Teen Trust empowers community

2013 Grant Recipients

North East Iowa Food Bank


North Star Community Services


ASPIRE Therapeutic Riding Program


Operation Threshold


Allen Memorial Hospital  (Young Parents Together)


Cedar Valley Preschool and Child Care Center


The Job Foundation


Students from across the Cedar Valley have been hard at work this past year on the Teen Trust Board of Directors.

Members of Teen Trust help by delivering a grant of $2,000 to North Star Community Services. (Submitted photo)

Teen Trust is a group of 26 high school students who work together in allocating $10,000 in grant money to non-profits in Black Hawk County. The Trustees begin the year learning about the grantmaking process and endowments. They then write and release a grant application that organizations can apply to on the Community Foundation’s website.

This year, 15 organizations applied. After much debating and compromising, the board came to the unanimous decision to give seven of these non-profits a portion of the $10,000 they had to grant out.

Jenna Manders, a student at Wartburg College, is the Teen Trust student director. Her role is to facilitate the actions to the Trustees and do behind the scenes work so the board gets the most effective use of their time.

“The most positive thing about Teen Trust is the underlying goal. While we do have $10,000 to grant out each year, the teens have learned valuable skills that go far beyond this. The board brought together a group of 26 diverse teens that in the beginning cliqued off into their respective groups, whereas in the end they all got along to form a collective decision. The Trustees honed in on skills they will need for a lifetime, including decision making, teamwork, a greater knowledge of non-profits and the needs of a community,” Manders said.

Trustees on the board have gotten an inside look on how the grant process works. Through writing the application and deliberating where to allocate the money, Teen Trust members have learned incredibly valuable skills.

“I think the members of Teen Trust have been greatly impacted by their involvement on the board. They have gained new friends and connections that could benefit them in the future. Their knowledge base has increased not only of non-profits and community needs, but some of the ins and outs of the grantmaking process and endowments. They have also gained skills in decision making, compromising, communication and teamwork,” Manders said.

Hanno Fenech, a senior, was a part of the 2012-2013 board.

“Teen Trust has provided all of us board members an opportunity to have on-the-ground, impactful experiences directly aiding our community and to learn more about philanthropy,” Fenech said.

Involvement on the board has also allowed Trustees to learn just how many non-profit agencies are in the area.

“It’s opened my eyes to all of the non-profit charities that are present in the Cedar Valley. It’s been really cool to contribute to the well-being of the less fortunate in our community. Being involved directly with these non-profits has made me appreciate what I have,” senior Trustee Spencer Gray said.

The 2012-2013 board just wrapped up their last duties by conducting interviews for next year’s board this past week. Manders will continue to occupy her role as student director next year and hopes to make a few subtle changes in order to make better use of meeting times. Board members for 2013-2014 year will be announced soon.

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