-year State service plan, developed through an open, public process and updated annually;
  2. Prepare and thereafter update a comprehensive and executable 3-year State service plan, developed through an open, public process and updated annually;
  3. Assist in the preparation of the application by the State Board of Education for assistance under the Serve America Act;
  4. Prepare the State's application under that Act for the approval of national service positions;
  5. Assist in the provision of health care and child care benefits under that Act;
  6. Develop a State recruitment, placement, and information dissemination system for participants in programs that receive assistance under the national service laws;
  7. Administer the State's grant ​program including selection, oversight, evaluation, and enforcement of grants and grant recipients;
  8. Make technical assistance available to enable applicants to plan and implement service programs and to apply for assistance under the national service laws;
  9. Develop projects, training methods, curriculum materials, and other activities related to service;
  10. Coordinate its functions with any division of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service outlined in the National and Community Service Trust Fund Act of 1993, as amended by the Serve America Act;
  11. For post disaster response, coordinate with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and local response agencies and organizations;
  12. Publicize Commission services and promote community involvement in the activities of the Commission;
  13. Promote increased visibility and support for volunteers of all ages, especially youth and senior citizens, and community service in meeting the needs of Illinois citizens; and
  14. Represent IDPH and the Governor’s Office on matters within the scope of the Commission on such occasions and in such manner as IDPH may provide.
Section D - Terms of Service
  1. Voting members will serve terms of three years each. Voting members of the Commission may not serve more than three full consecutive three-year terms, except for those specifically mandated by the enabling state legislation. The State Superintendent of Education shall continue to serve as long as they hold their office.
  2. In the case where appointments are made for terms of less than three years, those appointments shall not count toward the three, three-year maximum service limit.
  3. Non-voting members shall serve at the will of the governor with no limits on terms. The representative of the Corporation for National and Community Service shall continue to serve as long as they hold their office.
  4. Commissioners whose terms have expired may serve until the position is filled by appointment or re-appointment, regardless of term limits.
  5. A Commission member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Executive Director of the Commission or to the Chair of the Commission.
  6. Attendance at Commission meetings is a critical factor affecting the ability of the Commission to do its work. Therefore, commissioners who cannot attend a meeting in person or via two-way telephonic means shall instead appoint and send a proxy authorized to vote on the Commissioners’ behalf. Any such authorized proxy may attend in person or via two way telephonic means. A Commissioner that does not so attend and does not send an authorized proxy to attend on his/her behalf shall notify the Commission’s Chair or Executive Director in advance. Any failure to notify the Chair or Executive Director shall be considered an un-excused absence. Two un-excused absences to any four consecutive meetings shall constitute an automatic resignation.
Section E - Vacancy

A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same way that initial appointments are made by the Governor.

Section F - Conflicts of Interest

Commissioners must avoid both actual and the appearance of impropriety. Therefore, if a Commissioner has any actual or potential interest in or conflict of interest with any proposal submitted to or any program being reviewed by the Commission, then that Commissioner shall promptly disclose the nature and extent of the actual or potential conflict in writing to the Commission and shall refrain from engaging in any deliberations and shall not vote on such matters. Conflicts shall include, but not be limited to any personal, family, business, and/or financial interest in any matter coming before the Commission. For the purposes of this section, a Commissioner’s conflicts shall include all relatives of the Commissioner of the First degree (i.e. spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, child, or inlaw) that is or was employed by, consults with, or has any financial or other interest in any entity, business, matter or transaction coming before the commission. The minutes must so reflect any such disclosed conflict; and the Commissioner must physically and verbally withdraw from any and all Commission deliberations or informal advocacy at any time that matter is being discussed by the Commission.

Section G - Required Commissioner Trainings

All Commissioners shall timely and successfully complete: (i) the Illinois Open Meetings Act training and (ii) annual ethics and sexual harassment training as required by law. The failure to timely and successfully complete such training shall result in: (i) suspension of the individual Commissioner’s Commission activity and voting privileges; and (ii) shall be grounds for replacement.

Article V

Section A - Commission Meetings

There shall be at least four regular meetings of the Commission per year. Meeting times, dates and locations shall be determined by the Commission in consultation with the Executive Director and in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120). A minimum of two weeks' advance notice is required for scheduling regular meetings. At least one regular meeting each year shall be held outside the metropolitan Chicago area. Meetings shall be open to the public, unless there is a closed session, as permitted by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Section B - Quorum

A quorum is required to conduct business of the Commission. Quorum shall be established when one half of the total number of voting members are present (personally or by proxy) in person or by telephonic means. If a quorum is not present at a regularly scheduled or special meeting and an emergency requires action be taken, the action must be ratified at the next regular business meeting at which there is a quorum or by subsequent signed mail ballot. Members attending the meeting via telephone or other technology which allows them to both hear and participate in discussions shall be considered present for the purposes of quorum.

Section C - Proxies

A voting member may select one designee to serve when necessary in his/her place. A letter must be submitted to the Chair of the Commission from the Commissioner nominating the designee and indicating his/her credentials for service and relationship to the constituency the Commissioner represents. Designees shall enjoy the full privileges of Commission membership but may not be an officer of the Commission.

Section D - Open Meetings Act

All meetings, shall be open to the public as required by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Section E

Special meetings may be called between regularly scheduled meetings by the Chair, the Executive Director of the Commission or at the written request of five or more members. Notice of the meeting must be sent to all members of the Commission at least two weeks in advance of the meeting (5 ILCS 120).

Section E - Recording of Meetings

Commission meetings may be recorded by any person by tape, film, or other means, so long as such recordings do not interfere with the overall decorum and proceedings of the meetings. Placement of recording equipment shall not obstruct the public from seeing or hearing the proceedings. Recordings shall not violate the rights of Commission members and members of the public. The Chair shall order the immediate termination of any recording which is disruptive, or which distracts, disturbs the proceedings. 

Section F - Public Participation

The Chair may recognize non-member attendees who wish to comment during a specific agenda item or at the end of the meeting during the public comment section. The duration of public comments shall be limited to a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 5 minutes per person unless the Chair gives permission to exceed this time limit. The Chair may terminate non-members’ comment time if the speaker is disruptive, or which distracts or disturbs the proceedings. 

Section G - Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called between regularly scheduled meetings by the Chair, the Executive Director of the Commission, or at the written request of five or more members. Notice of the meeting must be sent to all members of the Commission at least two weeks in advance of the meeting and must follow all requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120). 

Section H - Chair Pro-Tem

In the absence of both the Chair and Vice Chair at either a regularly scheduled or special meeting, the Commissioners present shall elect a Chair Pro-Tem from the Executive Committee members present. In the absence of all Executive Committee members, a Chair Pro-Tem shall be elected from the members present, physically or electronically.

Article VI

Section A - Commission Officers

The Commission will have two officers: a Chair and a Vice Chair.

Section B - Officer Terms

Officers shall be elected by the Commission and serve for a term of two years. No person shall serve in the same office for more than three consecutive terms.

Section C - Officer Conflict of Interest

Officers of the Commission shall not be selected from members whose organizations are funded by or receive direct benefits from the Commission’s resources. This section is meant to eliminate any possibility of conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety.

Section D - Election of Officers

Nominations for each officer shall be taken from the floor during the first meeting of each calendar year when a term is expiring. Secret ballots may be requested. The Candidate with the majority of votes cast by those present and voting shall be declared the duly elected officer of the Commission. In the event no one receives a majority, the two candidates with the most votes shall run against each other until one receives a majority of votes.

Section E - Chair Responsibilities

The Chair shall be responsible for facilitating meetings of the Commission and the Executive Committee, assisting the Executive Director in planning the agenda for Commission meetings, and representing the Commission and IDPH. The Chair shall ensure that timely and accurate meeting notes, including votes and other actions, are properly recorded for each meeting and thereafter maintained for no less than five (5) years. Meeting notes shall be available through a request under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140).

Section F - Vice Chair Responsibilities

The Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in the event of the Chair's absence or resignation. When the Vice Chair permanently assumes the responsibilities of the Chair, an election will be held at the next regularly scheduled Commission meeting to identify a new Vice Chair who shall serve until the next election

Section G - Officer Resignations

An officer may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Executive Director.

Article VII

Section A - Make-up of Committees

There shall be standing committees of the Commission. Additional committees may be established by a majority vote of the Commission. Committee meetings shall be held during a scheduled period of time prior to the Commission's regular business meeting, or otherwise as appropriate or necessary. Commission members and ex officio members shall be asked to signify which committees they are interested in at the last meeting of each calendar year. Committee chairs shall be appointed by the Chair and must be voting members of the Commission, except for the Executive Committee as noted below. All committee meetings shall be conducted in accord with the Open Meetings Act and other relevant state statutes.

Section B - Ex-Officio Member

The Corporation for National and Community Service representative may serve on a committee but only in an advisory, non-voting capacity. The representative may not chair any committee.

Section C - Public Committee Members

The Chair may, from time to time, appoint one or more additional persons as members of committees. Any non-Commissioner appointed to a committee shall serve in an advisory, non-voting capacity. Only a Commissioner may chair a committee.

Section D - Committee Member Conflict of Interest

No commissioner or any individual appointed to a committee of the Commission shall vote on any matter that poses an actual or potential conflict between their personal, business, and/or professional interests and the mission and activities of the Commission. All commissioners or appointed individuals shall immediately disclose, in writing, to the Commission Chair and/or the Executive Committee any actual and/or potential conflicts of interest. All commissioners and appointed individuals shall abide by the Commission’s and the State of Illinois relevant conflict of interest policies.

Section E - Coordination of Work

Each committee shall coordinate its work with other committees of the Commission.

Section F - Executive Committee

​The Executive Committee shall be composed of the officers of the Commission, the immediate past chair (for the first year after his/her term has expired), and the Chairs of the Commission’s other Committees. The past chair shall serve in an advisory, non-voting capacity if no longer a member of the Commission.

  1. The Executive Committee shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Commission between its business meetings, make recommendations to the Commission, serve as liaisons among the committees and perform other duties as specified in these bylaws. The Executive Committee shall be empowered to establish ad hoc committees to carry out the work of the Commission, and shall report such appointments at the next regular meeting of the Commission.
  2. ​The Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Commission. The Executive Committee shall take no action or render any decision that is in conflict with action taken by the Commission.
Section G - Public Relations Committee

The Public Relations Committee shall promote the activities of the Commission, educate communities about available Commission resources, and encourage communities to increase volunteerism and service in their communities.

  1. The Committee shall develop annually a Commission communications plan. The plan shall include communications and marketing information, delivery strategies for print, electronic, and social media, and opportunities for Commissioners to disseminate staff-created messages and notices via personal and professional social media networks.
  2. The Committee shall meet with staff at least quarterly to review the communications plan.
  3. The Committee shall develop with staff an annual budget to support the communications plan.
Section H - Recognition Events Committee

The Recognition Events Committee shall support recognition volunteer programs and events throughout the state. The goal of these events shall be to work with the Commission staff to promote the work of individual volunteers, organizations, and corporations while also promoting an ethic of service throughout the year. Events shall include, but are not limited to, the Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards and the Governor’s Hometown Awards.

  1. The Committee shall work with staff to develop, implement, and coordinate the application process for all current and future recognition events.
  2. The Committee shall review annually the application and review process, as well as the award ceremonies, to ensure that it is designed and conducted in a manner that allows a diverse group of programs the opportunity to apply and participate.
  3. The Committee shall analyze annually the efficacy of all awards programs and make recommendations on continuation, modification, or termination.
  4. The Committee shall review any proposal for new award programs. No new awards programs shall be proposed to the Commission without the recommendation of the Recognition Committee.
  5. The Committee shall develop with staff an annual budget to support the recognition events.
Section I - State Service Plan/Strategic Planning Committee

The Strategic Planning Committee shall develop and evaluate the long-term goals and activities of the Commission.

  1. The Committee shall develop and maintain the Commission’s State Service Plan. The Committee shall continuously monitor Commission activities in alignment with the current State Service Plan. Every three years, the Committee shall revise and present to the Commission for review the State Service plan.
  2. The Committee shall prepare with staff a detailed report each year for presentation to the Commission. The report shall objectively evaluate program delivery against the outcomes of the State Service Plan, and it shall explain how data is collected, analyzed, and used to implement and adjust programming. The report shall identify strengths and weakness of the current system of service as compared to the State Service Plan, with recommendations to the Commission and staff for improvement.
Section J - Governance and Finance Committee

The Governance Committee shall monitor the operation of the Commission and oversee the budget and financial activities of the Commission, including but not limited to grants. The Committee shall be responsible for reviewing and assessing Commission procedures and structures. The Committee shall make recommendations for recruitment, orientation, and overall composition of the Commission. The Committee shall formulate and assess the annual performance expectations for individual Commission members.

  1. The Committee shall monitor the Board’s due diligence function as it relates to governance, and it shall recommend any actions to the Commission. It shall monitor overall effectiveness of governance policies (e.g., operations, expectations, performance, etc.), and recommend changes and / or new policies for action.
  2. The Committee shall receive proposals and process concerns regarding Commission procedures, structures, committees, and task forces. The Committee shall review and recommend any changes in governance standards to the Executive Committee for consideration by the Commission.
  3. The Committee shall review regularly the current composition of the Commission, develop criteria for membership (e.g., demographic and geographic diversity, skills, backgrounds, and behaviors), and make recommendations for optimum overall composition. The Committee shall develop an orientation process for new Commissioners.
  4. The Committee shall formulate and maintain annual performance criteria for individual Commissioners and expectations of good standing (e.g., attendance, committee service, conflicts of interest, et al.); these criteria shall be affirmed annually by the Commission. The Committee shall report annually on Commissioner performance to the Executive Committee. The Governance Committee shall review these criteria at least every two years and present any recommended changes to the Commission for adoption by vote of the Commissioners.
  5. The Committee shall assist staff with the development and review of the annual budget. The Committee, with input and assistance from Commission Staff, shall explain to the Commission proposed resources and expenses for each year, the nature of the annual budget cycle, and other related information.
  6. The Committee shall continuously monitor income and expenses for each year and help staff explain variations to the Commission. The Committee shall review the proposed budget and make recommendations as necessary to staff.
  7. The Committee shall serve as a resource to help staff correct fiscal problems and/or discuss fiscal issues. The Committee shall monitor the financial dealings of the Commission to ensure the full integrity and transparency of the Commission.
​​Section K - AmeriCorps Selection Committee

The AmeriCorps Selection Committee shall monitor the process for selecting AmeriCorps recipients.

  1. The Committee shall work with staff to develop a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to support the Commission’s national service portfolio and to assist with the review process. The Committee shall meet with staff each year to review quarterly and annual reports required by CNCS and other funders to determine if programming is occurring in conjunction with the State Service Plan. The Committee shall review each year the NOFO process to ensure that it is designed and conducted in a manner that allows a diverse group of programs the opportunity to apply for national service support.
  2. The Committee shall work with staff to promote and maximize opportunities for agencies and organizations across the state to host an AmeriCorps member, to participate in the peer review process, and other related activities.
  3. The Committee shall provide for opportunities for Commissioners to interact with AmeriCorps program applicants and grantees.
​​Section J - Public Policy Committee

The Public Policy Committee shall work with local, state, and federal officials to promote policy and rule changes that will support volunteerism and national service programming.

  1. The Committee shall keep Commissioners informed on current policy issues.
  2. The Committee shall work with Commission staff to develop policy recommendations for local, state, and federal officials.
  3. The Committee shall provide opportunities for Commissioners and Commission partners and grantees to educate elected officials on volunteerism and national service efforts and needs in Illinois.

Article VIII
Parliamentary Authority

Section A

The rules contained in the current edition of Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Commission in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Commission may adopt. In the case of any conflict between these bylaws and Roberts Rules of Order, these bylaws shall control. In the case of any conflict between these bylaws and Illinois State law, then State law shall control.

Article IX
Amendment of Bylaws

Section A

The Executive Committee shall review the Bylaws at a minimum once every two years and make recommendations for appropriate changes to the full Commission

Section B

Suggested bylaw amendments must be submitted in writing to the Executive Committee two months in advance of the next regular meeting. The Executive Committee shall review proposed amendments and send the proposals in writing to the full Commission one month prior to the next regular meeting. Each proposed amendments shall be presented to the full Commission at the next regular Commission meeting for a vote.

Section C

To be adopted, amendments to the bylaws must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of those Commission members in attendance, once a quorum is present.