Skip to main content

Commission Minutes

June 17, 2011

IN ATTENDANCE: Mary-Anne LaMarre, Gary Dorman, Ron Holmes, Andrew Matlins, Andrew McLean, Brenda Peluso, Shelley Reed, Joel Russ, Eileen Smart, and Judi Stebbins

STAFF PRESENT: Maryalice Crofton, Michael Ashmore, Eileen Buzzello, Erin Dunne, Meredith Eaton, Rochelle Runge, Pam Zeutenshorst, and Aline Lachance

GUESTS: Marcia Hartt and Celeste Branham potential candidates to the Commission, Dr. Dahlia Lynn (Univ. of Southern Maine), Casey Bromberg (KVCAP) and Joely Ross (Goodwill AmeriCorp)


QUIZ: Three members answered correctly: Barbara, Brenda, and Joel.


1. Maryalice distributed a 1 page summary of the responses to-date regarding the impact of the FY2011 Federal Budget Impact on Senior Corps’ RSVP programs in Maine.  In summation, funding from CNCS needs to last until June 30, 2011 (15 months).  The various RSVPs have revised their budgets to include some of the followings: 

  • Reimbursement for mileage and meal costs being suspended
  • Staff positions reduced or terminated
  • No long distance travel (conferences, etc.)
  • Reduce  travel for staff and volunteers
  • Stop or decrease general recruiting

The Aroostook RSVP Director is retiring and didn’t feel she could comment.  Aroostook RSVP is reconsidering their participation.  

 2.  Maryalice circulated a copy of book entitled ‘Changing the World on a Tuesday Night’ by Tammi DeVille.  The stories of volunteers and how ordinary people make a difference.  The author will be a speaker at the Blaine House Conference

3.  Pam and Maryalice attended workshop (National Conference –Service & Volunteerism). Trends related to MCCS activities were noted:

  •  National service funding is moving away from accommodating very parochial local issues. Resources going forward will be concentrated on problems that are found in the majority of places around the country.
  •  CNCS clarified that it wants to fund evidence-based programming. This has a specific definition and references program models that have been proven effective in prior implementation with evaluation. Under evidence-based, the models are implemented with fidelity and focus is not on proving effective.
  •  National service priorities are tying into strategic plans of other federal agencies that are the “content” experts. (CNCS being the tactic expert because of its focus on service.) Good example would be health performance measures of CNCS which tie directly to CDC national health outcomes.

3. The Chair-elect, Phil Crowell, has resigned from the Commission. His work assignment for the City of Auburn has expanded significantly and he is not able to participate in MCCS meetings. Board Development is asked to identify officers and bring to September meeting for election.

4. Shelly Reed, MCCS member representing Dept of Education, announced she is retiring this summer. The Commissioner of Education will be designating a new person to sit on MCCS. 

5.  Joel distributed postcard; Community Conversations focused on the issue of “getting out of generational poverty.” The next one is  Wednesday, July 6 at Maine Medical Center, Portland, with keynote speaker Governor LePage.


 MAY MINUTES OF THE MEETING: A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by Andrew Matlins to accept the May 20, 2011 Minutes of the Meeting.  Vote was unanimous.

 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by Andrew Matlins to accept the June 3, 2011 Minutes of the Meeting.  Vote was unanimous.

Report from meeting with SPO Director June 17 (prior to this meeting): Mary-Anne and others from the Commission spoke with Darryl Brown about the MCCS Program.  He will be making the decision as to were MCCS will end up.

 GRANTS TASK FORCE: Three applications for AmeriCorps Formula continuation funding were processed and are recommended for the final year of funds:

1. Goodwill Industries of Northern New England
(Project Name:  Community Resource Corps)
A motion was made by Andrew Matlin and seconded by Judi Stebbins recommending renewal of application.  Vote was unanimous except for Ron Holmes who abstained.

2.  Island Institute
(Project Name: Island Fellows AmeriCorps Program)
A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by Judi Stebbins recommending renewal of application with conditions (that funding be contingent on completion of corrective actions recommended in compliance visit feedback).  Vote was unanimous except for Ron Holmes who abstained.

3. Maine Parent Federation
(Program Name:  Teen Leadership & Career Corps)
A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by Judi Stebbins recommending renewal of application with several conditions (compliance issues resolved by July 20, attend Corporation Financial Institute, policy and procedures updated, member contract must reflect all member benefits, and documentation of Board involvement and Stakeholder Group participation).  Vote was unanimous except for Ron Holmes who abstained.

- Strategic Plan progress report
The task force members have reviewed their assignment under the Strategic Plan. Andrew gave a brief overview of what progress has been made.
- 9-11  National Day of Service
The day is now a national day of service under the Serve America Act. MCCS will organize some effort but the decision on what has not been finalized.

-Plan for nominations to national leadership training
The Commission and CNCS State Office have the opportunity to nominate up to 4 people for some exclusive national leadership training focused on service as it relates to education and veterans. The process and deadline for submissions was reviewed. Two Commission members indicated an interest in being nominated. 
- Blaine House Conference
Date is set for October 11, 2011 at the Univ. of Maine, Orono. It is the 25th Anniversary. Registration opens August 1st. A number of national presenters have agreed to come at no-cost in return for listing as sponsors. Post cards have been ordered; also see on-line video. Need more people on the committee! 
Strategic Plan progress report
Drew indicated that the task force assignments for year one were reviewed and work is “on time.”

- The task force still needs a chair. If no volunteers, appointment will be made.
-  Erin Dunne, Mike Ashmore, and Maryanne LaMarre attended the RSU 67 Service Learning Celebration. It was quite impressive. Interesting observation – teachers talk about the student projects while students discuss what they learned.
- Time Warner helped MCCS produce a public service announcement that explains the value of service-learning and its STEM connection.  8 students were in the commercial which will be ready to air next month.
-Erin is developing an application to Youth Service America for MCCS to be a lead agency for National & Global Youth Service Day. The status of “lead agency” would mean promoting an understanding of the youth service initiative, participating in a national training, developing a coalition, providing mini-grants to youth groups for project supplies, and receiving $2,000 from YSA/State Farm to support the work.  National & Global Youth Service Day takes place each April.
-The task force discussed the R3 Conference sponsored by Dept of Education. Mike will be making a presentation about service-learning and engaging participants in a focus group that will inform the MCCS service-learning plan. 

Joel Russ is the new chair for Board Development. He takes over from Gary who is retiring from MCCS. 
- Retreat update
Joel reviewed the final plans for the retreat which is July 14-15 at Sunday River. Commissioners were reminded they need to RSVP so the facility deadline for rooms and meals can be honored. All nominees to the Commission are invited. Commissioner Bowen from Dept. of Education has been invited to be the kick off speaker because the focus of the retreat is service-learning and the MCCS role. The final agenda will be distributed within the next week.
- New board resignation
Nominations are moving forward. Paperwork is in the Governor’s Office with the hope candidates can be sworn in at the September meeting. Four seats remain open – Public Safety, health & human services, at-risk youth, local government. Please contact Joel if you have recommendations for nominees.

-Susan Hammond unavailable. Postpone until September. 

At the federal level, National Service programs related to veterans services and services by veterans has become a priority.  MCCS asked Eileen Buzzello, VISTA, to do some background research about Maine veterans and the issues they face. She has written a white paper on the topics (distributed to attendees) and presented an overview to MCCS board members present.

Key points:
1. Only 30-35 percent of Maine veterans are receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.
2. Demographics:

  • In 2011, 76% of Maine veterans are over age 50
  •  Largest concentration of veterans (percent of total population) is in Sagahadoc, Piscataquis, Androscoggin, York, and Kennebec
  • Smallest concentration of veterans (percent of total population) is in Cumberland, Oxford, Somerset, Lincoln, and Aroostook 
  • In 2011 over 50 percent of Maine veterans are Vietnam Vets
  • By 2021 will have equal numbers Vietnam and Gulf War wets

3. Housing

  • As of January 2011, 15 percent of veterans were homeless
  • VA facilities have reported an increase of 24% in homeless Veteran families seeking services
  •  In 2009, over a third of homeless veterans were between the ages of 51-61

4. Health Care

  • Transportation is a big barrier among older veterans
  • It takes 8-12 months for an appointment and the location usually is an hour or more from residence.
  • Education
  •  In 2009, less than 2 percent of Maine veterans were using the GI Bill education benefits
  •  Most monies spent in Cumberland, Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and York counties for education and vocational rehabilitation/employment. 

5. Unemployment

  •  Highest rate of veteran unemployment in Washington, Piscataquis, Somerset, Aroostook and Oxford counties
  • In 2009, Vietnam Veterans had the lowest labor force participation rate.
  • Employment is the #1 need followed closely by transportation

Dr. Dahlia Lyn, University of Southern Maine, worked with her grad assistant and former MCCS board member Brenda Zolitsch, to analyze nearly data from the 2005-2010 AmeriCorps Volunteer Exit Survey. The analysis was done at the request of MCCS because it reflects on the impact of AmeriCorps service as well as the training, supervision, and support grantees provide to the AmeriCorps members. Dr. Lyn presented the findings to MCCS members. Highlights are below.


  • The vast majority of AmeriCorps volunteers (90%) are from Generation Y
  • Helps individuals develop skills related to career goals, working with diverse community members, and volunteer management.
  • Service builds teams and teamwork skills
  • Serves as a transitional springboard for students with associates and bachelor’s degrees
  • Provides flexible opportunities for those who want to serve. The number of people enrolling for part-time service nearly equals those doing a full year of service.
  • Trains Maine’s future volunteer force
  • Engages those who have a history of volunteering at a deeper level
  • Builds on school and faith-based volunteer experiences
  • Provides opportunities for non-residents to serve in Maine. Each year, about 40% of the AmeriCorps members move here from out of state in order to serve. Half of them stay to work or attend college after service ends.
  • More than half undertook volunteer work during their service term that was not related to AmeriCorps

In general, AC volunteers have a completion average greater than 95%

 In summary, the general trends show good performance by AmeriCorps.  Over 90% of all AmeriCorps volunteers planned to volunteer after their term of service.

Looking ahead, create a template survey for use in collecting data; develop a new database for adding new information, and compile code book for data entry to ensure consistency

 The Commission thanked Dr. Lyn for this valuable analysis and requested that thanks be extended to Brenda Zolitsch on behalf of MCCS.

Both chambers (House & Senate) will be on recess the last week of August so the target date is August 29.  Maine legislators will be invited as well. Andrew and several other board members are planning the event.

Adjourned   12:25 pm