What is the FRVI?
Fox River Valley Initiative is 17 religious and civic institutions organized across Kane County Illinois. We are an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), part of the oldest and largest network of broad-based citizen organizations in the country. Primarily funded by member institution dues, we do not accept public money. We are fiercely non-partisan, neither running nor endorsing any candidates for political office and work with all public officials of good will. However, each affiliate organization is also unapologetically dedicated to building relational power (organized people, organized money) to address issues impacting the people within its institutions and local geographic area. FRVI is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest organizing network in the country with over 65 organizations in the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Australia.
To learn about how you can get involved at this time, please contact FRVI Coordinator, Greg Pierce, at 773.590.3801 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fox River Valley Initiative grew out of interest at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Illinois for a way to complement direct service to the poor with efforts to address institutional injustice. A series of forums at Bethlehem in late 2008 and 2009 helped its members understand how they could catalyze an organizing drive in the region.
During 2009 and 2010, Bethlehem leaders and IAF organizers began meeting with religious and civic leaders in the adjacent towns of the Valley. They uncovered interest across many religious denominations and in many different towns. In late 2010, this “sponsoring group” of leaders approached DuPage United to see if they would be interested in partnering to bring broad-based organizing to the Fox River Valley.
On May 30, 2013 120 people from across the valley gathered for their first ever leaders assembly. The assembly drew in member and non-member institutions that were very diverse: Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, association members, and non-profit leaders. Bishop Jeffrey D. Lee from the Episcopal Dioceses of Chicago gave the keynote and charged the audience to not sit idle and to work together for change.
2018-2019 Key Accomplishments
EXERCISE IN TRUE DEMOCRACY: WON COMMITMENT TOWARDS ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WITH NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ILLINOIS. On March 11, 2018 the IL Metro IAF member congregations and organizations assembled 1257 people with the 10 candidates for Attorney General winning a commitment from each candidate to meet with the groups within 30 days, if elected. All candidates agreed to do so. (Video of candidates’ commitment). Daily Herald Letter to the Editor about the event
ENDING THE INCARCERATION OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCING MENTAL ILLNESS AND/OR ADDICTION. Over the next 5 years, recidivism will cost Illinois over $16.7 billion if trends continue.
Increased Crisis intervention training for law enforcement
- A robust network of properly trained law enforcement officers to identify and de-escalate encounters with people who are suffering from mental illness and/or addiction. Since receiving a commitment from State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and then Sheriff Donald Kramer over 4 years ago Kane County created their own Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) certified training. Since October 2017 170 officers from 26 Kane County Police Agencies have been trained.
- Expanded and Increased availability of Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs) where police, EMS, family or friends can quickly offer people treatment and not incarceration or costly emergency department stays. We have researched and related to eight hospital networks throughout the region to better understand their emergency mental health responses and identified key allies interested in crisis stabilization services. We leveraged a commitment from Presence Mercy in Aurora to establish a CSU and $1 millions dollars for the capital costs.
- FRVI along with our sister organizations are working to address the medicaid reimbursement rate to help hospitals cover the costs of a CSU. On March 21, 2019 we met with Governor Pritzker on this issue. On March 25 we met with Deputy Governor Flores and HFS Director Eagleson who made a commitment to address the medicaid issue by July 1. This change will allow CSUs across the state to open up.
- We helped create and coordinate a Kane County Jail re-entry program to link ex-offenders who have mental illness with appropriate treatment and housing resources once they leave jail.
BUILDING AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE HOUSING FOR INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND YOUNG ADULTS. Throughout Illinois, our sister organizations have led efforts to create a mix of rental and single family homes, some including supportive services for people with a variety of disabilities. We have leveraged over $147 million of state resources for the construction of affordable housing. In February 2019 FRVI fought and won 48 units of permanent supportive affordable units in Elgin. To expand this effort we are working to:
- Create the base of support for housing through our member institutions and allies
- Identifying land and other resources
- Cultivating relationships with potential developers to create more housing in both counties.
DEMANDING GUN MANUFACTURERS DO THEIR PART TO PREVENT “CRIME GUN” SALES AND CREATE NEW GUN SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES. Our tax dollars buy 40% of the guns in America, which are used by the military and law enforcement. This means we have enormous market power. Since 2013, United Power for Action and Justice (our sister organization in Cook County) and other Metro IAF organizations have led a market-based campaign called Do Not Stand Idly By (DNSIB) to reduce gun-violence .
- Together, we have the power to reshape the gun industry to sell its products through a first-rate network of dealers and utilize “smart” technology, reducing stolen guns, suicides and accidental shootings. Faith based pension funds, municipal funds, and individual investors of American Outdoor Brands Corp (Smith & Wesson) and Sturm, Ruger & Co., passed a shareholder resolution May and September of 2018 that hold these gun companies accountable to the principles outlined above.
- We have commitments from 135 public entities across the country, including Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon and Sheriff Ron Hain, who are willing to leverage their purchasing power to change this industry. http://donotstandidlyby.org, twitter @DontStandIdlyBy
EDUCATION & TRAINING
- Published and distributed 1,000 brochures on crisis stabilization for education and discussion on mental health and crisis stabilization in member organizations.
- Sent leaders to two 3-day IAF trainings
- Presented mini-trainings to member and potential member institutions.