Minutes of the Meeting with IDHS-OFVP and Joliet Municipality, September 29, 2022

3:00-4:00pm Thursday

via webex

Meeting Recording


  1. Melvin Leach - Harvey Brooks Motivation & Development Foundation
  2. Donnie Chestnutt - Joliet LAC member
  3. Christine Bright - Joliet LAC member (LAC Lead)
  4. Elizabeth Protich - Joliet LAC member
  5. Patty Hall - YMCA Greater Joliet
  6. Amy Sanchez - Joliet LAC member
  7. Stephen Franklin - YMCA Greater Joliet
  8. Michelle Westerhoff - Office of Senator Meg Cappel
  9. Nancy Pohlman - Office of Representative Lawrence Walsh Jr.
  10. Christopher Patterson - Assistant Secretary, OFVP
  11. Dana Kelly - Chief Policy Officer, IDHS
  12. Awisi Bustos - Senior Policy Advisor, IDHS
  13. Stephanie Pointer - Executive Assistant, IDHS


  1. Welcome and Opening - Assistant Secretary, Christopher Patterson welcomed everyone and shared that he is always excited to see members across the State of Illinois which has grown tremendously.
  2. RPSA Overview and Progress
    • Assistant Secretary started with a recap of the unprecedented historic commitment that the Governor has made towards reducing firearm violence. The State has invested $250 million towards firearm violence reduction strategies that include deepening commitments and relationships with youth-based and youth intervention programming and corporate, new innovative ideas around such as case management service. In connection, there is an understanding that trauma in young people and people impacted by firearm violence and as such, will be addressed.
    • Within that space, Assistant Secretary added, the meeting is an opportunity to talk about what some of the RPSA purposes have been looking like since the convening of the Local Advisory Council. He expressed his gratitude for everyone who's been a part of the "building the plane as you fly it" as the saying goes, to make sure that communities are safer. He thanked everybody for taking the front seat and driving the car.
    • In terms of the budget, Assistant Secretary showed a breakdown of the $250 million invested to RPSA. A little bit over $61 million dollars have already been used towards RPSA across the State. Over $152 million are for pre-existing programming that IDHS has for youth development. Additional $10 million was given to providers before summer of this year for them to double down and carry out some of their work. Another program that Assistant Secretary mentioned is the "CPS Back to Our Future" funding program wherein CPS approached OFVP to help identify students who have been disengaged from school which shows innovativeness and seriousness in both sides in addressing firearm violence. While it may not apply for every single community, Assistant Secretary encouraged thought partners and partners across to think creatively around how firearm violence can be addressed.
    • On funding distribution, there are 48 grantees on violence prevention, 30 on youth development, and 6 technical assistance grantees. Assistant Secretary said that all programs under RPSA will have a technical assistance and training entity to it because OFVP wants to ensure the success of all the grantees. OFVP also understands that while some organizations already have the administrative capacity, there will be newer organizations who have not had State funding before and they will be needing a little bit more of support and OFVP is ready to provide that. There are also 21 conveners in 26 Chicago communities.
    • Fourteen applications are under review, nine for youth development and five for violence prevention. There was approximately $7 million in amendment requests received from the grantees for the provision of additional services. Assistant Secretary shared that one of the things that OFVP did was reach back out to providers and asked them if they needed additional funds to either serve more participants or expand their geographical locations. And so, $7 million speaks to that amendment that OFVP heard from providers. Two NOFOs for Greater Illinois were recently offered and closed in September 16th and 20th. A total of 51 applications were received for these NOFOs.
  3. Local Advisory Council Process
    • Senior Policy Advisor Awisi Bustos gave the overview on the Local Advisory Council (LAC) process that was conducted in accordance to RPSA where 16 LACs with over 150 members across the State were convened. Part of the conversation and strategy was on how to distribute RPSA funding to better address firearm violence. The OFVP received recommendations from all LACs on how to best allocate violence prevention resources and what activities most needed to reduce firearm violence in their respective communities. The results and the corresponding funding strategy can be found at the IDHS website. Ms. Bustos shared the links in the chat.
    • The primary findings from the LAC recommendations include the need for violence prevention services that include street outreach, victim services and case management. Another salient finding was the need for a more flexible source of youth intervention funding that would target a broad age range of youth. Third is the need for additional trauma informed behavioral health support that specifically target identified individuals and finally, to continue to invest in traditional models of youth development like those already deployed in our NOFOs.
    • Ms. Bustos also enumerated other findings which include the need for resources to address racism and historic disinvestment in communities of color, financial stability and mobility and family violence; the need for technical assistance and capacity building resources that will allow small organizations to succeed in the violence prevention space; and support for ongoing community collaborations inclusive of schools, police, healthcare institutions, park districts, cultural partners and nonprofit advocates.
    • Analyzing the recommendations, Ms. Bustos added, OFVP's first priority was to build offerings that reflected the LAC feedback as have been stated before. She enumerated the NOFO service offerings which include Youth Development Greater Illinois; Violence Prevention Greater Illinois which closed on September 16th and about 20 applications were received; Youth Intervention Greater Illinois which is more flexible and targets high-risk youth ages 11 to 24 and this closed on September 19th and about 30 applications were received; and finally, the Trauma Informed Behavioral Services NOFO which is still open and will close on October 14th.
    • Ms. Bustos also shared other NOFO opportunities that IDHS thru OFVP are offering and will offer in the future. OFVP will deploy training and capacity building resources and will issue Training and Technical Assistance Services NOFOs for organizations to apply to support grantees. IDHS will deploy resources to train and build capacity among potential grantees organizations so that they can successfully apply for and administer State funding. Also, IDHS will leverage successful collaboration efforts began by the LACs by expanding and making permanent their role in the community. IDHS will issue a NOFO to select one lead agency per community that can continue to convene the LACs and expand the body to include additional violence prevention expertise. In addition, this entity will serve in a convening role to bring together community organizations and partners to continue to identify the most effective solutions to address firearm violence on the local level.
    • In response to other feedback received in relation to social determinants resources, OFVP will ensure that municipalities have access to resources and will provide technical assistance to communities and help them connect to all existing resources that address social determinants of health.
    • Considering the unprecedented investment on violence prevention, IDHS carefully balanced three considerations when allocating funds; the LAC input, the area capacity and area of need. There is a total of $100 million to give out in Greater Illinois. The first round strategy has been centered around assessing capacity and to get more eligible organizations to apply. OFVP wants to assess where the gaps are so that it can build capacity to fill in the areas of need. The first round of funding is being utilized to assess what the capacity is of service providers across Illinois. Ms. Bustos also mentioned that OFVP is also working on building up capacity simultaneously while soliciting applications and also working with organizations that lack current capacity to apply to build capacity through different avenues such as the Ernst and Young Firm to provide capacity building, Technical Assistance and Training, and Community Organizing.
    • Ms. Bustos said that OFVP is pursuing a two-phase funding strategy that responds to both capacity and need through all the 16 municipalities. The first round was centered on ensuring that funding is aligned with recommendations; funding is open to assess capacity; and presence of capacity building in areas of high need. For round 2, funding will be escalated in areas of high need and it will be ensured that LAC funding recommendations are met. She added that OFVP will be releasing more opportunities in the future.
    • Ms. Bustos asked all attendees to spread the word about the funding opportunities that are available for their community. She added that OFVP will be providing tool kits to help in spreading the word.
  4. For the next steps, Ms. Bustos reiterated that OFVP wants partners to help spread the word about all the funding opportunities available and to encourage all eligible organizations to apply. Next is to ramp to ramp up capacity building efforts to ensure that organizations are well equipped to successfully apply and secure funding. She also mentioned the need to complete the asset mapping, if the LAC has not done so and to submit a report when requested. Another thing she asked the attendees is to identify and encourage larger organizations to explore primary and sub recipient relationships with smaller organizations and for the LAC to continue holding meetings and keeping OFVP abreast of any pressing issues or needs that may arise. Ms. Bustos then opened the table for question and answer.
  5. Question and Answer
    1. IDHS Chief Policy Officer, Dana Kelly stressed that one of the reasons that the meeting is being held is to really understand Joliet and how OFVP can help build capacity in the community. She said that the OFVP team knows that the funding is new at least in Joliet but the team wants to make sure that there are many organizations that can access and be participants in the effort. She added that the OFVP would like the help of everybody in identifying organizations that are capable and ready to apply for State funding. The OFVP can get these organizations started and that for organizations that won't be able to apply for this round, the OFVP can help them get ready for future applications. She emphasized that the OFVP wants to know who these organizations are and help them cultivate firearm violence prevention work in the community, identify if there are any barriers. She thanked everybody for attending the meeting.
    2. Christine Bright, Joliet LAC Lead mentioned that they have not started the asset mapping. She said they need more resources. She also shared that they have been hearing from the community and organizations especially the smaller ones that the process to apply for funding is arduous. There are a lot of hurdles and the organizations are having great difficulty. She said that it may be beneficial for those organizations and for the community if they had more research resources and to learn the process themselves so that they will be comfortable when they go out to the community and assist. She shared that they have only been pointing these organizations to the websites but they're still having some difficulty according to the council members. She said that if they can get the resources they would be able to help those organizations. She added that they may need some resources to help with the asset mapping. They had an expert who unfortunately resigned from the council. They have another person with some experience but she said they don't want to put all the work on that one person. They want to be engaged and assist in the process. Ms. Bright asked if the resources she mentioned are included in any of what has been presented.
      • Assistant Secretary Patterson answered and said that one option is for an entity in Joliet to act as a fiscal agent or the intermediary for smaller organizations that are having a hard time navigating the application process. In some neighborhoods and communities, it could be one of those larger organizations being funded by IDHS and then that organization can subcontract smaller organizations. In addition, OFVP also wants to provide some assistance and so it wants to understand what those issues are in the organizations that are having hard time navigating the process.
      • Ms. Kelly added that that there will be more content to come very soon, OFVP is working with consulting partners to develop a suite of training resources for how to access funding. She mentioned that Ernst and Young firm will be helping to put that out and will be available fairly soon for everybody even for organizations that are not current IDHS grantees.
      • Ms. Bustos also put the links to some resources at the IDHS website in the chat including the link on getting GATA pre-qualified. She encouraged members to look and check the resources to see if those would meet their needs.
      • Assistant Secretary then answered Ms. Bright's questions regarding the need for resources to do the asset mapping. He said he wants to simplify the process and then asked who among the attendees knows the ins and outs of Joliet. He added that what OFVP is looking for the asset mapping is more for the benefit of the LAC than for OFVP. He asked the questions "do we have a concrete idea of where the violence prevention organizations are or where the food pantries are?", "do we know where the food deserts exist?", "do we know where the police station and fire department are?". The first part is does the entity exist and the other part is "who do we know there?". He said that after this exercise is done, one can start to see where the strengths and weaknesses are. For example, one might know where the police station is, but that person doesn't have any relationship with it. With the help of OFVP and the LAC the relationship between these organizations can be built. What OFVP wants to know is where are the youth development providers, where are the violence prevention organizations, early childhood development, and others. The list could be long depending on how much resources does Joliet have. Assistant Secretary added that he doesn't want asset mapping to be hard, he knows it's not easy but he doesn't want it to be too challenging that a team can't do it.
      • Ms. Bright confirmed if it is basically identifying all of the resources they already have relationships with and those they don't have relationships yet; to which Assistant Secretary agreed. He added that the asset map is evolving and that the LAC will continue to build on it thus, everything does not have to be done overnight. They could identify strengths, but they could also identify the lack of resources like a food shelter. And so, Assistant Secretary said, if the LAC is able to identify what is missing, then an entity like the State organization such as IDHS could leverage a relationship to fill the gaps. The asset mapping exercise is going to give a good look into needs and resources that are currently being utilized, as well as those resources that people are not aware of.
    3. Ms. Bright also asked if there is a specific format of the asset mapping that needs to be presented.
      • Ms. Kelly put the link to the asset mapping resources in the chat. She shared that a training on asset mapping was done and there are two different resources in terms of format. She advised to review the resources as it will give an idea of how the asset map should be formatted.
      • Assistant Secretary added that he doesn't want the LAC to overthink and that the asset map will not be graded. He reiterated that the asset mapping exercises is almost completely for the benefit of the community and the LAC because the map may inform OFVP how to fund Joliet. The LAC can say where the community is really strong and where they can be better, and they can ask what OFVP can do about it. The responsibility falls on the partnership between the LAC and the OFVP.
    4. Ms. Amy Sanchez, LAC member shared that she has been recently added to the Committee and that she is very excited to be on board with the rest of her colleagues. She is eager to get started. She said there's a lot of history and good resources in Joliet and she thinks that it is the resources that a lot of people have been uplifting for a lot of years. There is a list out there in the community and as a committee, the LAC has to go through that list and figure out who's not on it, what has worked and what has not worked, what has been falling through the cracks. She shared that the youth organization that she works with is one of those. Thus, Ms. Sanchez said it is important that this initiative gets the fan flare and gets uplifted in these spaces where there are things that have traditionally just not worked or there are those hardest hits communities that have not been targeted. She shared that she is a survivor of gun violence and she is a community advocate and that she loves Joliet very much. She reiterated that she is excited to be working with all the people in the meeting and that she has a lot to bring to the table as far as the opportunities that have been discussed. She said there wasn't quite enough funding in Joliet and the process was too difficult and so the smaller organizations backed out. But altogether, they have so much potential to bring to the table and she said again that she is excited to see the future of the committee.
      • Assistant Secretary said he appreciate that Ms. Sanchez joined and the energy and information that she will be able to share. He said she "hit it right on the head" and added that if the LAC see or identify programs, the question would be is that is there any leverage within that entity, is there a point of contact, is there somebody that can be called if there is a question? The objective is to gauge whether those entities exist and whether there is a line of communication to that entity.
    5. Ms. Bright mentioned that she is the new liaison for Joliet LAC and she asked if there are any resources specific for liaisons. She asked if there are any meetings that she should be attending to make sure that she is well-informed and can pass on information to the other members of the Council.
      • Assistant Secretary suggested that Ms. Busos make a note to bring together the LAC leads and so OFVP can provide directions or some marching orders.
      • Ms. Bustos added that she can also be reached if Ms. Bright has any questions. She also put her email and phone number in the chat.
    6. Ms. Bright asked about the trainings that LAC members are required to attend as mentioned during the LAC meeting in May.
      • Ms. Kelly informed them that the LAC members will be receiving instructions about how to take all of the required training for council members. OFVP is finalizing those instructions and shared that log ins had to be created for each LAC member. For the Ethics training, Ms. Kelly directed the LAC members to the website of the Secretary of the State, although she is not sure. For the Open Meetings Act training, she will provide the link to it.
    7. Assistant Secretary requested everybody to introduce themselves -
      1. Christine Bright, newly chosen liaison of Joliet LAC which she has been a part of since it was created in May;
      2. Melvin Leach of Harvey Brooks Foundation in the East side of Joliet. He shared that the meeting at present was his first with the council;
      3. Michelle Westerhoff representing Senator Meg Loughran Cappel's office. She said the Senator could not join and thus, she is taking notes for her;
      4. Amy Sanchez shared that the meeting at present is also her first meeting with the council. She was introduced to the council by Ms. Elizabeth Protich, another LAC member. She reiterated that she is a survivor of gun violence, that she was shot in the head when she was nine years old during a gang-related drive-by shooting which led her into community work. She added that firearm violence prevention has been some of her life's work in the community and thus she is happy to join and be a part as well as follow the OFVP initiative.
      5. Elizabeth Protich has been with the council since its inception and has been working in the Joliet community in the field of violence prevention in the last 40 years. She would bring the historical perspective to the group. She has a master's degree in criminal justice with emphasis on rehabilitation and this is also for her personal reasons that is very close and dear to her heart. Ms. Sanchez is her friend and colleague and they have worked on multiple projects. Violence prevention is something she takes very seriously and she is hoping that the committee will do a really good job not only for Joliet but also for the State.
      6. Donnie Chestnutt is with the Greater Joliet YMCA and also said that the program is very dear to them. They want to impact the lives in the community. Ms. Chestnutt apologized as she has to leave early for another meeting.
      7. Patty Hall works with Ms. Chestnutt at YMCA who has introduced her to the group. This is her first meeting and she is happy to attend and be part of it.
      8. Stephen Franklin also works with Ms. Hall and Ms. Chestnutt at YMCA Greater Joliet. His program specifically oversees teenagers in high schools and in junior highs. He shared that the initiative means a lot to him in a sense and he is glad to be part of it. He added that this is his first meeting with the group as well.
      9. Assistant Secretary recommended for LAC Joliet to do a separate meeting since there are new members. He also suggested to provide their emails to Ms. Bustos so that OFVP can make sure that they are looped in on all the developments for the LACs. He asked all IDHS staff to introduce themselves in which he started on with.
      10. Ms. Kelly is the Chief Policy Officer of IDHS and she has been working with OFVP for the past year.
      11. Ms. Bustos is a Senior Policy Advisor and has been working with OFVP on RPSA.
      12. Stephanie Pointer is an Executive Assistant working with Assistant Secretary and Senior Policy Advisor, LaTanya Law.
      13. Len Conant works for OFVP and at the Office of Secretary.
  6. Assistant Secretary closed and adjourned the meeting and said that he looks forward to working with everybody and extended his appreciation once again to the dedication of the members.