In Youth We Trust logo

In Youth We Trust - Adult/Nonprofit Grants

Grant Information Grant Status: Open Applications Open: October 8, 2021 Applications Close: November 19, 2021 Awards Announced: Mid-December 2021 Learn How to Register & Apply

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, In Youth We Trust (IYWT) teaches grantmaking, volunteerism, and leadership skills to today’s youth, preparing them to be the positive change of tomorrow. Since its inception, IYWT has granted over $500,000 to youth projects in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

This year, the IYWT Council will distribute up to $40,000 to community projects that benefit local youth. For the 2021-2022 school year IYWT will have two grant cycles: one for proposals written by nonprofit organizations (adults) for the purpose of serving youth, and one for proposals written by youth for youth-led, youth-benefiting projects. The cycle for proposals written by nonprofit organizations will open October 8, 2021, and close November 19, 2021. The cycle for proposals written by youth will open January 18, 2022, and close March 1, 2022. 

This page describes the guidelines and process to apply for the nonprofit (adult) In Youth We Trust grant cycle. Please visit this page to view details about the youth-written In Youth We Trust grant cycle.

IYWT Nonprofit/Adult Grant Application - PDF Version IYWT Nonprofit/Adult Grant Guidelines



IYWT Grant Budget Template IYWT Grant Sample Budget IYWT Grant Sample Budget Narrative




To be eligible to apply for funding from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ IYWT Grant, an applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization OR a religious organization, unit of government, or public university/college. 

Up to $19,500 will be awarded. The maximum that an organization can request is $5,000.

Who we fund:

  • Nonprofit organizations providing services or programing to youth within Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, or Stephenson counties. 

We look for proposals that:

  • Help youth recognize the important role they play within their communities,
  • Provide solutions to community issues facing youth,
  • Have a clear and practical plan for implementation,
  • Have a realistic budget, and
  • Have measurable and meaningful results.

IWT will not fund:

  • Individuals
  • For-profit organizations
  • Projects and programs that promote a religion or require participation in religious activities as a condition for receiving services. Grants may be made to faith-based organizations for other purposes.
  • Projects or organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national/ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran’s status, disability, or any other factor prohibited by applicable law.

The application for the IYWT Grant has seven sections: 

  1. Project Information: Asks for basic information about your proposal.
  2. Results: Asks  about your anticipated results, and how you intend to measure and track your results.
  3. Impact: Ask about the population you intend to serve and your organizational impact. 
  4. Promotion: Asks about how you plan to promote your charitable activity and your IYWT Grant.
  5. Budget: Asks for a detailed proposal budget and narrative.
  6. Other Information: Asks if there is anything else you would like the Council to know about your proposal.
  7. Certification: States the terms and conditions for applying for and administering a grant from CFNIL’s In Youth We Trust Program.

View a PDF version of the IYWT Nonprofit/Adult Grant Application

Applications must be submitted through CFNIL’s Web Portal (same portal used for the Community Grants program) by 5 p.m. on November 19, 2021. To learn how to register and apply using the Web Portal, visit Funds for awarded grants will be available by the beginning of February. If you are awarded the grant, there will be a grant reception held in Spring 2022 to honor and promote recipients. Contact Gabrielle Sims at or 779-210-8209 with questions. 

All proposals should  be charitable activities that serve youth directly:

  • Project – The duration of the charitable activity described in the proposal has a beginning and ending date, and lasts between one week and three years. Example: Care packages to homeless youth.
  • Program – The duration of the charitable activity described in the proposal is ongoing. Example: Safe centers for study during and after school hours.
  • Capital/Commodity – If you are purchasing equipment, a commodity, or making a minor capital improvement that will allow you to serve or further your ability to serve youth. If a capital/commodity purchase is not the primary expense of a charitable activity, choose Project/Program as appropriate. Examples: Providing sanitary supplies such as clean masks, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizers, etc.

It is important to solidify a plan on how you will measure your results and the tools you will use. Examples: surveys, how many participants attended, or receipt for item purchased.  

You are expected to submit a final report by the following October to tell us the outcome of the charitable activity using the methods of measurements you stated in your application. If you do not submit a final report you will not be eligible for funding in the future.

In Youth We Trust Adult/Nonprofit Grants Awarded: Special Cycle for 2020-2021

2021 In Youth We Trust Adult/Nonprofit Grant Recipients Announced

In Youth We Trust, the youth philanthropy program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, has announced the recipients of the 2021 IYWT Adult/Nonprofit Grants cycle. This special cycle, which was added in recognition that COVID-19 may impact the feasibility of youth-led projects, is awarding nearly $20,000 to five organizations which are providing critical services for youth and whose programs have been impacted by the pandemic.

Learn more about the IYWT Adult / Nonprofit Grant Recipients

This year the IYWT Council is awarding grants totaling nearly $40,000 for twelve projects that will benefit the youth of northern Illinois. Join us for a virtual Grants Reception video, created by and featuring IYWT Council members, testimonials from the grant recipients, and lots of celebrating!

Questions? Issues with your application? Contact Gabrielle!

Gabrielle Sims, Scholarship Associate
Gabrielle Sims
Scholarship Associate
Phone: 779-210-8209
Email: Gabrielle Sims