Simon Scholars: A Case Study You (Still) Want to Hug

Not long ago, we built a website for the Simon Family Foundation. The organization is devoted to helping high-achieving, financially disadvantaged high school students realize their dream of attending college.

In the weeks since the website launched, the Foundation made some additions to their program that were important to highlight. Also, the primary audience they wanted to target via the website changed. So they enlisted our help to create a second website, and we were happy to oblige!

Changes to The Simon Family Foundation

Beyond a $16,000 needs-based college scholarship, students accepted into the Simon Scholars Program receive “whole person development” that includes leadership conferences, retreats, SAT and college application prep, team-building, and other exercises designed to help them transform into successful, fulfilled adults.

The Foundation recently added a Mentor Program to the mix, in which scholars are paired with a mentor that will ideally stay with them during college and beyond. This is especially important, as many Simon Scholars lack a supportive home life.

Another big change has been the addition of the innovative PATH program, which was important to highlight on the new site. The PATH program is a creative and profound way for Scholars to process the adversity they’ve been dealt, heal from it, and subsequently overcome it and use it to fuel their future success. They do this through the medium of devised theater.

Finally, the Foundation is introducing counseling services and expanding its alumni services to provide continued support and relationships with former Simon Scholars. All very exciting changes!

The Audience

The previous site was tailored to students and parents for information gathering, qualifications, application information, etc. While those things are important (and will still be accessible on the new site), the Simon Family Foundation leadership realized that it doesn’t matter how many applicants they have without universities to partner with them.

The new site was tailored mainly to colleges and universities who would be “scoping out” the Foundation for credibility. We put ourselves in College Admissions personnel’s shoes, and decided they’d want to see things like:

  • metrics that highlight the Foundation’s success;
  • trust indicators like Scholar testimonials that would illustrate how the Foundation has enriched lives;
  • a clear Mission Statement and explanation of the Model of “whole-person development”;
  • clear, compelling, concise content about each of the Simon Scholars Programs

The new site was also intended to be a place for prospective Mentors to learn more about the Simon Scholars Program, as ongoing mentorship is crucial to the long-term success of these Scholars.

We were able to direct the various contact form submissions to different Simon Family Foundation staff members — so that questions about the PATH program, or the Mentors program, or Alumni services would all go to the appropriate recipients.

As we’ve gotten to know the individuals who work for the Simon Family Foundation, it has warmed our hearts to see how genuinely and deeply they care for these kids.

We’re really pleased with the outcome of the new Simon Scholars website, and we look forward to working with the Foundation as it grows and expands to help even more deserving young people!

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