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Youth granting youth the power to lead and change our community.

In Youth We Trust is a youth philanthropy program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Established with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1994 and endowed by a local donor, this program teaches grantmaking, volunteerism, and leadership skills to today’s youth, preparing them to be the positive change of tomorrow.

In Youth We Trust Council Member Responsibilities

  • Attend required meetings and activities (approximately once per month on Saturday mornings during the school year).
  • Learn and understand the purpose of In Youth We Trust and the mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.
  • Learn grantmaking guidelines and procedures.
  • Prepare for and participate in grant review meetings.
  • Evaluate applications based on guidelines, community impact, and budget.
  • Identify and inform the In Youth We Trust Council of the needs of youth in the community.
  • Be an advocate for the In Youth We Trust program.

Membership Information

If you want more information about In Youth We Trust, download the following documents:

IYWT Information

IYWT Schedule

IYWT Attendance Policy

IYWT Application


Contact Sarah Lambert

  +1 (815) 962-2110 ext 17

  Sarah Lambert

Council Members & Community Advisors


Mary Seigel – President
Anshu Goyal – Vice President/Secretary
Brent Blaesing – Grants Officer
Mariam Durvesh – Membership Officer
Ariadna Fernandez – Volunteer Officer
Kaylee Whitenack – Marketing/Communications Officer


Joanna Bares
Chris Janke
M. Beth Thacker


Em Alexander
Aryan Arora
Alex Bauling
Alexis Bialas
Brent Blaesing
Adam Bohn
Lauren Brunette
Olivia Cattage
Joanna Drake
Mariam Durvesh
Josie Fenton
Ariadna Fernandez
Anshu Goyal
Nolan Hensley
Jack Holmstrom


Samantha Janke
Tamara Kljaic
Bridget Krysztopa
Bibi Milan
Clara Ortega
Amari Richardson
Yanit Rodriguez
Jose Salinas
Caitlin Schoepfer
Mary Seigel
Divya Thomas
Ben Tousey
Swati Vattem
Kaylee Whitenack


Step One: review the IYWT Information Page
Step Two: Attend the IYWT Kickoff Meeting
Step Three: Decide you’re willing and able to attend most meetings and activities
Step Four: Complete and submit the membership application and submit a letter of recommendation no later than October 1st
Step Five: Interview with current IYWT members before the October 15 meeting

The deadline for joining In Youth We Trust for the 2016-2017 school year has passed. If you’re still interested in joining, contact Sarah Lambert.

As part of the grant process each year, In Youth We Trust Council members review grant applications for youth projects, evaluate the applications, and interview the applicants. In addition to participating in the grant review program, members take part in many community-building activities including volunteer work and planning community events for youth.

In 1993, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois was one of 20 community foundations selected by the Ford Foundation to be part of a program called Changing Communities: Diverse Needs. The Foundation suggested to Ford that the best way to bring a community together was to bring youth together.

In the summer of 1994, the Community Foundation gathered a diverse group of youth inspired by the notion that youth could partner with other youth to improve their community. The In Youth We Trust grant program began in 1995 and since then, the In Youth We Trust Council has recommended the distribution of over $350,000 to local youth led organizations.

In Youth We Trust, made up of high-school-age youth from across the region, is a program that engages young people in community service and philanthropy by giving them resources and opportunities to help solve problems affecting their peers and their quality of life.

In Youth We Trust Council members are directly involved in the In Youth We Trust Grant Program. They help set grant policy, review youth inspired service project proposals, and recommend distribution of $20,000 a year in grants to selected youth projects.

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