Executive Chairman of the Board

In early 2005, Steve was hired to establish the New Mexico branch of The Ronald Simon Family Foundation and to implement the newly formed Simon Scholars Program.  He served as the NM branch’s Executive Director between 2005 and 2011 and guided the Simon Scholars Program toward success.  Simon Scholars began with one partner high school and five students in 2005, and now serves six partner high schools in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and accepts twenty new students per year, with very high levels of retention.  The Program is currently near capacity with just under 120 active high school and college students.  What began as an experiment has changed the lives of many students and opened up doors that previously could have only been dreamt of.

Steve currently serves as the President/CEO of the Simon Charitable Foundation, and the Executive Director of the Street Food Institute.  Steve has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from The University of Denver and a graduate degree in Psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara.  He is an avid traveler and has previously resided in California, Hawaii and Sydney, Australia.  Steve has worked in culinary and management capacities in the restaurant industry, and in sales and marketing in both the food and wine industries.  Steve brings both a fresh and a global perspective to the local issues that challenge New Mexico.

Executive Director
505.982.0733 ext. 106

Bear Nash was raised in New Mexico since the age of 8 when his family moved from Hawaii. Home-schooled until the 8th grade, he briefly attended a charter high school in Santa Fe before continuing his learning through traveling the world. His experiences prior to joining The Simon Charitable Foundation were primarily in the food service and hospitality industry. Among many experiences he helped restaurant startups and co-founded a bed and breakfast in Uruguay, learning Spanish and business in situ. After 6 years of intermittent travel, he re-settled back home in New Mexico and eventually earned his BA in Economics and an MBA from UNM’s Anderson School of Management. His non-linear educational path enables his appreciation for diverse, individually authentic ways of learning and the desire to promote opportunities for others to learn and achieve their goals.

Bear has held several key positions within The Simon Charitable Foundation since joining the team in 2011. His personal experience from a non-traditional education was an asset he employed as a founding member of the Street Food Institute team. There he developed the business model and grew sales as the Director of Sales and Marketing. When the social enterprise transitioned into an independent 501(c)(3) in 2017, he rejoined the core Foundation team serving as Community Relations Director and the Director of Strategic Initiatives. His experience and successes in those positions have contributed to his understanding of challenges the communities of New Mexico face and his desire to play a role in catalyzing positive changes.

As Executive Director Bear is leading the Foundation and New Mexico Simon Scholars Program team to build upon its successes, and give back to the Simon family on behalf of his brother who was a former Simon Scholar.

Chief Operating Officer
505.982.0733 ext. 105

Susan joined the Simon Charitable Foundation in March 2013. Susan’s career began building software for the banking and finance industry.  After pursuing her M.A. from St. John’s College, she turned her attention to the non-profit sector, finding a natural match of organizational talent with purposeful work.  Susan brings accuracy, attention-to-detail and systems-level organizational skills to the Foundation. With more than 12 years of experience building software for banking applications, Susan understands the value of data integrity and efficient processes which save valuable resources for the organization.  In her spare time, you can find her outdoors.


High School Program Manager
505.982.0733 ext. 102

Janeth joined the Simon Scholars Program as the Program Coordinator in July 2017. She is a first-generation student, an alum of the Simon Scholars program, and a graduate of Capital High School, class of 2011. She attended the University of New Mexico, where she pursued her degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics. After earning her degree in 2015, she worked as a mentor for high school students at College Plaza at Santa Fe High School. Janeth is very passionate about helping other students like herself surpass the barriers to obtain a higher education.