May 19, 2017
Present: Ed Barrett, David Burns, Aaron Dombroski, Elizabeth Hite, Ron Holmes, Coleman Lapointe, John Portela, Ross Cunningham, Carol Rancourt. Staff: Michael Ashmore, Pelin Fitzpatrick, Cecily Cook, Maryalice Crofton.
Public Comment Period: Jen Craven gave overview of recent and upcoming events at RSU #14, SySTEM REAL School including REAL School Summer Camp, which is for 6 weeks and free for grade 3-6. Steve Niles is also present, representing Goodwill Industries NNE.
Call to Order. Commission Chair Portela called the meeting to order at 10:10am. Commission Board Member and MCCS staff introductions follow. John also introduced a guest joining the meeting via telephone - Kaira Esgate, Executive Director of ASC.
Announcements. Portela noted there isn't a quorum so no votes can be taken on grants or policies. Maryalice reminded the group of the letter to Senator Cochran to be signed. This is done as a thank you for his continued support for National Service in his role as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Quiz Answer. The quiz this month was about the AmeriCoprs education award and which institutions receive the greatest number of payments. Coleman and Ed entered correct responses this month.
Planning and Future Initiatives
A. America's Service Commissions - ASC (Kaira Esgate)
Kaira gave an overview about ASC - it's history, the reason it was established, it's vision, mission, activity areas, and strategic goals. She then explained how the association determines what priorities it will set on behalf of states in ASC work with CNCS and Congress. She briefed everyone present on the expected scenarios for the FY18 budget and appropriations which has CNCS on a shut-down trajectory. Based on the Congressional support for National Service, it is anticipated CNCS will exist in the future but look very different than it does now. Kaira responded to several questions including one about the CNCS budget. She noted it is the first time in 24 years there is no White House Support but, luckily, the work done with Congress means the support base has shifted to be there.
Focus on Mission/Responsibilities
A. AmeriCorps Brand Check - PIE Exercise (Crofton)
The Public Information and Education Task Force is doing a check of public recognition of the AmeriCorps logo and what it conveys to people. Maryalice facilitated an exercise revolving around the AmeriCorps logo - especially interesting for new Commissioners who are viewing it with relatively fresh eyes. The assignment was for each person to describe their gut reaction to the logo - what does it convey? What does it mean to them?
Business Reports (Reports submitted are posted.)
A. April Minutes. (Portela)
A quorum was not present at this meeting. Voting on approving the April Minutes will have to be postponed until the June meeting.
B. Grant Selection and Performance (Barrett)
1. Policy updates and recommendations
The task force reviewed the Commission grant policies which integrate into the federal requirements. The Maine set has not been updated for six years. The changes recommended were posted with the agenda but no action could be taken due to lack of a quorum.
2. Grant Competitions
AmeriCorps State competitive grant decisions. Ed provided information concerning results of the AmeriCorps State competitive grant process. The grant funding was part of the FFY17 final appropriation and is not tied to FY18. LearningWorks and Maine Conservation Corps have been approved for continuation. Maine Campus Compact was awarded a new great, but the Bangor program was not selected.
AmeriCorps Formula continuation recommendations. There are 2 programs that the Grants Task Force is recommending for continuation: RSU #14 and Multilingual Leadership Corps. Each are being recommended to continue at levels requested without any conditions. However, voting on approving these recommendations will have to wait for the June meeting when a quorum is present.
There have been 2 complete grant submissions for the Rural AmeriCorps Competition. Again, voting on these will wait until June.
C. Executive Committee (Portela)
1. May 2017 meeting notes are posted. However, no quorum present to vote on approving. Will wait until June.
D. ASC Update (Holmes)
1. Public Policy Committee
Ron emphasizes the need to be prepared for either outcome of the proposed FY18 budget. Also, Commissioners and others should share what loss of AmeriCorps programs would mean for the State of Maine. Increased education and awareness.
E. Excellence and Expertise (Ashmore)
1. May 2017 meeting notes posted
Meeting involved feedback from previous Commission meeting around purpose of Service Enterprise. There was a report from the joint meeting with Service Enterprise trainers. The trainers finalized a state level expense model based on two years of experience. It complements the task force proposal for how Service Enterprise is delivered in Maine since the Commission is the license holder. One note made was the need to help agencies determine if they are ready or do they need to address more basic issues first (e.g., basic volunteer management). Question was raised of how to be support organizations who are interested, but lack capacity.
E&E is developing the proposal for Volunteer Generation Fund. They put out a short 4-question survey with the goal of assessing needs of communities and how volunteerism could place a role in addressing.
There are a few changes in the upcoming meeting schedule. The next 3 meetings will be held on: June 8, July 12, and August 2. E&E is also currently looking for a new chair.
F. Public Information and Education/Public Policy (Crofton/Burns)
1. David Burns reported that he contacted leaders in State legislature in order to have someone sponsor the dispersal of informational brochures on AmeriCorps grant opportunities. Representatives Pouliot and McLean sponsored for the House and Senators Jackson and Savielo sponsored for the Senate, resulting in brochures being distributed to all 181 legislators with the goal of having them help raise awareness of next year's competition.
H. CNCS Regional Office Update (Hite)
1. Libby discusses that the deadline for the AmeriCorps Affiliate programs is approaching. These are open to those who are 14 years and older with the aim of encouraging more youth involvement. Fewer hours are required, there is a small education award, and it's noncompetitive. Oxford Hill High School has 10 AC Affiliate slots. These programs are managed out of the state office and begin in late summer/early fall.
May 19 marks the end of Senior Corps week. Libby highlighted some Maine statistics: In there state there are over 1,800 SeniorCorps volunteers who mentor over 3,200 students, serve 720 homebound seniors, and participate in 9 projects throughout the State.
Also, this past week Maine Senator Susan Collins invited Leonard Kay from the UMaine Center on Aging (sponsors RSVP and Senior Companions) to testify in the Senate on isolation among seniors. Collins vocalized support for Senior Corps and emphasized age-friendly communities.
I. MCCS Staff (Crofton/Ashmore)
1. Beyond the Rural AmeriCorps competition - outreach schedule for summer
Mike gives an overview of the number of submissions for the Rural AmeriCorps Grant competition. There were 26 individuals applications created, however 24 of the organizations did not submit. 10 registered for the intro webinar. Mike is going through the process of personally connecting with each of the 24 organizations that did not complete their applications and asking them what kept them from applying. Was it timing, deadlines, etc? So far he has contact 35 people and received responses from about half. There are 4 very strong leads for the next competition in the fall. David Burns is going to help with outreach in Washington County.
Also, starting in October, applications will be coming in for next year's triennial state competition, which means grants will open up to new organizations. Mike is available to help organizations develop and design applications and programs.
2. Blaine House Conference planning status
The conference will be held on October 10 in Orono. Tobi Johnson, an international expert of volunteer management, will be the keynote speaker. There is currently one confirmed sponsor: Cabot Creamery. Machias Savings may also become a sponsor, but still need a 3rd.
3. Other: Service Enterprise trainer network
Discusses a training of trainers event. E&E has found that most people who go through the training see little value in the certification from Points of Light. There is much higher interest of one from MCCS/the State.
Additionally, Cecily is working on a report about the 5-year look at skills learned by AmeriCorps members, which will be done in June. Kirsten is also in the process of handing over social media activity to Cecily.
Business Wrap Up
A. Reminder to sign the thank you letter to Sen. Cochran.
B. Reminder that the next meeting will be June 16, 2017 and it's important that everyone is present because there will be key grant decisions to vote on.
C. Meeting Adjourned at 11:47am