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Since 1998, Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) has taken aim at the national dropout crisis. Each year, more than 1 million students in America drop out of high school, and those students become 72% more likely to be unemployed. Yet thanks to generous supporters and an amazing network of educators, SYF has helped turn lives around. Ice Miller is proud to provide legal services to SYF as it executes its important mission to transform the lives of at-risk youth.
Simon employees founded SYF as a way to give back to the community. SYF started a nationwide community scholarship program to help graduating seniors pursue post-secondary education and partnered with local public school districts to meet students at risk of dropping out where they were – in the mall instead of in school – by creating dropout recovery academies inside Simon malls.
With annual scholarships totaling nearly $1.5 million, SYF has awarded nearly $17 million to date. Simultaneously, SYF has helped more than 16,000 students earn their high school diplomas – 35 percent of whom are the first in their families to graduate high school. In the coming years, SYF is growing its network of diploma-granting Simon Youth Academies, with a goal of launching and supporting 100 Simon Youth Academies across the country.
Students come to Simon Youth Academies for different reasons that prevent them from succeeding in a traditional high school. At 16 years old, many are the economic engine for their entire families, others suffer from trauma and mental health issues, some face chronic illness. Yet, these students still want a second chance to earn their diplomas.
SYF believes all youth, regardless of their personal circumstances, should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams through education. Ice Miller is proud to assist SYF in providing these opportunities by advising it on a wide variety of corporate, governance, tax and real estate issues. Utilizing both our nonprofit, contract and real estate expertise, Ice Miller’s legal services include:
  • Executing on its strategic charitable initiatives and goals;
  • Creating governance and operational documents and policies;
  • Structuring and drafting complex contracts and agreements; and
  • Structuring, drafting and negotiating comprehensive memorandums of understanding that allow SYF to partner with public schools and malls to open and operate the Simon Youth Academies in furtherance of its charitable mission.
Learn more about SYF at
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