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Illinois Joining Forces 



The Illinois Joining Forces (IJF) mission is to establish a state-wide public and private organizational network that will identify, collaborate, and marshal available resources and services in order to create efficient access and delivery of these programs to the State’s military and veteran communities.


Illinois Joining Forces will enable:

·         A network of organizations with improved capacity, awareness, and intra-network referrals. 

·         Increased effectiveness of the many resources provided by veteran- and military-related organizations in Illinois through transparency and navigability. 

·         Robust active collaboration, as well as streamlining of duplicative services, through partnership commitments to better support veterans, service members, and their families. 

·         Production of practical, impactful policy recommendations to be included in the annual report of the State's Discharged Service Member Task Force.


IJF Member Principles  

As a community, we are committed to providing the best care and support to all those who serve and their families. Since changes in military status affect eligibility for programs, resources and benefits, we seek to build a continuum of care that addresses the needs of the entire military, veteran and family population.

No one organization can meet all needs for the entire military and veteran population. Stronger collaboration between military, government and community partners is necessary to ensure that service members, veterans and their families are connecting to the right programs, resources and benefits at the right time.

As a collaborative network of organizations who provide care and support to the military and veteran population, our goal is to be more transparent, mutually aware, and collaborative in our efforts in order to assist service members, veterans and family members in being informed and empowered to make decisions to access those programs, resources and benefits that will meet their needs.

We seek to create a “no wrong door” system through which service members, veterans and family members can access assistance. Through the Illinois Joining Forces network, organizations should have increased knowledge of the military/veteran system of care in order to assist in connecting an individual or family to the most appropriate resource(s).

Every service member, veteran and family member has an individual experience and perspective which should be acknowledged and incorporated into the provision of care and support.

Therefore, Illinois Joining Forces guiding principles are as follows:

·         Activate and increase the collaboration and communication amongst stakeholders that will close the gap of available resources to service members, veterans, and their families.  

·         Develop solution-based working groups to overcome obstacles in delivery of quality services. 

·         Provide common-sense and real-time solutions to policy makers that target inefficiencies and redundancies in the delivery of services and programs.


IJF Organizational Principles  

All public and not-for-profit organizations with a veteran- or military-specific program are invited to join Illinois Joining Forces as members, signing a membership memorandum and thereby committing to and benefiting from active collaboration with other IJF members. IJF membership memoranda of understanding (MOU) are tailored for three different types of organizations: not-for-profit (NFP), public, and public federal. Affiliate membership is also available for NFP organizations without a veteran- or military-specific program but desiring to support the work of IJF.

Beginning on November 9, 2012, all eligible organizations may obtain Provisional Membership simply by creating a member profile on the Illinois Joining Forces online platform. Provisional Memberships will expire on February 1, 2013 and are intended to allow for immediate trial participation while creating the time and space for organizations to pursue the internal discussions and approvals necessary to sign membership memoranda. Upon signing and submitting an IJF Membership MOU, Provisional Members transition to full (public or NFP) or affiliate members.


Member Expectations

Members pledge to the following member organization principles:

·         The interests of the service member, veteran, or family member seeking assistance will be our paramount priority. 

·         Integrity of the information and services provided to the military and veteran communities will engender respect and support for our initiatives and programs. 

·         Diligent and active engagement will be our hallmark when our networked partners coordinate essential care and services for service members, veterans, or family members. 

·         Members should only offer programs, services and resources that they are equipped or trained to deliver and maintain this standard while conducting outreach and engagement to the military and veteran communities.

Members are expected to confirm or update at least monthly on the IJF online platform current organizational information regarding services, hours, locations, and events.

Members commit to actively participate in Working Group(s) by attending meetings, offering expertise and insights and, wherever possible, contributing resources to the collaborative projects of the Working Groups;

When possible, members will use the IJF web-based platform to make and accept referrals to and from other organizations; and

Members may choose to cease their membership of Illinois Joining Forces at any time of their choosing.


Member Benefits

·         Recognition for going above and beyond your organizational profile by participating in a state-wide cause that demonstrates your commitment to the overall mission of improving the quality of life of all service members, veterans, and their families; 

·         Direct engagement with public (from federal to local) and private entities that are aligned with your interests, thus creating synergies and opportunities for partnered effort; 

·         Access to a real-time forum designed to allow collaboration, while reducing friction and closing gaps, in order to advance projects/efforts/programs of mutual interest; 

·         A steady presence on the IJF proactive web-based platform, with an active profile and network that will allow your organization to increase outreach efforts to a larger community and broader population through active referrals and searches for services and support from military members, veterans, and their families;  

·         Participation in a multi-layered state-wide network which provides an opportunity to share and broaden each other’s network and support system(s); and 

·         When desired, active participation in the policy process that affects the military and veteran community via Working Group discussions and resultant policy recommendations for possible inclusion in the annual Illinois Discharged Service Member Task Force report.


Organizational Structure

Illinois Joining Forces will serve as a coordination focal point for organizations across Illinois, which in turn will lead to a more navigable system of support for service members, veterans, and their families. This will be accomplished in part through the creation of several issues-focused Illinois Joining Forces Working Groups that will capitalize on the cross-sector expertise and perspectives of participating organizations.

Working Groups

1.    Homelessness and Housing

2.    Education

3.    Employment and Job Training

4.    Behavioral Health

5.    Disability Benefits

6.    Access to Medical Care

7.    Financial Literacy

8.    Families and Children

9.    Emergency Assistance

10. Legal Support


Types of Membership

While all members commit to IJF guiding principles, organizational commitments vary depending on organization type. All members pledge to member principles and to participating in Working Groups as able. However, some types of membership are more limited in nature. For example, public federal entities have the option to limit referral activity on the online platform, so as not to create duplicate Patient Advocate or VSO services. Also, affiliate members have a more limited online profile in terms of referral capabilities. Details on membership types and commitments can be found in respective Membership MOU’s.

Download Program Overview: Illinois Joining Forces - Program Overview.pdf

For more information and/or to become a member of IJF, please visit: