Illinois Dept. of Veterans' Affairs Newsletter            March 2014

Illinois State Budget 

and Veterans' Affairs


On Wednesday, March 26, Gov. Pat Quinn - already recognized as a strong advocate for veterans - proposed to the General Assembly his Administration's FY 2015 Budget.  As in past years, Gov. Quinn stood by Illinois veterans, requesting increased funding for Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs programs. 


Gov. Quinn's budget includes full funding for IDVA's veteran programs.  It allows for the continued operation of IDVA's four Veterans' Homes, Veteran Service Offices, and Grant Programs.  


In short, the budget highlights Gov. Quinn's commitment to those who served and their families.


The budget proposed by Gov. Quinn relies on the legislature taking action on a number of fiscal issues.  Absent action on this front, IDVA and other agencies face a more than 20% budget cut which would likely result in the closure of multiple IDVA Veterans' Homes and many of IDVA's Veteran Service Offices, among other programmatic cuts.


Veterans concerned about future services provided by IDVA should pay close attention to the debate in Springfield, and make known to their local legislators the importance of finding a way to avoid radical budget cuts to services for our veterans.

Entrepreneur Event at SWIC

Downstate Veterans!  A Great Event, Just for You!


Mission: Veterans 2 Entrepreneurs (MV2E) is an Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and Central Management Services joint-led initiative that provides veterans and service members with information, resources and assistance on becoming a successful business owner.


The next MV2E training seminar will take place on Tuesday, April 29th and is specifically designed for military veterans seeking to launch their own business and existing veteran-owned businesses looking to expand their operations.


The seminar is a free, unique opportunity for veteran entrepreneurs and business owners to access expert training on starting and growing a successful business. Attendees will have the opportunity to choose from one of three tracks based on where their business is in the entrepreneurial process:  concept, start-up, or established. 


Where:    Southwestern Illinois College - Liberal Arts Complex (2311/2313)

               2500 Carlyle Ave. Belleville, IL 62221

When:      Tuesday, April 29th.

Time:       8:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


To register, please visit:   Mission: Veterans 2 Entrepreneurs Training Seminar   

Hiring Our Heroes


The 2014 Hiring Our Heroes event in Chicago was a huge success, with over 1,000 job-seeking veterans, military personnel and family members in attendance, as well as over 100 Chicago-area businesses on site to hire for immediate job openings. 


There are several other Hiring Our Heroes events in Illinois and across the region.  Check the calendar listing below or visit here to find one near you.  


Champion of Change!    


On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, IDVA Director Erica Borggren and 9 other women veterans from across the nation were named Champions of Change in a White House ceremony. 


Borggren and top leaders in the Illinois Departments of Veterans Affairs and Military Affairs helped create Illinois Joining Forces (IJF), a public-private network of nearly 200 military and veteran-serving organizations working together to create a "no wrong door" system of support for Illinois service members, veterans and their families.



IJF member organizations work together online at, where they post services and events and refer veteran clients to each other. In addition, they continue their mission in person through IJF Working Groups, where they identify gaps in services and work to bridge those gaps. For information on IJF membership, visit.


IJF's website is open to veterans, military and family members who need help in the following:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Benefits & Emergency Assistance
  • Education
  • Employment & Job Training
  • Families, Children & Survivors
  • Financial Literacy
  • Homelessness & Housing
  • Legal Support
  • Women Veterans 
Veteran of the Month - March 2014

 Akeela White


The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) recognized Akeela White - a U.S. Army veteran, distinguished veteran leader, and the Asst. Gen. Counsel in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Legal Department for JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A - as the Illinois Veteran of the Month at a ceremony in Chicago on Monday, March 17.


White's eight year Army career included service in Active, Guard, and Reserve units.  She deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she performed combat supply missions with hundreds of hours of convoy operations across Iraq and narrowly survived an IED attack on Thanksgiving Day, 2003.


After returning from Iraq, she enrolled at the John Marshall Law School and was one of eight inaugural students at the Veterans Legal Support Center, assisting other veterans. After passing the Bar, she worked in the Illinois Attorney General's Office as Assistant Bureau Chief of the Military and Veterans' Rights Bureau, assisting veterans, and in 2013 she became the Chair of the Illinois Joining Forces Financial Literacy Working Group.


The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and make a real difference in the lives of others. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit the IDAV website and learn more!

Your IDVA Calendar  



April 15          Combat to College Conference - ISU, Normal, IL 


Tax Day 


April 22-25      Annual IDVA Veteran Service Officer (VSO) Training - VSO Offices Closed


April 24          Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Evansville, IN 


April 29          Mission: Veterans 2 Entrepreneurs Training Event - SWIC, Belleville IL


Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Chicago, IL


May 26           Memorial Day - State Offices Closed


June 5            Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Peoria, IL

 Events Subject to Change

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