2021 In Youth We Trust Youth Grant Recipients Announced. IYWT logo and colored dashes

2021 In Youth We Trust Youth Grant Recipients Announced

In Youth We Trust, the youth philanthropy program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, has announced the recipients of the 2021 IYWT Youth Grants cycle. The IYWT Council awarded one adult- and six youth-led projects $18,850 for the benefit of youth in northern Illinois:

  • Superintendent's Student Advisory Council | $750.00 | School Supply Outreach
  • Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center | $2500.00 | JDC Book Club
  • Social Entrepreneurship Program at Oregon High School | $1500.00 | Trails End Trading Post
  • Life Decisions - Youth Leadership Council (A program of Straight Ahead Ministries) | $3500.00 | Community Block Party
  • Youth Services Network | $3500.00 | Ellis Heights Neighborhood Community Clean-Up
  • Winnebago FIRST Robotics Team | $3500.00 | STEM Kits Upgrade
  • United Way of Rock River Valley | $3600.00 | Lincoln Middle School Check In / Check out*

Learn more about each of these projects below. 

This is the second of two grant cycles administered by the IYWT Council this year. The first cycle, which accepted proposals written by adults for projects benefiting youth, awarded nearly $20,000 to five local organizations in January. This unique cycle was added for the 2020-2021 program year in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth-serving organizations and programs. *The United Way project awarded in this second cycle is a continuation of that first-cycle focus. Learn more about the adult-led grant cycle.

To celebrate and honor the recipients from both cycles, In Youth We Trust Council members will host a virtual grants reception watch party on Thursday, May 13th, at 7:00 p.m. Logon to https://facebook.com/cfnil at that time to join the fun of the watch party! Hear from IYWT Council members, grant recipients, and more!

In Youth We Trust Council is made up of high-school-aged youth from across Northern Illinois. The program engages young people in community service and philanthropy. IYWT gives the council members resources and opportunities to help solve problems affecting their peers and their quality of life. IYWT Council Members set grant policy, review youth-inspired service project proposals, and recommend proposals for funding to CFNIL's Board of Directors. Since its inception IYWT has awarded nearly $550,000 for youth-led projects!

Learn more about In Youth We Trust.

2021 IYWT Grant Recipient Project Descriptions:

School Supply Outreach
Superintendent's Student Advisory Council | $750

The group will purchase, disinfect, and organize supplies and office expenses for fellow students at the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford.

JDC Book Club
Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center | $2,500

The funds will be used to purchase books for the JDC Book Club to read over the course of a year. The youth at the facility will select the book titles and be responsible for leading book discussions.

Trails End Trading Post
Social Entrepreneurship Program at Oregon High School | $1,500

Oregon High School was offered the opportunity to supervise the Community Garden, which includes a shed. There are several classes which help students create and sustain a business. Students will renovate the shed into a tea shop to promote student business. The shed is located at the end of the bike/walking trail, where people can rent bicycles. Students will engage younger community members and families to visit and interact with the student businesses.

Community Block Party
Life Decisions - Youth Leadership Council (a program of Straight Ahead Ministries) | $3,500

The Life Decisions youth leadership council will plan and host a one-day community block party. The council will work with mentors to complete event-related tasks as assigned. The block party will include local youth artists (singers, painters, poets, rappers, and more) who will perform during the party's main event, a talent show. Artists will have booths to show off their work and can sell or auction off pieces to attendees. Attendees will also vote on their favorite art and artists and winners will be awarded prizes.

Ellis Heights Neighborhood Community Clean-Up                                                                                                             
Youth Services Network (YSN) | $3,500

The Parenthood Promise Scholars will host a community clean-up in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood. The community clean-up will last twelve weeks during the summer months. 

STEM Kits Upgrade
Winnovation FIRST Robotics Team | $3,500

The team will purchase Spheros, snap circuits, and Ardunio packs to teach about STEM in a hands-on, easy to grasp, and fun way.

Lincoln Middle School Check In / Check Out
United Way of Rock River Valley | $3,600

Lincoln Middle School Check In / Check Out is a unique system used by United Way Achievement Advocates to directly assess students' mental health and emotional well-being at Lincoln Middle School during the stress-inducing COVID-19 pandemic. The system uses twice-weekly check-ins with students to ensure Achievement Advocates can immediately and confidently address the needs of students.