To celebrate the San Francisco 49ers' history of exemplifying the power of teamwork to accomplish goals, each year the team honor s an exceptional non-profit agency, youth football coach and a current 49ers player who has demonstrated a commitment to promoting unity and giving back to the local community. The Perry/Yonamine Unity Award is named after former 49ers players Joe Perry and Wally Yonamine – two individuals who demonstrated the power of unity to make a difference on the field and in the community. Both Perry and Yonamine passed away in 2011 and, since their passing, the award has continued to be presented in their memory.
After a month-long nomination timeframe, winners in each category were selected and granted a $10,000 donation to their represented nonprofit organization, while the chosen 49ers player selected a nonprofit close to their heart. With overwhelming support from the 49ers locker room, wide receiver Kassim Osgood was selected as the 2014 49ers Unity Award winner for his leadership among the team and impact as a positive role model and prolific volunteerin the community. Osgood selected JW House of Santa Clara as the beneficiary of the $10,000 grant. The JW House keeps families together during medical crisis by offering a welcoming home just steps away from the hospital, providing a caring and compassionate environment that inspires hope. Osgood recently spent the afternoon playing board games with the children of JW House and instantly felt connected to the House's warm, family atmosphere and noted the importance of a community resource that helps so many during such a trying time.
"Giving back to the community feels good intrinsically, and it is great to see people smile and enjoy life," reflected Osgood, "So anytime we [the 49ers] have the opportunity to help spread positivity and give back, we are all for it."
The non-profit organization selected for the 2014 Perry/Yonamine Unity Award was StandUp for Kids, an organization on a mission to end the cycle of youth homelessness across the United States. StandUp for Kids provides a resource center for homeless youth where they can shower, eat and utilize various amenities two nights a week, along with a mentorship program which includes individuals guiding the youth in a positive direction and enabling them to meet their goals and get on reestablish self-sufficiency. The $10,000 grant will help fund bus passes, cell phones and the hope for opening their doors 5 nights a week in the near future.
"We do the work we do with the kids because we love it, but this kind of recognition is a huge boost to the morale of the entire group," stated StandUp for Kids Executive Director, Bob Trygg.
Youth Football Coach, Breen Hofmann of the Coastside Cougars was selected as the Youth Football Unity winner not only for his leadership as a coach to children in Half Moon Bay, but also for the devotion he has to families and the efforts he goes to in order to ensure every child has the opportunity to play football. For his tireless efforts and mission to truly unite his community, the 49ers are proud to recognize a coach who truly defines the Perry/Yonamine Unity Award.
In addition to receiving a $10,000 grant from the 49ers Foundation, each Unity winner was recognized on the field as part of the pregame ceremony as the 49ers take on the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, November 2nd.