SYF seeks mentorship partner

Call for Letters of Interest

Simon Youth Foundation invites letters of interest from a national organization or a consortium of regional organizations to provide an annual mentorship program with Simon Youth Academy students attending any of our current Academies across the U.S. Selected organizations will then be invited to submit a full proposal.

Letters of Interest Due: April 29, 2016
Invited Proposals Will Be Due: June 15, 2016
Program Activity: Academic Year 2016-2017

Expected value of grant: Negotiable

Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) seeks a partner entity to organize, supervise and activate a national program of trusted, appropriate adult role models to serve as mentors and advisors to students enrolled in Simon Youth Academies across the United States.

As Simon Youth Foundation increases its network with partner public school districts, the Foundation wishes to expand the support and services available to the students who attend the Academies. The SYF Board of Directors has challenged the Foundation to implement a scalable and sustainable mentorship program that will provide a positive impact in the lives of our students. SYF envisions a partnership where every student in every academy has regular access to a trusted, vetted adult that can provide mentorship, advice, and knowledge to our students as they navigate their high school education, explore workforce options, seek post-secondary education or work experiences, and develop cultural competencies necessary for full participation in civic life.

About SYF
Simon Youth Foundation, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, exists to help at-risk students who are on the verge of dropping out of high school stay in school and earn a diploma.

Through 26 Simon Youth Academies in 12 states and Simon Youth Scholarships, SYF creates and initiates educational opportunities for students. In partnership with local public school districts, SYF has maintained a 90% graduation rate at its Academies since inception, graduated more than 13,000 students, and awarded nearly $15 million in scholarships.

Primarily located in Simon Malls, Simon Youth Academies offer flexible schedules and small class sizes that make learning accessible to students who struggle to connect with material in a traditional classroom or school because of homelessness, bullying, serious illness, parenthood, supporting their families, or facing other challenging personal circumstances.
Each year, Simon Youth Scholarships program awards one-time and renewable scholarships to high school students in every community that is home to a Simon Mall. Targeting first-generation college students and those with demonstrated financial need, the Simon Youth Scholarships program furthers the SYF commitment to extending educational opportunities to all students who want to learn, regardless of their circumstances.

SYF believes that all youth, no matter their personal circumstances, have the abilities to go anywhere that their dreams lead them, but these abilities must be fostered by meaningful educational and professional-development opportunities. Simon Youth Academies and Simon Youth Scholarships provide these opportunities, ignite hope and serve as a starting point for students’ journeys toward lifetime success and achievement.

About Our Desired Partner
The successful grantee will be a collaborative partner working closely with SYF staff in Indianapolis and in partnership with our network of school district partners and lead teachers across the U.S. to match their mentors with our students who are referred or self-identify as wanting to participate in the mentorship program. SYF anticipates a program with approximately 300-500 active student participants.

The grantee may come from any variety of sectors as long as they align with and support the mission of Simon Youth Foundation as determined by the staff of Simon Youth Foundation. The grantee will present a letter of interest that includes, but is not limited to, a demonstrable plan for student engagement, mentor recruitment, including vetting and supervision, and provide proof of outcomes and a defendable budget of expenses and legitimate administrative costs of operation. Potential grantees with a history of mentorship programs are strongly encouraged to include their markers of success in the proposal.

The Letter of Interest
Simon Youth Foundation is interested in exploring a wide variety of opportunities and possible configurations in the ultimate delivery of the program. Therefore, SYF is asking interested organizations to submit a letter of interest not exceeding five pages. The letter should address the areas of desired partnership listed above, state desired outcomes, and suggest how the proposal will be funded. A cross-functional work group of the Foundation will review all initial letters of interest and select between 3-5 organizations to be invited to submit a formal grant proposal after the April 29, 2016 deadline.

Questions concerning this call for letters of interest should be directed to:

J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Simon Youth Foundation

Completed initial letters of interest should be submitted to:
Simon Youth Foundation Call for Letters – Mentorship
225 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46205

Or electronically to

All completed letters of interest should be submitted by noon, Eastern Time, April 29, 2016.

  • Carol Chong

    I am interested in working with the Kidgits Little Chefs program in Miami. I am a Registered Dietitian and have worked in healthcare, schools and now am the National Nutrition Advisor for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. During my tenure in healthcare I opened a cooking school that was Hospital based and conducted cooking classes for the community of Miami which included kids cooking classes. Please let me know how I can volunteer for the Little Chefs program. Thank you.

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