Group of people of all ages outdoors smiling at the camera. Text reads: In Youth We Trust youth grants open now

In Youth We Trust Youth Grants Application Opens

The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is now accepting applications for the In Youth We Trust (IYWT) youth grant program until 5 p.m. on November 28, 2022. 

In preparation for this year’s youth grant cycle, the IYWT Council surveyed hundreds of high school-aged students across northern Illinois to determine what issues are most important and most pressing for young people in our communities. The survey results and additional conversations with representatives from our community’s Youth Mental Health System of Care initiative and the Winnebago County Community Mental Health Board revealed that mental health is the primary challenge facing many youth.

As a result, the IYWT Council seeks to support projects and programs which address youth mental health, with a focus on the priorities of the Community Support System Framework, a guide which is providing a unified approach for mental health support planning at a community-wide level:

  • Protection & Advocacy
  • Identification & Outreach
  • Promotion & Awareness
  • Peer Support
  • Family & Community Support

Applications must be submitted by youth-led groups or organizations serving youth in Boone, Ogle, Stephenson, or Winnebago Counties, using the forms found at Applications will be reviewed by the In Youth We Trust Council, a group of local high school students who convene monthly at the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to learn about grantmaking, volunteerism, and community leadership. 

Applicants can request a maximum of $3,500. Past recipients include African-American Resource Center at Booker, Aquin Interact Club, Boys and Girls Club, Harlem Veteran Project, PFLAG-DiversCITY, Rochelle Interact Club, and Youth Services Network. 

The IYWT Council 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, and
  • Have a realistic budget.

Applicants must be part of a 501(c)3 nonprofit, public institution (such as a school), and/or an organized group carrying out a charitable purpose for the public good. Additionally, youth should be involved in every aspect of the grant process, including project planning, grant writing, and project implementation.