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.

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.
IYWT grant learn more

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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Council Members & Community Advisors


Charlie Andres – Belvidere North High School
Aryan Arora – Auburn High School
Lindsay Arreguin – Boylan High School
Casey Bohn – Hononegah High School
Abbey Buchanan – Rockford Lutheran High School
Ariana Castillo – Harlem High School
Trell Chapman – Legacy Academy of Excellence
David Consuelos – Boylan High School
Jaida Cunningham – Rockford Lutheran High School
Talon Drake – Hononegah High School
Clayton Drake – Hononegah High School
Ella Ellingson – North Boone High School
Finn Enright – Boylan Catholic High School
Niles Hite – Rockford Lutheran High School
Crystal Lee – Boylan High School
Nadhia Manthuruthil – Boylan Catholic High School
Shannon Mastey – Hononegah High School
Natalie Muldowney – Boylan High School
Angel Nasanbuyam – Boylan High School
Amari Richardson – Guilford High School
Jalen Richardson – Guilford High School
Maddie Seuring – Rockford Christian High School
DJ Trenhaile – Boylan High School
Shreya Vattem – Hononegah High School
Jazmine White – Guilford High School
Adalia Yeung – Rockford Lutheran High School


Aryan Arora – President
Nadhia Manthuruthil – Secretary
Adalia Yeung – Marketing Chair
Amari Richardson – Volunteer Chair


Joanna Bares
Derek Dreier
Annie Hobson
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 12th
Step Five: Applicants will be notified prior to the October 19th meeting of their acceptance.

The deadline for joining In Youth We Trust this year is October 8. If you’re interested in joining and have questions, 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 $30,000 a year in grants to selected youth projects.

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