San Francisco 49ers Select Recipients of Social Justice Grants

    • CEO Jed York pledged $1 million to social justice causes in May.
    • Niners players, staff and front office employees selected the recipients.

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The San Francisco 49ers have selected nine recipients for portions of the $1 million grant from CEO Jed York that was announced May 30 following the police killing of George Floyd. 

The nonprofit organizations selected all work to create “societal change,” and are centered on one of three areas: racial equity in policing, ending mass incarceration, or education and economic empowerment for young Black people. The grants will be distributed to the organizations over the next two years.

The Niners carried out a two-month selection process in which each organization’s proposal was reviewed by 49ers ownership, front office staff — including members from the organization’s Black employee resource group — and players. Fifteen “semifinalists” went on to be interviewed by the team’s players social justice council, including Arik Armstead, Ben Garland, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, Laken Tomlinson and Jamar Taylor, who is now a free agent.

Recommendations for the final grantees were made to ownership and the full roster of 49ers players.

The recipients include 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, African American Community Services Organization, Californians for Safety and Justice, Dream Corps, Operation Hope, Pico California, SPAAT, The Innocence Project, and The Players Coalition. 

The Players Coalition works to achieve social and racial equality using NFL player

influence and support to impact systemic social and civic change in the areas of police and community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement in low-income communities.

On top of the financial commitment, during the offseason, Niners players launched a video series called Subject to Change. The first two episodes focused on race and police brutality, voter education and “steps to take in the Bay Area for progressive change,” the team said. Players also recorded announcements to promote voter registration, the 2020 Census, and Get Out the Vote.

The Niners’ efforts are similar to that of the Minnesota Vikings, which announced on Sept. 8 the recipients of the first $1 million of the team’s $5 million commitment to social justice causes, as well as a voter education content series. 

In June, the NFL committed $250 million to social justice causes — it had raised $44 million in donations through its Inspire Change program and tacked on an additional $206 million. The league said it plans to “work collaboratively with NFL players to support programs to address criminal justice reform, police reforms, and economic and educational advancement.”