One month ago, we learned that the San Francisco 49ers had been named a finalist for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award. On Tuesday, ESPN announced that the 49ers took home the award over the Chicago White Sox, Memphis Grizzlies and New York City Football Club (MLS). The 49ers will receive a $100,000 grant to aid in their various educational efforts.
Here is a rundown of the work the 49ers have done in recent years that helped them take home this award. The organization has had its share of ups and downs in recent years. This certainly counts as a quality high.
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.