SF's Sports Stars Provide Big Hit in Area Funding

In San Francisco, it's hard to leave the house without spotting the Giants' Black and Orange or the 49ers' Crimson and Gold. We love our teams and their stars: Barry Bonds, Matt Cain, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana....

The list goes on and on. But behind all of their on-the-field glory is a long and vibrant history of off-the-field philanthropic work.

For instance, since retiring in 2007, Barry Bonds has continued to donate to nonprofits through his charitable foundation, The Barry Bonds Family Foundation. Recently, the organization — which is supports nonprofits that improve the quality of life for African-American youth in the Bay Area, provided $10,000 to the East Palo Alto YMCA

"Our two organizations share a combined vision — that young people in our communities can live healthier, happier, more enriched lives through the combined efforts of individuals and organizations coming together to help youth envision and achieve their full potential," Bonds said in a statement. "We're proud to continue our support of the Y in their efforts to help children, adults and families thrive."

Other organizations the Bonds Foundation supported last year were UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco, as well Boys & Girls Clubs in SF's lowest-income neighborhoods.

Since being founded in 1993, the Bonds Foundation has been committed to its mission of improving education and standards of living for African-American youth throughout the Bay Area, although it's not extremely transparent how grant-making decisions.

Bonds isn't the only former SF great to make his mark through charity.

Former 49er and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott has long been active in local philanthropy. Last year, his Redwood City-based foundation celebrated 20 years of local charity work. And currently, Lott sits on the board of Tipping Point Community, a Bay Area funder that supports organizations that fight poverty.

The All Stars Helping Kids foundation, which Lott founded in 1989, provides funding for smaller nonprofits with operating budgets between $25,000 and $500,000 that serve low-income youth throughout the Bay Area.

Former 49er quarterback Alex Smith was also recently recognized for his charitable work aimed at helping foster kids go to college. Smith’s foundation was recently featured in a Boston Globe story that said the foundation was one of the most generous of all athlete foundations, using 91% of donations to fund their causes.

Not to mention, the SF Giants and the 49ers both have charitable foundations that fund community-building projects throughout The City. The Giants Community Fund has donated more than $14 million to support communities in the Bay Area since its inception in 1991, and the 49ers Foundation just wrapped up a big year of fundraising in 2012, donating nearly $3 million last year to community causes.