The San Francisco 49ers Foundation and its award-winning 49ers EDU program announced today that applications have opened for the Dr. Harry Edwards "Follow Your Bliss" Award grant. This year's application will focus on highlighting teachers who have gone above and beyond in the face of COVID-19 and distance learning. The 49ers Foundation, Extra Yard for Teachers and Micron Technology, Inc. are excited to recognize the dedication and hard work of teachers that often go unnoticed.
In 2020, the award expanded to honor five full-time, K-12 educators, administrators and community educators across the San Francisco Bay Area who lead the future generation with purpose, passion, dedication, and love. Each of the five awardees will receive a $5,000 stipend for in-classroom or digital materials and other necessary resources for the 2021 – 2022 academic year, mentorship from Dr. Edwards for the recipients and his or her fellow educators, and formal recognition at a virtual 49ers event with family and colleagues.
"Over this past year, parents across the country became teachers and learned firsthand what it took to day in and day out to not only teach their kids, but keep them engaged and motivated to learn," said Jesse Lovejoy. "It is has never been more important to spread Dr. Edwards' message of leading with purpose, passion, dedication, and love and thanks to the help of Extra Yard for Teachers, Micron and the NFL Foundation we are able to celebrate five Bay Area educators who do just that."
The application for this year's grants will put an emphasis on all that teachers have had to endure throughout the pandemic, and the winners we are seeking this year will have done that and also maintained the adherence to our most important criteria – inspiring youth via passion, connection to community and support both inside and outside of the classroom.
"We are pleased to support teachers in the Bay Area for years beyond our national championship game thanks to our partnership with 49ers EDU and programs like Follow Your Bliss," said Britton Banowsky Executive Director of the CFP Foundation.
"Education plays a key role in building stronger communities, and Micron is committed to applying our strengths and resources to promote learning opportunities for all," said Dee Mooney, executive director of the Micron Foundation. "We're pleased to continue our partnership with the 49ers and recognize teachers for their incredible passion and continued resolve in keeping students engaged in the face of the pandemic."
Over the last half century, Dr. Edwards has been a nationally renowned sociologist, civil rights activist, educator, author, and 49ers team consultant. A graduate of San Jose State University, Edwards served as a Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley – his tenure spanning 1970 – 2000.
"It has never been more apparent how important teachers are in shaping future generations," said Dr. Harry Edwards. "I am proud to support an organization, like the 49ers, that value education and lift teachers up for all that they do. This award would not be possible without the leadership of the York family and their commitment to generate the resources necessary to assist the development and advancement of Bay Area youth in the classroom and beyond."
The award's namesake stems from the first step in Dr. Edwards' Blueprint for Academic Achievement and Success: "Follow Your Bliss - Explore and consider paths that might lead not just to achieving a career interest but to realizing your calling – the educational option and emphasis that for you lies at the confluence of talent, passion, productive potential, and opportunity."
Basic criteria for the 2021 Dr. Harry Edwards "Follow Your Bliss" nomination:
- Must be currently working in one of the nine counties of the Bay Area.
- The teacher is a full-time educator for grades K – 12.
- The administrator is a principal, superintendent or other full-time employee at a K-12 school.
- The community educator is affiliated with a museum, after-school program, or nonprofit organization dedicated to providing learning opportunities for K-12 students.
- All applicants must be deeply committed to teaching students and have a positive and lasting impact on youth;
- Have exceptional teaching skills as evidenced by effective instructional practices and learning results; and
- Have an engaging and inspirational presence that motivates and impacts learners.
The nomination/application window for the 2021 Dr. Harry Edwards Follow Your Bliss Award is now open. For more information, please visit www.49ers.com/bliss.