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Simon Youth Foundation announces new scholarship program

Staff Reports • Updated Aug 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Since the inception of Simon Youth Foundation in 1998, shoppers at Simon Malls, Mills and Premium Outlets were among SYF’s most ardent supporters, contributing millions of dollars to support the foundation’s mission to provide support for students at risk of dropping out of high school. 

As a thank you to the loyal supporters, SYF plans to help a graduating senior living near Lebanon Premium Outlets take the next step on his or her educational journey.

Each year, Simon Youth community scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to a Simon Mall, Mills or Premium Outlets center. The application period started recently and ends Feb. 15. Students may apply online by visiting syf.org/scholarships.

Any student who will be graduating in the class of 2018 and lives in the designated community surrounding a Simon property is eligible. Applicants can check their eligibility by entering their zip code at syf.org/scholarships. Recipients will receive up to $1,500 toward tuition and other educational expenses at an accredited college, university, vocational or technical school.

The SYF community scholarship program is one facet of the Simon Supports Education initiative, launched in the spring at all Simon properties. As part of the initiative, visitors at Simon centers can now buy SYF Simon Visa gift cards, redeemable wherever Visa is accepted. One dollar from the sale of each bright orange, SYF-branded card will go directly to support SYF and its mission.

“The support of Simon and its generous shoppers has been instrumental in the growth and overall impact of Simon Youth Foundation,” said J. Michael Durnil, SYF president and CEO. “Providing this scholarship to deserving students in communities that Simon calls home is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for their continued support.”

In addition to the community scholarships, 11 regional awards, called awards of excellence, will be given to top candidates. The regions eligible are Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, New York, Orange County, Calif., Orlando and Seattle-Tacoma. Additionally, one award of excellence will be awarded to an applicant from a Simon Premium Outlet. Students from these areas will have the opportunity to receive a $10,000 award or $2,500 for up to four years.

In 2017, the Simon Youth Foundation awarded $1.6 million to 335 students nationwide.

“The importance of pursuing education – both high school and beyond –cannot be overstated, and we feel passionately that financial constraints should never be the reason that a promising student is unable to achieve their dreams,” said Durnil. “We are proud to partner with Lebanon Outlet Marketplace to help a Nashville-area student take their next steps in life.”

The 2018 SYF community scholarship recipients will be selected by International Scholarship and Tuition Services Inc., a third-party administrator. Students are selected based on a variety of criteria, including financial need, academic performance, leadership skills and participation in school and community activities. Those students who are the first in their family to pursue a post secondary education will also be given close consideration.

Recipients will be notified of their awards in May 2018.

SYF is a national nonprofit that partners with public school districts to open dropout recovery academies inside Simon shopping malls. The organization now has 30 Simon Youth Academies in 12 states. In the organization’s 19-year history, nearly 16,000 students have earned their diploma and more than $17 million in scholarships were awarded.

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