In Youth We Trust Grants

In Youth We Trust Grants

Grant Information Grant Status: Closed Applications Open: December 4, 2020 Applications Close: February 4, 2021 Awards Announced: April 2021

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 $450,000 to youth projects in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

Each year, the IYWT Council distributes up to $25,000 to community projects that are both driven by and benefit local youth, in a grant process that mirrors CFNIL’s Community Grants. 

For the 2019-2020 school year, the IYWT Grant Application will be open from December 6, 2019, to February 6, 2020. 

IYWT Grant Application IYWT Grant Guidelines IYWT Grant Budget Template



IYWT Grant Sample Budget Narrative IYWT Grant Sample Budget




To be eligible for funding, an applicant must:

  • Be part of a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit agency, public institution (such as a school), and/or organized group carrying out a charitable purpose for the public good.
  • Operate within Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and/or Winnebago County.
  • Be a group that is primarily made up of members who are 19 years of age or younger.
  • Propose a project that is planned and implemented by youth.
  • Involve youth in every aspect of the grant process – writing the application, participating in applicant interviews, implementing the project, and participating in any grant check presentation for their organization.
  • Be operated and organized so that there is no discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, veteran’s status, disability, or any other factor prohibited by applicable law.

Priority will be given to collaborative projects

The In Youth We Trust Grant Program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois looks for projects that:

  • Promote collaboration and teamwork.
  • Provide creative solutions to community issues.
  • Create community awareness and understanding of youth issues.
  • Have a clear, practical plan for implementation.
  • Have a realistic budget.

Note: There will be only one grant cycle during the 2019-20 school year.

The 2019-2020 grant application will be available from December 6, 2019 to February 6, 2020. Funds will be available in early April.

Applications are reviewed by the In Youth We Trust Council, a diverse group of 30-40 youth who make grant recommendations. The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees approves all grant awards.

Organizations may apply for a maximum of $3,500. In this year's cycle up to $25,000 will be awarded in total. 

The Community Foundation does not make grants from its In Youth We Trust Fund for the following:

  • For-profit organizations
  • Adult-inspired and implemented youth programs (Adult partners are encouraged to provide guidance but are not allowed to write the application or be the primary organizers of the project)
  • Salaries for adult advisors or coordinators
  • To individuals
  • Projects and programs that promote a religion or require participation in a religious activity as a condition for receiving services. Grants may be made to faith-based organizations for other purposes.

All applications to the IYWT Grants program must include a budget. Use the IYWT Grant Budget Template and include with your application when submitting. 

Never filled out a budget before? Read this IYWT Grant Budget Sample and IYWT Grant Sample Budget Narrative before you begin.

Did you know that the recommendations for In Youth We Trust grants are made by a Council of high school-aged youth from our four-county service area? This is just one of the great things about participating in the In Youth We Trust Council – a unique grant program that teaches grantmaking, volunteerism, and leadership skills to today’s youth, preparing them to be the positive change of tomorrow. We’re always seeking new IYWT Council members – learn more and apply today!


In Youth We Trust, the youth philanthropy program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, has been promoting leadership, volunteerism, and philanthropy with youth in northern Illinois since 1994. This year IYWT is celebrating it's 25th anniversary of awarding IYWT grants, which provide financial support for youth-led and youth-benefiting projects in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. The IYWT grant application opens December 6, 2019, and closes February 6, 2020.

Questions? Issues with your application? Contact Ciara!

Ciara Stahly
Ciara Stahly
Program Officer
Phone: 779-210-8209
Email: Ciara Stahly