To improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.
An Illinois where all citizens recognize their ability and responsibility to help strengthen their communities through voluntary service.
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
The enabling legislation of the Serve Illinois Commission (PA98-0692, 20 ILCS 2330) charges the Commission to promote and support community service in public and private programs to meet the needs of Illinois citizens, to stimulate new volunteerism and community service initiatives and partnerships, and to serve as a resource and advocate within the Department of Public Health for community service agencies, volunteers, and programs which utilize State and private volunteers.
Serve Illinois oversees all aspects of program administration and training for the AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps provides trained, dedicated people to help non-profit organizations accomplish their missions and to make more effective use of volunteers. AmeriCorps members assist in meeting locally identified community-based needs.
Serve Illinois was formed in 1979 as the Illinois Office of Voluntary Citizens Participation with a five-year grant from ACTION, the federal domestic volunteer organization. In 1985, it became the Governor’s Office of Voluntary Action. In 1991, it was transferred to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and was merged with the Senior Action Committee in the Office of Volunteer and Senior Action.
In September 1993, the federal “National Community Service Trust Act” was signed into law that called for each state to establish a state commission to administer the new AmeriCorps program. As a result, in July 1994, the Illinois State Legislature created the Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Community Service, replacing the Office of Volunteer and Senior Action.
In 1998, Serve Illinois moved to the Illinois Department of Human Services and legislation enacted in 2000 (20 ILCS 710, Chapter 1278, paragraphs 3800 to 3806) changed the name to the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and charged Serve Illinois to:
- promote and support community service in public and private programs to meet the needs of Illinois citizens;
- stimulate new volunteerism and community service initiatives and partnerships; and,
- serve as a resource and advocate within the Department of Human Services for community service agencies, volunteers, and programs which utilize State and private volunteers
In 2007, the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service adopted the title of the “Serve Illinois Commission.”
In 2014, Serve Illinois was moved from the Department of Human Services to the Illinois Department of Public Health in the Office of Preparedness and Response.