The In Youth We Trust grant application will be open from December 6, 2019, until February 9, 2020 at 5 p.m.

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. Since its’ inception, IYWT has granted over $450,000 to youth projects in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

Each year, the 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. We look for a diverse groups of students who are engaged in their community, critical thinkers, open to others, and dedicated to improving the world around them.

Below you will find the application, budget template, and guidelines to help you complete the application. For the 2019-2020 school year, the IYWT Grant Application will be open from December 6, 2019, to February 6, 2020. Should you have any questions, please contact CFNIL IYWT Staff Liaison Ciara Stahly at (779) 210-8209 or

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 2018-19 school year.

The 2018-19 grant application will be available from December 6, 2018 to February 7, 2019. 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.

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.

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!

Use this budget template when submitting an application to the In Youth We Trust Grant Program.

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

IYWT Program Information

For more information about In Youth We Trust Council and Grants, review the following links:

IYWT Council Main Page

IYWT Council Informational Letter

IYWT Council Schedule

IYWT Council Attendance Policy

IYWT Council Application

IYWT Grant Information


Contact Program Associate Ciara Stahly:

+1 (779) 210-8209

Email Ciara

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