Summit Success and Open for Business to Military, Veterans and Families
The second annual Illinois Joining Forces Summit was held earlier his month at the Union League Club of Chicago. The Summit was a great success, bringing together 225 leaders from agencies and organizations across Illinois. Together, these organizations are working through Illinois Joining Forces to create a "no wrong door" system of support for Illinois service members, veterans, and their families.
This Summit also marked the launch of version 2.0 of the IJF website, through which Illinois Service Members, Veterans, and their Families can better search for and connect directly with local support and services. There is no cost for these services and individuals do NOT have to sign-up to use the "Find Resources" section of the website to search for services and programs from IJF member organizations - or to receive help directly the IJF Support Team in finding the right resource.
IJF Summit attendees heard from national leaders, learned about IJF membership changes and focus areas for 2014, and met with their respective Working Groups. IJF's Working Groups have built good momentum over the last year, identifying and taking on gaps in services and support - from training community behavioral health providers, to creating a legal referral network, to developing financial education materials for service members. nbsp;
Meet your new IJF Admin Support team - 12/3/13
We would like to introduce the new IJF Program Manager, Elisabeth Pennix, as well as Kirk Williams and Anthony Bellin. They will all be part of the IJF Admin Team going forward. Elisabeth is full-time staff at IDVA who reports to the Director, Erica Borggren, Kirk and Anthony are full-time Americorps members with IDVA who will relieve Dale as he transitions out in February 2014.
A big thanks to Dale for all of his hard work in the past year putting this event together with Christofer Nelson of The Impact Center, and welcome aboard Elisabeth, Kirk and Anthony!
IJF Newsletter – Second Edition 10/30/13
This week we released the second edition of the IJF newsletter, providing IJF members and the larger community with updates about Illinois Joining Forces activities and ways to be involved. The second edition is now available here:
If you received the newsletter, please forward it to a friend! If you didn’t, you may sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Change is in the wind - 8/26/13
The IJF Executive Committee held its quarterly business meeting last week to continue looking at the way forward as IJF continues to grow. In addition to regular updates on working group progress and sharing ideas for collaboration across working groups—which the Executive Committee does on a monthly basis—this quarterly meeting included discussion of new 2014 priorities and new working groups that will be announced at the December 10th Annual Summit. The Executive Committee also discussed new ways of involving and recognizing members for their contributions to IJF. Be sure to check back this fall for more information about these changes – and to register for the Summit!
IJF Financial Literacy Working Group - 8/8/13
On July 17, 2013, Illinois Attorney General’s Military and Veterans Rights Bureau joined the Illinois Joining Forces Financial Literacy Working Group, including the Cook County Veterans Assistance Commission, Money Management International, Illinois Joint Family Support Assistance Program, Leveling the Playing Field, and USAA to celebrate the first annual Military Consumer Protection Day.
This broad coalition shared tips and information about benefits for Illinois veterans, legal rights for Illinois service members, money management, dealing with credit and debt, building savings, protecting personal information, recognizing identity theft and avoiding consumer fraud.
The IJF Financial Literacy working group is committed to ensuring that all service members, veterans and their families are equipped with the knowledge and resources they need to manage their money, plan for the future and address other critical financial issues relevant to this community.
The Illinois Attorney General's Military and Veterans Rights Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that veterans and active duty military service members receive the benefits they have earned by serving our country. The Bureau provides men and women with the information they need to understand their rights and programs to help obtain them. For more information and assistance, contact the Military and Veterans Rights Hotline at 1-800-382-3000 or visit
http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/rights/veterans.html for free resources for veterans and service members.
IJF Legal Support Working Group - 7/26/13
This working group has grown in membership and momentum in recent months. The Group aims to build a statewide referral network of veteran/military-friendly attorneys and has already fielded many referrals for individual veterans and military members needing legal assistance. The Group also continues to plan a series of “Military/Veteran 101” training sessions tailored to the Legal Community; the first training will be in Madison/St. Clair counties in September.
The IJF Newsletter - 6/7/13
We’ve launched an IJF newsletter to provide IJF members and the larger community with updates about Illinois Joining Forces activities and ways to be involved. The first edition is now available here:
IJF Executive Committee Update - 5/31/13
The IJF Exec Committee – comprising the Chairs of all the IJF Working Groups plus representatives of every level of government – meets monthly to update each other on Working Group progress and provide feedback from member organizations. At May’s Executive Committee meeting, the group continued planning on the IJF Annual Summit (likely in December), worked through ways to “incentivize” member organizations updating their profiles and using the website for referrals, and the development of an IJF newsletter and brochures. Several Working Group Chairs also walked away with ideas for collaborative projects with other Working Groups whose work intersects theirs – look for these developments at your next Working Group meeting!
Provisional Membership Expires - 5/23/13
IJF Provisional Memberships Expired on May 9th, six months after the IJF Launch Summit. We now have more than 120 organizations – including federal VA elements, multiple state agencies, county Veterans Assistance Commissions, the City of Chicago, and scores of not-for-profit organizations – formally signed on for IJF membership. With the website more fully developed (and continuing upgrades planned), member organizations are encouraged to update their profiles, add their next event, and use the system to find services and refer veterans. Together, we can keep the momentum going!
We heard you! The IJF Leadership team has heard from several IJF member organizations that desire greater in-person connection to and networking with other IJF organizations in their area.
The IJF Leadership Team is now prepared to support local gatherings initiated by any IJF member organization. IJF members across the state are invited to host local in-person gatherings that provide: