Joanne Pasternack, Vice President & Executive Director of Community Relations & 49ers Foundation, receives the Sport Team of the Year Award from Avraham Burg, Former Speaker of the Knesset and Chairman of Mifalot on Tuesday, October 20, in London.
The San Francisco 49ers were awarded Sport Team of the Year by Beyond Sport, a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change across the world. For its community relations efforts in 2014, the 49ers organization received the honor during the October 20th Beyond Sport Summit & Awards 2015 ceremony at the Grange St. Paul's Hotel in London. The other finalists for this year's Sport Team of the Year were the Chicago Fire Soccer Club (USA), Saracens Rugby Club (UK) and SV Werder Bremen (Germany).
The Sport Team of the Year Award celebrates an amateur or professional sports team that goes beyond addressing increased participation levels. The international award focuses on major issues occurring within a team's community and the values of the community initiatives have been integrated into the wider operational activities of the team itself. Earlier this year, the 49ers were also named a finalist for ESPN's Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation previously honored the team in 2013 as a recipient of the prestigious Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy.
A highlight reel of the San Francisco 49ers community relations and foundation efforts in 2014
"The San Francisco 49ers demonstrate how sport can contribute to solving many of society's issues," said Nick Keller, founder of Beyond Sport. "The direct impact they have on the lives of thousands of children annually through their weekly hands-on community service programs that keep kids 'Safe, On Track, and In School,' is truly inspiring."
In 2014 alone, the 49ers community relations department hosted a total of 45 team events, 160 youth football clinics and camps, and supported more than 100 partner events. In total, 49ers 2014 community relations and outreach efforts directly impacted roughly 30,000 community members and 49ers Faithful, logged more than 500 community service hours, donated $4.6 million to the community and inspired many more through their charitable activities.
"Every day our team takes the field, they are focused on winning the game. Similarly, every day of the year, the San Francisco 49ers organization strives to be the best community partner we can be," said John York, 49ers co-chairman. "Community involvement has always been top priority for the 49ers, so to receive an international recognition such as this from a prestigious group like Beyond Sport is an honor that means a great deal to us all. Just like the name of this award suggests, there is more to sport than simply what takes place on the playing field."
View some of the best images of 49ers players and coaches in the community in 2015.
A photo gallery of the San Francisco 49ers community relations and foundation efforts in 2015.
Underscoring some of the organization's 2014 community relations efforts and its commitment to keeping kids "Safe, On Track, and In School," in July 2014, the San Francisco 49ers, Chevron, Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVeF), and the Santa Clara Unified School District launched the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, with 60 high-achieving 7th graders at the newly-designed Chevron STEMZONE at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara. For over 15 years, the 49ers Foundation has also been a primary supporter of the San Francisco 49ers Academy - a school in East Palo Alto, Calif., that seeks to bridge the opportunity gap for underserved middle school students through in-school and after school programs.