New Directors will support the expansion of Simon Youth Academies to additional locations across North America

INDIANAPOLIS – February 18, 2020 –Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), a national nonprofit committed to helping high school students reach graduation day, announced today the election of three new members to its Board of Directors.

Sarah Beeson, senior vice president, Real Estate Banking at PNC Bank; Andy Hutcherson, senior vice President, Innovation and Customer Experience for Simon Property Group; and Reid C. Searles, CPFA, first vice president / senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

  • Sarah Beeson, senior vice president for PNC Real Estate, oversees Indiana-based commercial real estate customers and currently manages a portfolio of more than $525 million. In addition, she sets relationship strategies and directs relationship management activities with new and existing clients to grow sales, revenue and market share. She began her career in 2004 with National City Bank, and remained with the company until it was acquired by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. in 2008. Beeson is a member of the Urban Land Institute and is involved in PNC’s Women Connect. She graduated from Miami University, Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing.
  • As Senior Vice President of Innovation and Customer Experience at Simon Property Group, Andy Hutcherson is responsible for understanding customers’ needs and wants and translating them into innovative programs and experiences through both product development and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining SPG in 2007, Hutcherson held positions at Ipsos ASI and Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. He graduated with an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business in 2006.
  • After graduating from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs in 2010, Reid Searles joined Merrill Lynch and The Searles Akers Wealth Management Group in 2011 where he currently serves as a First Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor. Managing over $1 billion of their client’s assets, Searles and team take a goals-based approach to wealth management; serving everything from high net worth individuals, family foundations and endowments to corporate retirement plans.

“We are pleased to welcome Sarah, Andy and Reid to Simon Youth Foundation’s Board of Directors,” said J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of SYF. “They join a group of dedicated individuals who lend their time, talent and treasure to support SYF’s mission, and we look forward to working closely with them to improve the lives of students and communities across the country.”

In addition to welcoming new members to its Board of Directors, SYF has also re-elected longtime Board Members Lena Barkley, lead manager, Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health; Dr. Leslie G. Fatum, director of College and Career Preparation, Kokomo School Corporation; Kim Johnson, secretary and treasurer of the board of directors, and accountant at Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc.; and Jeremy Smith, account executive, Corporate Sales, Indianapolis Indians.

Recent SYF Highlights include:

  • Celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019.
  • Recently passed 20,000 lifetime graduates.
  • Support 37 Simon Youth Academies in partnership with 24 public school districts in 15 states, with plans for continued growth.
  • Awarded more than $1.6 million in scholarships in 2019.

In addition to its important work helping students graduate high school, SYF also supports students’ pursuit of post-secondary opportunities through college counseling and scholarships available for Simon Youth Academy students and high school seniors who live in communities where Simon properties are located.

About Simon Youth Foundation

Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) is a national nonprofit committed to helping students reach graduation day. SYF works toward this mission by partnering with local public school districts to launch Simon Youth Academies, alternative classroom settings located primarily in Simon Malls, and by providing Simon Youth Scholarships to Academy graduates and students who live near Simon Malls. Since its inception, SYF has maintained a 90 percent graduation rate at its 37 Simon Youth Academies in 15 states, helping more than 20,000 students earn their high school diplomas, and has awarded over $18 million in scholarships. Visit to learn more.