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.

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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 Ciara Stahly

+1 (779) 210-8209

Email Ciara

Council Members & Community Advisors


Aryan Arora – Auburn High School
Alex Bauling – Boylan Catholic High School
Lexi Berke – Rockford Lutheran High School
Derya Bertram – Guilford High School
Adam Bohn – Hononegah High School
Ariana Castillo – Harlem High School
Jaida Cunningham – Rockford Lutheran High School
Jojo Drake – Jefferson High School
Talon Drake – Hononegah High School
Clayton Drake – Hononegah High School
Finn Enright – Boylan Catholic High School
Niles Hite – Rockford Lutheran High School
Michael Hunter – Rockford Christian High School
Peter LaMantia – Boylan Catholic High School
Nadhia Manthuruthil – Boylan Catholic High School
Shannon Mastey – Hononegah High School
Amari Richardson – Guilford High School
DJ Trenhaile – Boylan High School
Ava Vitale – Boylan High School
Adalia Yeung – Rockford Lutheran School


Aryan Arora – President
Peter LaMantia – Vice President/Secretary
Talon Drake – Grants Chair
Adam Bohn – Marketing Chair
Nadhia Manthuruthil – Volunteer Co-Chair
Adalia Yeung – Volunteer Co-Chair


Joanna Bares
Derek Dreier
M. Beth Thacker


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: Applicants will be notified prior to the October 20th meeting of their acceptance.

The deadline for joining In Youth We Trust each year is October 1. If you’re interested in joining, contact Ciara Stahly.

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 $450,000 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 up to $20,000 a year in grants to selected youth projects.

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