The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa's Teen Trust program is a model for youth philanthropy. Each year, a diverse group of students from area high schools allocates $10,000 to 501(c)(3) non-profit agencies in Black Hawk County. Using a grant application system, site visits, and training seminars, the Trustees work as a team to decide which organizations to assist through financial aid or volunteerism. The program began in 1994 and is directed by a local college student.
Teen Trust was created with a vision in mind - to prepare youth to be "trustees of their community." And at the heart of becoming a trustee means finding a way for youth to learn about and also actively practice philanthropy. To that end, the mission by which the Teen Trust program operates is: To provide youth an opportunity to develop philanthropic behaviors, leadership and stewardship skills and volunteer experiences.
Teen Trust Project Goals
- Nurture a cohesive, enthusiastic network of youth who are inspired to share their gifts of service with others.
- Provide a learning environment in which youth are primarily responsible for the allocation of funds to support projects addressing community issues.
- Promote innovative, practical solutions to community problems through youth as project developers.
- Entrust youth with legitimate authority to decide and direct the future of their community.
- Engage youth immediately as community trustees, acknowledging that they are currently active citizens, not just leaders of the future.
Teen Trust Accomplishments
- Over $230,000 in grants to support local charitable projects since Teen Trust's inception
- More than 600 local students trained in philanthropy and trusteeship
- National recognition by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as one of the most important grants they've made in their 75-year history (www.wkkf.org)
- Countless lives changed