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49ers Announce Seven Social Justice Grant Recipients

The San Francisco 49ers are welcoming two new nonprofits to its existing cohort of organizations receiving social justice grants, totaling approximately $500,000 this year in support of their work creating measurable societal change in the Bay Area. RYSE, Inc. and Urban Ed Academy were selected out of a pool of grant applicants along with the five returning organizations: Californians for Safety and Justice, Dream.Org, Operation HOPE, San Jose African American Community Service Agency, and Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT).

The new organizations will join a cohort of nonprofits that have significantly impacted the Bay Area over the past year by delivering 5,000 food baskets, providing mental health services for 250 individuals, assisting 80 families with housing, and offering system navigation to 1,500 individuals to meet their needs through other available services. These organizations also helped expand access to record expungement for 1.5 million Californians, defeated four regressive bills, and won more than $1 billion in funding for violence prevention.

"We are motivated by the work these organizations do and the positive change they make happen, day after day," said Jenni Luke, Vice President, Community Impact at the 49ers. "It has been a challenging couple of years and the inspiration and fire these nonprofits light to lead the way and instill hope for a better future is beyond measure."

After issuing an initial $1M in grants to ten Bay Area and California-based social justice organizations in 2020, the 49ers announced the extension of their grant program to commit $5M over 10 years focusing on advancing racial equality in policing, ending mass incarceration, and educational and economic advancement for young black people. The organization, including its Black Employee Resource Group, recently completed its annual RFP submission and review process with the final election of funds being determined by the 49ers representatives on the Players Social Justice Council: Azeez Al-Shaair, Arik Armstead, Oren Burks, Trey Lance, Emmanuel Moseley and Taybor Pepper.

While continuing the impactful work of the five returning grant recipients, the 49ers chose the new cohort members based on their ability to reach new individuals across the region:

  • RYSE, Inc. was founded in 2008 in response to a string of homicides affecting youth in Richmond. Serving the Richmond/West Contra Costa area, the organization supports ages 13 to 21, including those in and out of school, LGBTQ, homeless, undocumented, foster- and justice-system involved children and young adults. The grant will reduce racial and ethnic disparities in Contra Costa County, reduce the average rate of youth incarcerated in Contra Costa County and ensure the systems and adults responsible create a safe, loving, welcoming, and responsive environment.
  • Urban Ed Academy is a Black-led Bay Area nonprofit that builds equity in education through represented Black leadership in and around schools. If a Black boy encounters just one Black teacher before sixth grade, the propensity to drop out will decrease by nearly 40% and they will exhibit an almost 30% increase in attending college. The organization also funds Man the Bay (MTB), a free, four-year fellowship that redefines teaching as an early career option for young Black men by providing training, credentialing, housing, learning stipends, and job placement.

"We are honored to be a recipient of the 49ers grant to address racial equity and restorative justice in our community," said Kimberly Aceves-Iniguez, Executive Director & Co-Founder of RYSE, Inc. "This partnership allows RYSE to expand our efforts across Contra Costa county to ensure all young people are treated with dignity and respect and that their voices are centered in the policies and practices that impact them."

The last year saw 49ers-backed social justice organizations create a ripple effect throughout the Bay Area, including:

  • San Jose African American Community Service Agency: Distributed 5,000 food baskets, provided mental health services for 250 individuals, assisted 80 families with housing and offered system navigation to 1,500 individuals to meet their needs through other available services. Additionally, the AACSA hosted a week-long series of in-person and virtual events celebrating the 40th Annual Juneteenth Festival in San Jose, attended by 3,500 people, and initiated an Employment Services Department to address the disproportionate underemployment rates of Black and LatinX clients, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Californians for Safety and Justice: Supported Californians for Safety and Justice to expand access to record expungement for 1.5 million Californians, defeated four regressive bills that would have rolled back 10 years of progress, and won more than $1 billion in funding for violence prevention, expanded support for survivors of crime, reentry, and mental health services, while also publishing the California Victims Agenda - a 10-point plan to address the needs of California's diverse victims of crime, along with Getting Back to Work, a report that calls attention to California's nearly $21 billion loss of GDP resulting from the impact of old records and suggests remedies to remove employment barriers facing people with records.
  • Dream.Org: With the support of the San Francisco 49ers, the organization launched an inaugural Bay Area Job Training Cohort that provided 10 Black, Brown, and system-impacted community members with hands-on skills, training, and mentorship. As of December of last year, two cohort graduates have received full-time offers, and the remaining alumni are going through the interview process.
  • Operation HOPE: Over the past year, clients engaged in over 263,250 financial empowerment services, including group education and one-on-one financial coaching. HOPE clients were able to reduce debt on average by $2,632 dollars and increase their savings on average by $295 dollars after participation in HOPE coaching.
  • Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT): Funds are allocated to hire academic case managers, tutors, and college advisors. SPAAT program staff and partners facilitate 30-60 minute weekly group lessons that teach emotional intelligence, conflict resolution relationships, values, and communication.

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