President and CEO, Simon Youth Foundation
Dr. J. Michael Durnil has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) since 2010. Under Durnil’s leadership, SYF champions a national network of Simon Youth Academies built in partnership with public school districts that strive to make learning accessible to students who struggle in traditional classrooms. As the charity of choice for Simon Property Group, SYF awards $1 million in scholarships annually to graduating seniors in Simon mall communities.
A longtime educator, Durnil’s professional career includes experience as a university professor and administrator, including more than 15 years at Roosevelt University, where he ultimately served as CEO of the Schaumburg Campus. Upon leaving higher education, Durnil served as Senior Vice President and later Interim President at GLAAD.
A native of Decatur, Ill., Durnil has served on national and regional boards and committees, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Governing Boards and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Durnil holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Loyola University-Chicago, Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Illinois State University, and a post-doctoral certificate in Educational Management from Harvard University. Durnil was named a Fellow of the American Council on Education in 2004.
As education funders seek strategies to continually increase their impact, there’s no better source for insights on what’s working and not working for our country’s young people than the voices of youth themselves. The panel will address how funders can bring youth voice and participation into grantmaking and change-making. In this session, you’ll hear from education funders and practitioners about how engaging and empowering youth voice can lead to stronger philanthropy.