SYF 2016-17 Impact Report

Elvis Kahoro, Community Scholarship Recipient, Town Center at Cobb

Graduates from the Simon Youth Academies in Seattle, WA

The nationally competitive Simon Youth Foundation scholarship program provides students with access to post-secondary experiences. Our scholarship program targets high school graduates with academic promise, proven civic engagement and financial need. This year, we had 1014 applicants across all scholarship programs and distributed over $1.6 million in awards. The majority of SYF’s scholarship recipients will be the first in their families to attend college or post-high school specialized training. The Simon Youth Foundation Community Scholarships are awarded to students who reside within the area of a Simon Mall, Mills or Premium Outlet community across the nation. These one-time $1,500 scholarships, presented in partnership with the local center, are one of the many ways in which the Simon center gives back to the local community. Our signature “big check” has become highly sought after, and the mall teams have adopted creative ways to share the news, whether it is surprising a student while they are in the local Simon center or showing up at their graduation. Many of this year’s happy recipients are featured on our social media feeds. You can find them by searching #SYF2017 on Facebook and Instagram. The Simon Youth Foundation Academy Scholarships are for students who graduate from a Simon Youth Academy. This year, SYF awarded 66 Academy scholarships, ranging in a cumulative value from $8,000 to $40,000. A hallmark of this scholarship is in the surprise announcement and presentation at the student’s commencement ceremony, in the presence of their family, teachers, peers and community. Seeing first-hand the impact that these scholarships can have for a student is a heart-warming reminder of why our mission is so important, and we encourage you to view some of the surprise announcements and student reactions on the Simon Youth Foundation YouTube channel. $17 million Total Amount of Scholarships Awarded by SYF since 1998

16,000 Graduation Milestones

Graduation celebrates the success of Simon Youth Foundation’s collaboration with partner school districts and their communities. Each student’s graduation becomes a milestone event in his or her life. To date, SYF has graduated nearly 16,000 students from our 30 Academies, and according to self-reported data from our students, 35% of students attending Simon Youth Academies are the first in their family to graduate high school. Three Academies celebrated their first year of partnership and class of SYF graduates. Simon Youth Academy at Katy Mills (TX) and Martha Raines High School (TX), along with Simon Youth Burlington Academy (MA) joined our established academies to help us reach more than 1,600 graduates in 2017—a new record. Several of our academies celebrated noteworthy accomplishments. The 2016 inaugural class of juniors that began with the opening of Simon Youth Academy at Circle Centre Mall (IN) graduated in June 2017, and each of the 22 students had earned acceptance into at least one higher education institution. In addition to The Simon Youth Academy at Circle Centre Mall, Simon Youth Peabody Academy at Northshore Mall (MA) and Simon Youth Valley Vista Academy (CA) boasted graduation rates of over 100%. Many of these students were initially considered so significantly behind in credits that graduation this year was not possible, yet these Academies helped them graduate ahead of their predicted timeline. Simon Youth Academy at Hickory Hollow (TN) and Simon Youth Paul R. Kelly Volunteer Academy (TN) both awarded diplomas to their 1000th graduate. A highlight of each Academy’s graduation is the student graduation speech. Not a typical commencement speech, these heartfelt and unvarnished testimonials recount a student’s journey from being at risk of dropping out of high school to achieving a dream. They are an unflinching look at the hardships our students overcome, and an inspiring reminder of the impact SYF can have.

New this year, SYF went “live” on Facebook, streaming select graduation ceremonies.

Read our students’ stories at

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