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Commission Minutes

April 21, 2017

Present: Ed Barrett, Celeste Branham, David Burns, Diane Dickerson, Aaron Dombroski, Mandela Gardner, Elizabeth Hite, Jacinda Goodwin, Ron Holmes, Sean Ingram, Nicholar Isgro, Melik Peter Khoury, Beth Lambert, Coleman Lapointe, Nicole Pellenz, John Portela, Carol Rancourt, Barbara Wentworth, Brianna Tibbetts, David Wihry

Public Comment Period: National Service grantee staff introduced themselves and program colleagues: Ethan Schechter from LearningWorks and Sara Lolley, Lauren, and Victoria Morrill; Joely Rossfrom Goodwill's Multilingual Leadership Corps; Sandy Goss from Goodwill Take 2; Jo Orlando from Maine Conservation Corps with Sara Knowles and Deidrah Stanchfield; Jen Craven from SySTEM REAL School; Liz Allen from AmeriCorps Somerset County; and, lastly, Maria Staples the new director of Penquis's Foster Grandparents and RSVP programs.

New Commissioners take oath of office: 8 new Commissioners were sworn in to the MCCS Board. These include Nicholas Isgro, Coleman Lapointe, Sean Ingram, Melik Khoury, David Burns, Diane Dickerson, Aaron Dombroski, and Brianna Tibbetts. Beth Lambert, DOE designee/ex-officio Commissioner, joined the group for her MCCS pin and group photo after the oath.

Call to Order. Commission Chair Portela called the meeting to order at 10:24am. Commission Board Members' and MCCS staff introductions for the new Commissioners present. 

Announcements. John gave brief descriptions of the 3 task forces for the new Commissioners and announced their task force assignments.

  • Grants Selection and Performance:  Continuing are Barrett, Wihry, Pellenz, Young, and Rancourt; Adding Dombroski, Goodwin, Isgro, and Lanbert.
  • Public Information & Education (PIE): Continuing are Barrett, Cunningham, Gardner, Rancourt, Holmes, and Liscord; Adding Burns, Dickerson, and Tibbetts
  • Excellence and Expertise (E&E): Continuing are Pellenz, Liscord, Young, Hite, and Wentworth; Adding Ingram, Khoury, and Lapointe

The quiz referenced research conducted by Deloitte on the volunteer sector, specifically types of volunteerism and the definition of skill-based volunteerism. Ron Holmes and Barb Wentworth were this month's prize winners. There were no additions or deletions to the agenda.

Planning and Future Initiatives  
A. Service Enterprise (Wentworth, Hite, and Pellenz)
Barb explained that the Excellence and Expertise Task Force meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at 8:30am. Their current objective is to encourage skill-based volunteering using a model called Service Enterprise. Libby gave an overview of the structure of Service Enterprise in Maine, explaining the licensed agreement between MCCS and Points of Light and the role of affiliates. Next, Nicole emphasized the impact Service Enterprise can have on volunteer-based organizations. The training of trainers can have an outward chain effect and can be used strategically with purposeful planning. The result can be extending the capacity of small organizations with volunteers that have specific skills. Barb illustrated Service Enterprise using the example of "Data Geeks" at her organization, United Way. She also highlighted the connection between the E&E task force and the Blaine House Conference, which is happening in October. The task force also oversees the online course for volunteer managers, which is a certificate course aimed at professional development. Also, E&E is developing an information brochure/document to highlight the three themes of task force.

Business Reports (Reports submitted are posted.) 
A. January and March Minutes. Motion to approve both sets of minutes put forth by Nicole, seconded by Barb and approved unanimously.

B. Grant Selection and Performance (Wihry)  
1. David highlighted the upcoming deadline for grant competitions in May. However, his explained that there is a wrinkle in the process of grant selection caused by the federal government's budget proposals. The timelines and availability of the budgets to fund these grant applications will be dependent of appropriations.
2. David reviewed the competition for AmeriCorps programs in rural settings with small programs of 2-5 members. That application process ends on May 16; the staff processes the applications; external peer reviewers assess the proposals; the Commissioners on the grant task force will conduct the technical review and make recommendations for funding.
3. Pelin and David will provide a task force orientation to new members, including duties, processes, and will be in touch soon to schedule.
4. Continuation applications are also due. AmeriCorps programs provide annual reports on performance with their requests for continued funding. After review, the task force makes recommendations on future resources and requirements for any corrective actions or conditions.
5. Update on current grant applications in the State for opioid recovery. The lead applicant for the coalition notified the office yesterday they will not proceed. After 5 and a half months of work the legal applicant felt they couldn't meet the requirements. This program would have served Hancock, Aroostook, and Washington counties. All parties are interested in continuing the conversation over the summer and may participate in the fall competition.
6. David explains that the task force is receiving report from AC programs on recruitment and retention rates of members. Pelin is charged with providing ways to increase enrollment. In anyone is interested in the grants review process, David will send out information on how to get involved.

C. Executive Committee (Branham/Portela)
Celeste noted the April 2017 minutes were posted and asked for questions or comments before a vote to approve. Celeste moved to approve the minutes; second by Nicole. The Commission voted to approve the minutes with one abstention from Melik.
2. John explained orientation plans for new Commissioners. In the past the process has involved 4 meetings where new Commissioners come 1 hours before the start of 4 regularly scheduled business meetings. In total this is a 4 hours training. However, Celeste expresses concern that the previous model won't work due to the long travel times for many of the Commissioners. Instead, she proposes meeting after the May meeting (May 19th) to provide the orientation session on Grants, since that is the most pressing topic. In June, 2 sessions will be combined for an afternoon of training. There is no July/August meeting, but there is a need to finish up the training. Celeste proposes agreeing on a date in August, again a half day, independent of the business meetings. It is important to finish up the orientation prior to the start of the fall strategic planning process. New Commissioners agreed that is a good plan.

 D. ASC Update (Holmes/Crofton)
Ron explains that this is a group that facilitates communication between all state commissions to explore issues of mutual interest. Currently, on everyone's radar is the federal budget and how it might affect national service. Commissions across the US are producing stories about what their state would look like if there were no national service programs. The group is also looking at their own rebranding efforts.
2. Maryalice touches on budget issues - it's likely the CR for 2017 budget will be extended one week; OMB cuts to CNCS are not likely to happen in '17, but '18 is still very much up in the air. There are advocating efforts happening outside of MCCS, including retired national service staff and former AC alumni creating sign-on letters, etc.

E. Excellence and Expertise (Wentworth)
1. Barb discussed the availability of grants under a CNCS competition known as Volunteer Generation Fund. Many of the past awards have included Service Enterprise. Members of this task force have been looking at Utah and other states who have submitted successful grant applications on the best way to apply with a Service Enterprise lens. The next meeting is the 1st Wednesday in May (May 3).

F. Public Information and Education/Public Policy (Portela)
1. Calls for questions or clarification on April 2017 notes that have been posted.

G. Maine Volunteer Foundation: MCCS Liaison Report (Holmes) 
1. Ron discusses that MVF is currently looking for additional members. There is a need for a websiteso the organization can accept donations online. The board is nearly set up, just 1 open seat left, which will hopefully be filled by someone north of Pittsfield. The newest board member is Bill Birney of Cianbro.
2. Quick background information: MVF is a private support organization for MCCS. In 2015 the legislative bill was passed that allowed the organization's creation and in 2016 the foundation was established, receiving its 501(c)3 status on May 16, 2016. 

H. CNCS Regional Office Update (Hite)
1. April 4 was Mayor and County Day of National Service. Events were largely a success; 16 million were reached via social media. Upcoming: May 15-19 is SeniorCorps Week. The review for the competition for un-served RSVP counties started April 20. Maria Staples was recognized as the new director for this program in Penquis.

I. MCCS Staff (Crofton in place of Ashmore/Cook)  
1. Update on AmeriCorps opioid program already provided.
2. Governor's Service Awards and Roll of Honor updates. Cecily: On Monday, April 24 at 10am there will be the presentation of awards by First Lady Ann LePage. All Commissioners are welcome and encouraged to come and participate in the event. Roll of Honor members, of which there are 481 this year, are being recognized with free tickets to the Volunteer Appreciation Night at the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday, April 25.
3. Major training: Volunteerism conference with a planning committee of 8, including David and Mandela.
4. CMV course: During last course 34 people enrolled; 28 finished. 16 are currently registered for the May course. Commission staff proctor the course (review assignments, quiz grades, provide feedback). It takes about 1-2 days per week. Rate of involvement has increased from just 5-6 people each course!

Swearing In of 1 more new Commission Member
Jacinda had joined the meeting so she was sworn in as a Commissioner.

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities (Portela)
Honoring National Service Staff
1. John presents each National Service staff member with a certificate of appreciation. Each has a moment to explain the role of their program in the community.
2. Logistics of luncheon of provided, along with Commission host and program assignments

Business Wrap Up
A. Reminder next business meeting May 19, back at normal location, University of Maine Augusta.
B. Reminder that today at 1:15 pm Service Enterprise Trainers and E&E task force will be meeting in Room 103
C. Meeting Adjourned at 11:34am