49ers Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports underserved youth in the Greater Bay Area to keep kids safe and in school. Grants are made on an invitation-only basis.

FUNDING AREAS: Underserved youth, STEM education

IP TAKE: This is one of the NFL teams that is most involved in charity work. Finding ways to connect sports and STEM education is something that has been of particular interest to this funder lately.

PROFILE: The 49ers Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the San Francisco 49ers NFL football team, and is considered to be the nonprofit community funding extension for the team. It has given over $40 million to local nonprofits since 1991.

The funding priority for this sports team foundation is underserved youth. It has also recently shown a strong interest in STEM education for youth and in efforts to tie an interest in sports to STEM subjects. In a recent year, the foundation gave $4 million to nonprofits.  

Past 49ers Foundation grantees include:

  • 49ers STEM Leadership Institute
  • 49ers Academy
  • After School All Stars
  • Aim High
  • Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative
  • Bayview Hunters Point YMCA
  • BUILD
  • Center for Youth Wellness
  • City Year
  • Eastside College Preparatory School
  • Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Inc.
  • Family Violence Prevention Fund
  • Hedge Funds Care
  • Inn Vision Shelter Network
  • Mission City Community Fund
  • San Francisco Police Activities League
  • Santa Clara Police Athletic League
  • Santa Clara Schools Foundation
  • Silicon Valley FACES
  • Silicon Valley Education Foundation
  • Summer Search

Overall, the foundation’s funding is focused on organizations and programs in the Greater Bay Area and on the topic of keeping kids safe and in school. It does not fund building purchases, personal scholarships, drives, or groups based outside the Bay Area. Collaboration with major corporations in the region has been a recent theme of this funder’s giving.

The foundation hosts an annual Winter Fest at the Resort at Squaw Creek to raise money for STEM leadership. It also hosts the unique Pasta Bowl fundraiser that connects fans, sponsors, players, and coaches. The funder partners with Hedge Funds Care each year to raise money for child abuse and neglect.

This is one of the most charitable teams in the NFL. It won the Beyond Sport 2015 Sport Team of the Year Award and was one of four finalists for the 2015 and 2016 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award. In addition to nonprofit grants, the foundation hosts dozens of community outreach events each year and puts in hundreds of community services hours through its players, coaches, staff, owners, and alumni.  

This funder has community relations professionals that handle foundation operations; Joanne Pasternack is executive director. Otherwise, it is governed by a board of directors and officers from major corporations like the Chevron Corporation and Berg and Berg Enterprises, LLC. On the team’s news page, you can find recent information about the foundation’s giving, as well as the players and games.

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