Our Cause

Empowering Youth for Over Two Decades

The Simmons Memorial Foundation (SMF) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides high quality educational support programs for students who are members of vulnerable or at-risk groups. Founded in 1996 to honor the lives of Cynthia Simmons and her son Nathaniel Simmons, SMF seeks to instill the same values of education and perseverance that each of them displayed in their daily lives.

Our Philosophy


Through working with students and their parents, SMF seeks to empower individuals to participate in shaping a better world for themselves and others. For SMF, empowerment has three steps:

  1. Validating Backgrounds and Experiences
  2.  Developing a Critical Perspective
  3.  Taking Action

SMF reinforces a process-based self-esteem that withstands external challenges giving students a better foundation to excel in different contexts. SMF encourages students to become aware of and excited about their own talents and interests.

Intellectual Honesty and Realism

SMF’s philosophy demands the interaction of intellectual honesty and realism. We give students the tools to navigate through a world where things are not always fair and the allocation of resources is not equitable. SMF does not stop with good intentions or simply distributing materials, but goes the extra mile by teaching students tangible (academic and non-academic) survival skills.

Volunteer Spirit

SMF thrives on the human capital of its volunteers and their range of experiences and suggestions to propel it forward. The diverse experiences of our mentors and their volunteerism make SMF a unique organization.

Culture of High Expectations

SMF requires students to recognize that their education is ultimately their responsibility. Success in college and their chosen profession demands this realization. This realization is not effortless, always comfortable, or optional-it is necessary. Through its programs, SMF challenges students to think critically, excel academically, create higher expectations for themselves and motivate other students in the process.