The San Francisco 49ers have had plenty of trouble fielding a competitive team over the past couple years, but they have continued to do strong work in the community. The organization has been named a finalist for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year award. This marks the third straight year they have been named a finalist. The award honors athletes, teams, and others in the sports industry, “for using sport to serve communities and make a positive impact on society.”
The eventual winner will receive a $100,000 grant, and the finalists will each receive a $25,000 grant. The other team finalists are the Chicago White Sox, Memphis Grizzlies, and New York City Football Club (MLS).
Here is a press release the 49ers issued following the announcement. It runs down the many activities the 49ers have been involved in to better the community.
For the third consecutive year, the San Francisco 49ers have been named a finalist for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award, presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The third annual Sports Humanitarian of the Year Awards will celebrate and honor athletes, teams, non-profits, and members of the sports industry for using sport to serve communities and make a positive impact on society.
The event, which will take place on Tuesday, July 11th for the first time at L.A. Live’s The Novo, will bring together the professional leagues and sporting community to pay tribute to the collective good of sports. Highlights of the evening will be featured during a 30-minute special that will air on ESPN, July 25th at 7 p.m. ET.
“At the 49ers Foundation we strongly believe that if children can learn to learn, they can continue to educate themselves for the rest of their lives,” said 49ers Co-Chair John York. “Our efforts to keep kids ‘Safe, On Track, and In School’ over the last 26 years have focused on extending that message and opportunity to underserved groups throughout the Bay Area. We are so honored to once again be recognized by ESPN as a Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year finalist for these education efforts in the community.”
In addition to the San Francisco 49ers collectively donating over 1,200 hours of volunteer time to 75 community events and committing $4 million to local non-profits in 2016 alone, the team is also at the forefront of two innovative and highly impactful programs that use football to make lasting changes in the Bay Area.
First, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is a six-year curriculum that begins in 7th grade, continues through high school, and seeks to prepare students with high academic potential in STEM. During the 2016-2017 school year, over 40,000 hours of education have been provided, including integrated and open lab hours, tutoring, and enrichment events. Of the 60 students in the 2020 class, 50% have 4.0 GPAs and the average GPA is 3.81.
Second, the 49ers STEAM Education Program – which opened in 2014, provides informal learning experiences for K-8 students through its program that teaches standards-aligned (Common Core and Next Generation Science) lessons using the STEAM principles of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Housed within the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center at Levi’s Stadium, the program has reached over 150,000 participants since inception – free of charge – with over 50 percent of students coming from Title I designated schools.
The team’s youth efforts additionally translate on the field, where the team promotes football-focused physical activity for boys and girls through the 49ers Youth Football Program. The program, experienced by more than 31,000 participants as part of 138 events held in partnership with the NFL’s “Play 60” initiative in 2016, encourages children to get outside and play for 60 minutes each day.
The 49ers are one of four finalists for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award, which represents a sports team (and their community relations department or foundation) that demonstrates how teamwork between athletes and their team’s community relations or foundations can create a significant impact on a community or cause. The winner will receive a $100,000 grant from ESPN and each of the finalists a $25,000 grant to be directed towards a charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.
In recognition of their tremendous commitment to philanthropy, the San Francisco 49ers were recognized with the Beyond Sport 2015 Sport Team of the Year and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2013 Steve Patterson Award for Sports Philanthropy.