Minutes of the Meeting with IDHS-OFVP and Danville Municipality, October 6, 2022

10:00-11:00 am Thursday

via webex

Meeting recording


  1. Dale DeNeal - LAC Member
  2. Abby Boen - Project Success of Vermillion County
  3. Dana Kelly - IDHS Chief Policy Officer
  4. Awisi Bustos - IDHS Senior Policy Advisor
  5. Christopher Patterson - OFVP Assistant Secretary


  1. Opening and Welcome
    • Assistant Secretary of the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, Christopher Patterson opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. He mentioned that the meeting will be recorded and encouraged everyone to send the recording to partners to make sure that they are in tune with everything that will be discussed in the meeting. He also expressed his appreciation to everyone for attending the meeting that has been set up for Danville.
  2. RPSA Progress Overview
    • Assistant Secretary gave a recap of what has been previously discussed about the $250 million investment toward reducing firearm violence prevention across the State. The goal is to double down on youth development and violence prevention mechanisms. He shared that the OFVP has heard from the Local Advisory Council (LAC) and is excited with the path that the LACs are going to embark on. He added that the OFVP believes in the partnership with the LACs and that it will lead to a reduction of firearm violence across the State and in Danville.
    • Assistant Secretary said that the conversation that's about to happen in the meeting is a push from Danville to make sure that providers who are working in the youth development and violence prevention space will have aspirations to apply. Out of the 250 million dollars, a little bit over $61 million reflects OFVP's work on Reimagine Public Safety. However, he stressed that there is still a need for a stronger push from areas like Danville. There are a lot of providers and community members but there are also a lot of firearm violence that needs to be dealt with. The emphasis on doing these meetings is making sure that providers are aware and supported. He said that the application process may be intimidating for many providers but the OFVP wants to extend support by giving technical assistance and beyond that, to encourage people to get into the violence prevention work.
    • Assistant Secretary gave his appreciation again and he added that he can go to Danville anytime with an invitation.
  3. Local Advisory Council Process
    • IDHS Chief Policy Officer, Dana Kelly introduced herself and mentioned that she has been working with Assistant Secretary Patterson for almost a year now with regards to RPSA. She agreed that Assistant Secretary emphasized the right things and said that the reason for the meeting is to talk with Danville people about how to build capacity in the municipality; make sure that OFVP is talking to the right people in the community, and that people are applying to get the RPSA funds.
    • As mentioned, IDHS has started giving out grants and some were made available to Greater Illinois and a lot were for Chicago. There are 20 applications for Greater Illinois that are under review which are under Violence Prevention Services and 31 applications for Youth Intervention Services. Ms. Kelly said they are hoping to see more applications statewide including Danville.
    • Ms. Kelly said that the OFVP worked with all the 16 Greater Illinois communities and each was assigned a Local Advisory Council (LAC) made up of at least five members. The OFVP is managing a huge number of people providing input for each local area and so, OFVP has been meeting with these councils. The first introductory meeting was in March but things picked up during the meeting in May. OFVP is working with each council to get recommendation on how to allocate violence prevention funding. Those recommendations were received in May. From the recommendations, a report was put together (which can be found in the IDHS website) and a strategy for funding was developed.
  4. Recommendations Primary Findings and Strategy
    • One of the primary findings was there is a strong need across the State for support for comprehensive violence prevention services, including street outreach, victim services and case management. The second one is the need for a flexible source of youth funding that would target a broad range of youth, most at risk of being involved in community violence. Another finding is that there is a need for trauma informed behavioral health services that specifically target those most at risk of being involved in community violence. And the final primary finding is the need for continued investment in traditional models of youth development that focus on engaging school-involved youth.
    • Other important findings include the need for resources to address the root causes of firearm violence, including racism and historical disinvestment in communities of color, financial stability and mobility and family violence. There was a recognition that there is a need for capacity building in these communities for smaller organizations that do not have access to State funding or that have not done violence prevention work in a way required by the funding. Another important finding is the need for support for collaboration inclusive of schools, police, health care institutions, park districts and others.
    • From the recommendations in Greater Illinois, IDHS built a series of four direct service activities for funding and have been funding in Greater Illinois. It was released in February. There are a few organizations across Greater Illinois that IDHS have been funding for youth development services that provide youth engaged in school with after school activities and other things. The new funding for violence prevention services that include street outreach, victim services and case management was released in August and closed in September. Ms. Kelly shared that they are hoping to see grantees for that funding from the Danville area.
    • The Youth Intervention funding for Greater Illinois recognizes that the school-based model for development activities wasn't inclusive of a lot of people in older age ranges who may have been disengaged with school. The new model is flexible to provide a variety of program including mentoring, employment skills, development, life skills development and other things that are to the discretion of the organization that's been doing this work. OFPV wanted to capture the variety of work that's happening out there. This application opened in August as well and closed in September.
    • The last funding application that is still open for Greater Illinois is the trauma informed behavioral health services which is focused on providing trauma informed behavioral health interventions that target those most at risk of involvement in firearm violence and to mediate the high correlation between family adversity, trauma and violence, and subsequent involvement in gun-related activity. These are the actual direct service offerings that came as a result of what has been heard from the LAC recommendations.
    • Ms. Kelly said that other offerings are coming out particularly for capacity building which OFVP heard a lot about from the recommendations. One if already out that focuses on technical assistance, training and capacity building. Any grantee that's going to be funded in Greater Illinois will have access to a technical assistance training and capacity building provider that can work on an intensive level with them. IDHS has released an application that solicits organizations who would be willing to provide those services. She added that they don't know exactly who the providers of that technical assistance will be at this point, but it will be the services available to all grantees.
    • She also shared that OFVP is in the process of finalizing the funding application to support the continuation of the LACs which are being reframed as Violence Prevention Coordinating Councils. The funding will help manage the councils, make them permanent and keep them going as a convener on violence prevention work that's happening in each community. So OFVP is making sure that the work the organizations are doing are sustainably funded as well as providing leadership at the local level.
    • Ms. Kelly mentioned that they also heard a lot about the need for access to social determinants resources that address root causes of violence. OFVP is working to build resources and tools to help connect grantees to resources that exist such as providing economic opportunity, combating racism, providing housing, domestic violence services, and food security services. She added that OFVP is figuring out the best way to help local organizations access resources that IDHS has to offer; the office is trying to develop tools and training through partners that can educate stakeholders about how to access funding and services that target those areas of need, for example, tutorials on how to help clients apply for Medicaid programs, or utility assistance programs, or other things throughout the state.
    • In terms of the actual funds that are being put out, a total of 100 million dollars is available for Greater Illinois to support the RPSA work. The strategy on how to deploy the funds is to take into account the inputs that have been received which was previously discussed. For the first round of direct service grants, the OFVP put some time limits, they were open for 30-45 days; the office wanted to get them out quickly to see who can readily apply, get funded and start providing services, at the same time jumpstarting RPSA implementation. She added that what the OFVP also wants to do is help organizations build capacity for those who are not ready to apply but are interested to do so. There is no cap per community on how much they can be funded because IDHS wants everyone to be able to apply without limitation. She shared that more NOFOs will be released in the next three months and will be released for longer time periods to allow organizations that are still building capacity time to apply. She added that they will take a look at the level of need of each community because they recognize that certain communities have greater levels of firearm violence than others and OFVP wants to make sure that funding and resources are devoted to those areas.
    • As mentioned, OFVP is trying to actively build capacity which is one of the reasons for the meeting, to really understand the ability of organizations to apply for the RPSA funding. The office wants to get in touch with those organizations who may not be ready to apply so that the office can give them resources and provide them with education on the application process. The office also wants LACs to revisit their asset mapping to identify where the gaps are, where work is needed to build additional capacity. Ms. Kelly also mentioned that OFVP is working with organizations like Ernst and Young on providing capacity building to organizations, and giving out technical assistance and trainings useful to those who are interested in applying, to help them navigate some of the technical pieces of the application enabling them to submit a successful application.
    • In summary, the first round which will wrap up in October reflects the recommendations from the LACs and was made open so anybody can apply. In this round, OFVP gathered all those interested in providing violence prevention services across the State. For round two, OFVP will critically look at escalating fundings in areas with higher needs making sure that funding allocation according to LAC recommendations are met.
    • In addition to talking about capacity building, Ms. Kelly said the OFVP wants people to get the word out about the funding opportunities particularly the Trauma Informed Behavioral Services NOFO which is still open for application, and the NOFOs on Technical Assistance and LAC organizing funding which will be released very soon. She stated that the LACs will be informed once this NOFO is released.
  5. Next Steps
    • Aside from spreading the word about all the funding opportunities, LAC members and organizations are asked to ramp up capacity building efforts to ensure that organizations are well equipped to apply for these grants. Ms. Kelly asked to help OFVP in giving names of organizations that need help. Another task is for the LAC to review and complete the asset mapping so that OFVP can utilize the map in building capacity. OFVP is also asking for help in identifying larger organizations in the community that can possibly explore working with smaller organizations as sub recipients. The last task is for the LAC to continue holding meetings and keep OFVP abreast of any issues that may arise.
  6. Question and Answer
    1. Dr. Dale DeNeal commented that the presentation is very informative. He thinks that they are in the process of just trying to get up to speed on the process. He said that they have been trying to identify organizations and encourage them to apply for the funding. He shared that there are more people in Danville that are more skilled than he is and he is still trying to get himself up to speed on the many processes. He extends his appreciation for the presentation and he thinks that a lot of the information was correct. He asked for information on applications coming from Danville.
      • Assistant Secretary shared that they are looking at applications as they come in, many of which are currently being graded and reviewed. They have not necessarily been identified but the numbers of applications can be provided. However, he added, there is still a smaller number across Illinois that what was expected.
      • Ms. Kelly said that there is no Youth Development grantee from Danville. It's the application that has been open for quite some time. However, as of the moment, she cannot identify if there are any applications from Danville out of the 20 applicants for Violence Prevention and 31 applicants for Youth Intervention as these are still in a merit review process. According to Ms. Abby Boen of Project Success in Vermillion County, one of the applications for Youth Intervention is from their organization. She said if Ms. Boen and Dr. DeNeal can provide them names of organizations, the OFVP would be happy to do some conversations to get them to apply.
      • Dr. DeNeal thanked Ms. Kelly but shared that they have encountered early on some hesitancy about engaging in some of the applications and he is not sure why. They have been working through it and just trying to encourage organizations but he thinks that there are some organizations that feel like they would not qualify in any of the parameters of the funding.
      • Ms. Bustos asked if the LAC has heard any feedback on why these organizations feel that they would not qualify.
      • Dr. DeNeal said there is a feeling that even if they applied, they would probably be denied because of having a small market share which might not be the best term to describe it, a small part of the overall piece, and that there is much greater need north of Danville leading to the reluctance or the doubt that they would qualify for the grant.
      • Ms. Kelly said that there is no competition against people from Chicago or even St. Louis or any other area. The competition is only within Danville because the area has its own funds allotted to it. She added that from a competition perspective, she knows that smaller organizations can be intimated by State awards but OFVP wants to navigate through that and give the smaller organizations with resources that can help them. She asked Dr. DeNeal to refer those organizations to OFVP so that the office can help them.
      • Assistant Secretary added that the Governor has been very intentional and clear that he wants smaller organizations to be in the folder. OFVP understands that the application process can be intimidating and cumbersome and so the office is doing capacity building for the smaller organizations so they can get around the process.
      • Ms. Boen added that the hesitation from people may be stemming from the number of days open and the amount of hours per week. The requirement is probably scary to some she said, because, for example, it was scary for them because they were already operating some after school programming that also has days open and hours per week attendance. They were trying to figure out how they could do both and not compete against themselves and so they proposed an "after" after school program. That's what their application was for but they would like to do more with violence prevention such as violence free events around town and they are trying to get families to come, targeting neighborhoods and such. Ms. Boen added that trying to fit their organization's idea into which grant they are appropriate for might be the problem. Also, she thinks that some of the places can't operate a program that requires so many for days open and hours attended per week.
      • Assistant Secretary said the OFVP is intentional about being a lot more flexible in the youth intervention funding and also in the violence prevention funding which is going to come back out as soon as there is a clear view of who have applied. But the violence prevention funding does not ask for a very defined time and or days so there's a little bit of flexibility there. He would encourage people to read over and see where their programs fit within the NOFO. He said if there's some dialogue or questions about any obstacles, the OFVP would not mind answering those questions to bring clarification and provide any flexibility.
    2. Ms. Boen asked about the grant opportunities that are yet to be released. She asked if there's any timeline that they should be watching for.
      • Ms. Bustos said in the next couple of months, maybe three but things could change and OFVP will be sure to keep organizations apprised of any changes in time as what the OFVP has been doing in these virtual briefings.
    3. Ms. Bustos asked about the asset mapping if there were any updates.
      • Dr. DeNeal shared that the LAC met six weeks ago and they went through the mapping exercise. However, he apologized because he does not have the map with him and that Rev. Chris Eastern might have submitted it already.
  7. As there were no other questions, Assistant Secretary closed the meeting and said he appreciates the time and encourage again to send any questions to the OFVP and the office can figure a way to be flexible in the approach. He said he looks forward with the continued partnering with Danville and he also looks forward going out to the area to which Ms. Boen said she will be sending the invitation in email.