In Youth We Trust Council

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.

The In Youth We Trust Council is made up of high-school-age youth from Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. Council members engage in direct community service as well as philanthropy; the Council is directly involved in the In Youth We Trust Grant Program administration. They help set grant policy, review youth inspired service project proposals, and will recommend distribution of grant awards. This year, the IYWT Council will distribute up to $40,000 to community projects that benefit local youth. 

View IYWT Council 2022 - 2023 Schedule   Apply now to be part of the 2022 - 2023 IYWT Council!

Check out the 2022 - 2023 IYWT Council Membership Flyer!

In Youth We Trust Council membership recruitment flyer 2022-2023

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 $500,000 to local youth led organizations.

The In Youth We Trust Council, made up of high-school-age youth from across the region, 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 up to $40,000 this year in grants to selected youth projects. 

The IYWT Council meets approximately one Saturday morning a month during the school year. As part of the IYWT 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 addition to attending required meetings and activities, IYWT Council members:

  • Learn and understand the purpose of IYWT 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 IYWT Council of the needs of youth in the community;
  • Advocate for the IYWT program. 

Step One: review the IYWT Council Informational Letter
Step Two: Attend the IYWT Council Kickoff Meeting, held Saturday, September 17th, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.
Step Three: Decide you’re willing and able to attend most meetings and activities
Step Four: Complete and submit the membership application by October 1st and submit a letter of recommendation no later than Friday, October 14th, 2022
Step Five: Applicants will be notified prior to the October 15th meeting of their acceptance.

The deadline for joining In Youth We Trust this year is October 1, 2022. If you’re interested in joining or have questions, contact Ariel Thompson.


Casey Bohn – Hononegah High School
Trell Chapman – Legacy Academy of Excellence
Jaida Cunningham - Rockford Lutheran High School 
Ella Ellingson – North Boone High School
Finn Enright – Boylan Catholic High School
Isabella Enright - Rockford East High School
Jay Gupta - Auburn High School
Niles Hite - Rockford Lutheran High School


Krithik Sai Karunamurthy Premanad - Hononegah High School
Arun Kumar - Hononegah High School
Jackie Kuroda - Guilford High School
Trinity Lambert - Belvidere North High School
Luke Manthuruthil - Boylan Catholic High School
Kirshaun McGee - Auburn High School

Madison Ost - Rochelle Township High School
Jalen Robinson - Rockford Lutheran High School
Maddie Seuring – Auburn High School
Elizabeth Trenhaile - Boylan Catholic High School
Shreya Vattem – Hononegah High School
Jazmine White – Guilford High School
Kayla White - Boylan Catholic High School
Adalia Yeung - Rockford Lutheran High School


Adalia Yeung – President
Maddie Seuring - Secretary
Casey Bohn – Marketing Chair


Annie Hobson
Joanna Mladic
Heather Rapp

IYWT 25th Anniversary Logo


Questions? Interested in learning more about IYWT? Contact Ariel!

Ariel Thompson headshot
Ariel Thompson
In Youth We Trust Staff Liaison
Email: Ariel Thompson
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.