The San Francisco 49ers organization spent a weekend in late March surrounded by the beautiful mountain vistas of Olympic Valley, CA, where they joined Olympians and other celebrities to raise over $1.7 million for the San Francisco 49ers Foundation at the 15th annual Winter Fest. The weekend-long event, presented by Chevron, celebrated football, family, philanthropy, and food and wine, while supporting youth in the Bay Area through the 49ers Foundation and their outreach programming. The highlighted beneficiary for 2015 was the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute.
The vision of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, established in collaboration with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the Santa Clara Unified School District with significant support from Chevron, is to inspire the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leaders of the future. Much like a football coach identifies athletes based on their potential to succeed and their ability to be coached and molded into a football player, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute identifies students who show the potential to succeed academically and who, with a little guidance and resources, can truly excel and grow into being a leader in STEM. Students enrolled in the program receive over 300 additional hours of education annually for six years. The program focuses on four main areas: 1) Academic excellence, 2) Leadership development, 3) Task commitment (through increased risk-taking determination, and initiative), and 4) Creativity (through development of curiosity and imagination).
San Francisco 49ers Co-Chairman John York, CEO Jed York and wife Danielle York, Co-Owners Jenna York and Mara York, and team executives, including General Manager Trent Baalke, President Paraag Marathe, COO Al Guido, CRO Ethan Casson and CFO Cipora Herman, joined head coach Jim Tomsula, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, and running backs coach and 49ers alumnus Tom Rathman at the three-day event. Also in attendance were current 49ers players Eric Reid, Phil Dawson, Ian Williams, Michael Wilhoite and Craig Dahl. 49ers alumni were well represented with Steve Bono, Dennis Brown, Dan Bunz, Brian Jennings, Guy McIntyre, Saladin Martin, Keena Turner, Eric Heitmann, Donald Strickland, Gene Washington, Ricky Watters, and Eric Wright. They were all joined by Olympians and celebrities – including Scott Hamilton, Brandi Chastain, Owen Nolan, and Josh Sweeney, as well as 49ers Foundation Board members, sponsors and donors.
The action-packed weekend featured a Chalk Talk presented by the 49ers coaching staff and players, leisure skiing with Olympians, ice skating with Scott Hamilton, broomball with Owen Nolan and Josh Sweeney, and an Alumni Fireside Chat. In addition, those in attendance participated in a yoga class taught by 49ers alumnus Brian Jennings, Frosty Football Fundamentals for Kids taught by members of the 49ers coaching staff and Brandi Chastain, Curling Bonspiel with Tracy Sachtjen and Natalie Nicholson, and a Wine and Cheese Making Seminar. Other events included a Super Chef Cooking Competition with Gavin Rock Pola from MasterChef Junior and a Science of Sports activity presented by Chevron. The evening events were emceed by the voice of the 49ers, Ted Robinson, and included silent and live auctions.
Sponsors of the event included the following: Presenting Sponsor – Chevron. Platinum Sponsors – Levi Strauss & Co., Berg & Berg and Maui Jim Sunglasses. Gold Sponsors – NRG Energy, BlackRock, and the Resort at Squaw Creek. Silver Sponsors – Franklin Templeton, Potter Electric, Dignity Health, GMR Marketing, Kerns Fine Jewelry, and Avenir Restaurant Group. Bronze Sponsors – Somersault Snack Co., Chris Kelly Family, Violin Memory, Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, Robert A. Bothman Construction, Wells Fargo and Bauer's Transportation.
Winter Fest also showcased some of the finest wineries from California. Amuse Bouche, Barnett Vineyards, Baldacci Family Vineyards, Bespoke Collection, Gargiulo, Hanzell Vineyards, Jonata, Kosta Browne, Martinelli Winery, Merry Edwards Winery, Mi Sueno Winery, O'Connell Family Wines, Papapietro Perry Winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Red Stitch, ROAR Wines, Robert Foley Vineyards, Roy Estate, Skipstone Estate, The Vineyardist, Tom Eddy Wines, TUSK and William Cole Vineyards all poured at the wine tastings and receptions, which took place Friday and Saturday evenings.
The San Francisco 49ers Foundation is the non-profit community funding extension of the San Francisco 49ers. Now in its 23rd year, the 49ers Foundation supports development programs for underserved youth. Since 1992, the Foundation has donated $30.6 million to support non-profits, contributing $4.6 million in 2014, including a $1 million grant to launch the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute at Cabrillo Middle School. The 49ers Foundation recently announced that construction has begun on a Chevron STEMZONE classroom at Santa Clara High School set to open in 2016.