Minutes of the meeting between OFVP and Rockford, December 9, 2022

Friday, December 9, 2022, 1:00-2:00pm

Meeting Recording


  1. Desire Childress - Beautiful Beginnings; LAC member
  2. Representative Maurice West - LAC member
  3. Chip Stoner - LAC member
  4. Jennifer Cacciapaglia - LAC member
  5. Thomas McNamara - Mayor, Rockford; LAC member
  6. Janene Stephenson - Her Sister Youth Program; LAC member
  7. Rev Marvin Hightower - LAC member
  8. Marcus Hill - LAC member
  9. Anqunette Parham - LAC member
  10. John Johnson - LAC member
  11. Tretara Flowers - LAC member
  12. Vernice Scott - Beautiful Beginnings
  13. Marlana Dokken - County of Winnebago, Director, Chairman's Office of Criminal Justice Initiatives
  14. Joshua Patterson - Comprehensive Community Solutions
  15. William Chatman - CEO, Comprehensive Community Solutions
  16. Phil Smith - Comprehensive Community Solutions
  17. Senator Steve Stadelman
  18. Chris Patterson - IDHS-OFVP, Assistant Secretary
  19. LaTanya Law2 - IDHS, Senior Policy Advisor
  20. Awisi Bustos - IDHS, Senior Policy Advisor
  21. Reshma Desai - IDHS, Senior Policy Advisor


  1. Opening/RPSA Overview and Update
    • Assistant Secretary Christopher Patterson welcomed everybody and introduced himself as the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFVP) at the Department of Human Services.
    • He also introduced the Reimagined Public Safety Act (RPSA) which created the OFVP and has made a historic commitment of $250 million investment to address firearm violence across the State of Illinois. The goal of RPSA and the meeting is to deepen OFVP's relationship with youth development services providers that worked previously with IDHS and also add new services that will address firearm violence and its holistic root causes.
    • From the original $250 million funds, Assistant Secretary said there's a little over $65 million that was allocated for fiscal years 23 and 24. An overview of the grants awarded showed that 28 grantees were awarded with violence prevention funds in Chicago; 22 grantees awarded with youth development funds statewide; six technical assistance grantees statewide; four high risk youth intervention in Chicago; and 21 conveners in Chicago. He mentioned that OFVP is making sure that all providers who will received RPSA funds will have the technical assistance and training. Assistant Secretary also mentioned the $7 million amendment requests received from current grantees so that they can provide additional services and to have enough staff for each program and for each area that the grantees provide services. He reminded providers to always put staff in their proposals to make sure that there are people working in each area.
    • Assistant Secretary also mentioned the 19 applications under review for Greater Illinois Violence Prevention Services, 28 applications for Greater Illinois Youth Intervention Services, 18 applications for Greater Illinois Trauma Informed Behavior Health Services. He stated that the meeting is part giving an update and part petition to keep reaching out to providers in the area and make them aware of the funding opportunities which will reopen soon and encourage them to apply.
  2. Local Advisory Council Process
    • In accordance to RPSA, Ms. Awisi Bustos said that the OFVP convened 16 Local Advisory Councils (LACs) with over 150 members across the State. The LACs made recommendations to the OFVP on how to best allocate violence prevention resources and the results of the recommendations were translated to funding strategies that can be found in the IDHS website.
  3. Recommendations Primary Findings - The most salient points from the LAC recommendations according to Ms. Bustos, include:
    1. The need for violence prevention services that included street outreach, victim services and case management;
    2. The need for a flexible source of youth intervention funding that would target a broad age range of youth most at risk of being involved in community violence;
    3. The need for additional trauma informed behavioral health supports that specifically target those individuals (primarily youth) most at risk of being involved in community violence; and
    4. Continued investment in traditional models of youth development that focus on engaging school involved youth and optimizing personal and educational outcomes.
  4. Recommendations - Other Findings - Ms. Bustos also shared the other findings from the LAC recommendations which included -
    1. Need for resources to address racism and historical disinvestment in communities of color, financial stability and mobility, and family violence.
    2. Need for technical assistance and capacity building resources that will allow small organizations to succeed in the violence prevention space.
    3. Support for community collaboration inclusive of schools, police, healthcare institutions, park districts, cultural partners, and non-profit advocates.
  5. NOFO Service Offerings - Analyzing the recommendations, OFVP's first priority was to build offerings that reflected the LAC recommendations. Ms. Bustos outlined the NOFO direct service offerings that were previously offered to Greater Illinois under RPSA:
    • Youth Development Greater Illinois - closed September 8
    • Violence Prevention Greater Illinois - closed September 16
    • Youth Intervention Greater Illinois - closed September 19
    • Greater Illinois Trauma Informed Behavioral Health Services - closed October 14
    • Ms. Bustos also mentioned the Technical Assistance, Training, and Capacity Building NOFO that was issued September 30, 2022 to assist grantees with implementing violence prevention services and other related services in Greater Illinois. The application was closed November 2, 2022. IDHS also issued the Greater Illinois Violence Prevention Council Coordinator NOFO on October 7, 2022 to select one lead agency per community that can continue convening the LACs and expand the body to include additional violence prevention expertise. The application closed on November 9, 2022. Ms. Bustos added that OFVP will be providing more information and announcements with regards to the results of the applications in the coming weeks.
    • In response to other feedback received in relation to social determinants of health, Ms. Bustos said IDHS is curating resources internally, and with partner agencies to provide technical assistance to communities and help connect them to all existing resources that address these factors.
  6. Translating Recommendations to Funding: Layered Strategy
    • According to Ms. Bustos, there is a total of $100 million to give out in Greater Illinois. The first round's strategy has been centered around assessing capacity to identify capable organizations to apply. OFVP wants to gauge where the gaps in order to build capacity and fill in the areas of need.
    • As previously mentioned, OFVP is also working on building up capacity while soliciting applications. The office is working with organizations that lack current capacity to apply to build capacity through the help of Ernst and Young firm, by providing technical assistance and training, and thru community organizing.
    • The OFVP is also working to ensure all funding is aligned with the need and will be re-releasing more opportunities in the coming weeks to get more organizations to participate.
  7. Spread the Word
    • Ms. Bustos said that OFVP is asking support by spreading the word about the funding opportunities. Most NOFOs are already closed but new ones will be available in the near future. She added that the media tool kit will be shared, and everybody is encouraged to share it to any organizations.
    • Ms. Bustos also shared a forthcoming IDHS activity which is the Pre-Applicant Training for organizations interested in applying for RSPA funding or those who just want to learn what the requirements are in doing business with the State. The training is on December 15th from 1pm to 2pm.
  8. Next Steps
    • As previously mentioned, OFVP is asking support by spreading the word about the funding opportunities and encourage all eligible organizations to apply. The office is also asking the community to ramp up capacity building efforts to ensure that organizations are well equipped to successfully secure grants. The LAC is asked to revise and complete their community asset mapping. Further, the community is encouraged to identify larger organizations and encourage them to explore primary and sub-recipient relationships with smaller organizations. The LAC is also asked to continue holding meetings and keep OFVP abreast of any pressing issues that may arise.
  9. Community Updates - LAC Member, Jennifer Cacciapaglia of Rockford LAC provided updates on their initiatives in relation to RPSA -
    • Engaged with two grassroot organizations to help support their application for funds. She mentioned that they may have received award for one of the applications which is for the Violence Prevention Services grant. The grant will be for the establishment of a 24-hour violence interruption response and outreach program in collaboration with 805 Get Connected. They are also following the award of Youth Intervention Services grant for Comprehensive Community Solutions under Will Chapman's leadership.
    • Engaged in community listening sessions when their office opened around domestic and sexual violence, and the gaps in the community around that; and engaged in a broader community listening session around gaps for youth experiencing trauma and the supports that they need on the streets. She shared that the two primary indicators that came out of the listening sessions were need for support around reaching youth inside of juvenile detention centers to better prepare them when they are coming back into the community; and that there are challenges to getting basic information that prevent community members to take the next steps in their lives like birth certificates, driver's licenses, etc. As a response to the second issue, their office held community fairs in conjunction with Senator Stadelman and Representative West during the summer and spring. They were able to have people come and apply for jobs during the fairs. Some people received their birth certificate onsite. There were still challenges for the driver's license applications, but they are working with the office of the Secretary of State to improve their response because they intend to continue holding community fairs.
    • Launched a park summer camp in conjunction with the park district and a pilot mentorship training program for counselors who worked with the participants during the summer camp. Ms. Cacciapaglia shared some of their learnings during the mentorship training program -
      • 91.7% of the trainees reported having a better understanding of the ways trauma manifests in their post assessment tests which is 58% higher from their pre-assessment.
      • 91% of the trainees reported that they had a better understanding of the role as a mentor which is 50% higher from their pre-assessment.
    • Ms. Caccipaglia also shared that they are in the process of reevaluating the park's program and they are looking forward to building off the formal mentorship program in the coming year.
    • Assistant Secretary shared that the OFVP has been talking with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) with regards to a strategy that would also allow street outreach practitioners and case managers to intersect with young people who are incarcerated and encouraged Ms. Cacciapaglia to not hesitate to reach out to him in case they would need a push from OFVP's end or if they would need OFVP to be present in some conversations.
    • Ms. Desire Childress of Beautiful Beginnings asked how they can get some information with regards to gang prevention, helping kids involved in shootings and at risk of getting involved; they would like to know who they can contact regarding funding because they are dealing with an overwhelming number of cases.
    • Assistant Secretary asked the OFVP team to leave their contact information in the chat and so they can provide the needed resources thru IDHS. He is also hoping that the LAC could provide other resources as well to fill in the gaps. He added that Ms. Childress' question is exactly what the purpose of OFVP is, how does a community like Rockford have a direct line with the State government and OFVP is working diligently to fill in the gaps and give support in real time.
  10. Question and Answer
    • Ms. Vernice Scott of Beautiful Beginnings commented that in creating a map for Rockford, people who work on the field, regardless of their educational attainment, with or without degree should be included in the map and be able to receive grant or funding as well.
    • Assistant Secretary said that the Governor's intention with RPSA is that every provider and every eligible entity can apply for funding. He said they can reach out to OFVP, and they can apply as long as they meet the requirements including the GATA certification. He added that the OFVP does not want particularly nonprofit organizations who are eligible to be working out of their pockets in serving those in need. They should have the support of State offices and other offices. He shared that OFVP is also working with not just the large organizations but also the small organizations that have never received state funding or doesn't have a long track record of being a State grantee. He advised Ms. Childress to send that information to OFVP and make sure every individual who's doing the work that she mentioned has an opportunity to review the notice of funding opportunities.
    • Representative Maurice West shared that they are looking for even smaller advocates to learn more about the funding and that they will have a meeting on December 21st at 2:30 pm with OFVP to discuss resources and capacity building for small non-profit organizations. He asked everybody to share the meeting details with any small non-profit organizations. He said that the contact persons for the meeting is himself, Senator Stadelman, Marcus Hill and Tonya Turner.
    • Senator Steve Stadelman added that they want to make sure that all organizations no matter the size is has the opportunity to take advantage of the funding to address real challenges in the community. He also asked to help them spread the word to any community or individuals who may able to tap into opportunity but just doesn't know how to work the process.
    • Ms. Cacciapaglia circled back on Ms. Scott's comment and said that they helped two small organizations in securing grants although they were not the lead on those and they did not write the grants. They were on the back end to support the nonprofits to get the funds. She mentioned that they are working with Ms. Tretara Flower's organization who has a full curriculum and is regularly meeting with smaller nonprofits to help build up capacity. She encouraged Ms. Childress to reach out to Ms. Flowers especially right now because they have an ongoing mentorship for smaller organizations which is supported by the City of Rockford. She added that they are also open for conversations in case they need help to fill in some gaps in the community.
    • Assistant Secretary mentioned again the pre-applicant training on December 15th that IDHS is holding from 1pm to 2pm which is also an opportunity for smaller organizations to build their capacity in applying for state funding.
    • Ms. Scott shared that she hopes that follow ups will continue and that everybody can reach out to each other and see progress. She said it's hard when everybody is trying to make progress but there is no follow ups and they don't know what steps can be taken to keep updated.
    • Mr. Marcus Hill extended his appreciation for the meeting and for the opportunity given to them to help the community.
    • Since there were no other questions, Assistant Secretary adjourned the meeting.