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Excellence and Expertise Task Force

September 6, 2017

Regular Meeting 

Commissioners Present: Lisa Laflin, Nicole Pellenz, Barbara Wentworth, Joe Young

Other members: Nichole Ernest

Absent: Janice Daku, Sean Ingram, Elizabeth Hite, Melik Khoury, Coleman Lapointe, Robert Liscord

Staff: Michael Ashmore

Guests:

Notes: Blaine House report was moved up to the start of the agenda. 

Minutes:

Blaine House Conference promotion and Liaison report

NE noted that the conference committee had not met since the last E & E meeting and so she had few updates to report.  Among those were that discount codes had been forwarded to those eligible and that the bulk mail conference announcement had been sent.  MA said that he would check the RegOnline conference registration software and get an update on the number of registrations.

There were no updates available on additional sponsorships.

VGF Funding Announcement & subsequent planning

MA announced that the 3-year Volunteer Generation Fund application submitted in late June was funded, with the announcement coming at the end of August.  He noted that a summary from the application and the budget had been shared prior to the meeting and summarized the three key elements to the application: Public service outreach about the value of volunteerism; small grants to organizations using volunteers in the service areas of Food Security, Aging in Place and Transportation; and participation of these organizations in Service Enterprise Training.

He noted that immediate work is to identify key players in these three fields to begin outreach to potential grantees, work on scripting PSA’s and to formulate the RFP for the subgrantees.

Meeting members asked about the size of the proposed grants (no larger than $25,000, but smaller ones in the $12,000 range are anticipated) and the duration.  MA asked for feedback on duration, describing pros and cons of supporting 1-year grants and of keeping grantees for the full three years.  JY felt that offering flexibility to determine and describe what is needed was important.  Members agreed that leaving options open to applicants and asking them to describe the program model and the time frame was the best option.  BW shared that developing volunteerism takes time and offering more options made the most sense.

TTA funding announcement & application amendment

MA also shared the targeted priority funding announcement and the subsequent submission.  He also noted that clarification had already been received and that funding of $75,000 was anticipated.  He noted that CNCS’s approach is different this year, with the agency offering an amendment to the existing CIF funding rather than having a separate competition. Priority areas include opioid intervention again, but the Commission is not eligible for this priority as it was funded for this last year.  This year priorities include Child wellness, with an emphasis on prevention of Child Abuse and supporting victims of Child Abuse as well as supporting youth aging out of Foster Care.  The other available priority is Infrastructure improvements in the 13 designated federal infrastructure categories.  The Commission’s submitted plan includes some work with MEMA in the infrastructure area but largely focusing on the Child Wellness priority using a strategy similar to last year; identifying and hiring subject area experts as consultants and supporting potential applicants in developing appropriate AmeriCorps projects.

New Service Enterprise Video ( https://maineservicecommission.smugmug.com/Service-Enterprise-Video/ )

Members felt that the new video was well done and makes a valuable local compliment to the introductory Service Enterprise video now in use.  Each member shared what they felt was positive about the video, including the use of animation, the backdrops and how it offered local examples.   Cecily Cook was also complimented for her effort and the product.  MA noted that the additional funding in the VGF and TTA grants wil allow Cecily to move to full time with the Commission staff.

New Chair Needed

BW noted, again, that a new chair was need and briefly described the work load related to the Task Force. None of the present members self-nominated during the meeting, so BW asked the interested individuals reach out to her o discuss it more and/or to discuss it with Chair Portela.

PIE Liaison report

Liscord was not present so MA shared general updates on congressional funding markups to the federal budget and the appointment of Chester Spellman to be Director of AmeriCorps. Chester was ED of the Florida Commission prior to appointment.