The San Francisco 49ers Foundation and 49ers EDU presented by Chevron today opened the application window for the 2022 Dr. Harry Edwards "Follow Your Bliss" Award Grants presented by the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation's Extra Yard for Teachers program and Micron Technology, Inc. Now in its fifth iteration, the annual grant program honors five of the best educators across the Bay Area who are committed to having a positive and lasting impact on Bay Area youth. Educators can be nominated at 49ers.com/bliss from now until March 31st.
Thanks to the generosity from the CFP Foundation and Micron, a total of $25,000 will be awarded to five separate educators for the purchase of any in-classroom or digital materials for the upcoming academic year beginning Fall 2022. Winners will also receive mentorship from Dr. Edwards for themselves and their fellow educators, along with an invitation to the annual award ceremony with family, friends and colleagues. Educators can be nominated for one of the five following categories: K-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th-12th grade, Community Educators and Administration.
"Although they always have been, educators have reminded us all just how essential they are to our communities and families through their perseverance during the pandemic," said 49ers EDU Director Jesse Lovejoy. "As students began trickling back into the classrooms, teachers prioritized health and safety measures while also maintaining thriving learning environments. We know there are thousands of education heroes throughout the Bay Area, so we look forward to reviewing a vast pool of applicants this Spring."
"Even as an education system veteran of over 50 years, I am profoundly impressed by the continuing commitment and enhanced production of our Bay Area educators," said Dr. Harry Edwards. "49ers EDU and I feel so privileged to receive and consider applications from so many illustrious and deserving educators for a fifth straight year. Their demonstrable professionalism and unbounded faith in the potential of their students is unparalleled. We are all proud to be associated with the grant program and look forward to meeting the grant recipients."
Dr. Edwards has been a 49ers team consultant over the past half century, advising on education, civil rights, diversity and inclusion. In his youth, he was forced to attend community college for a semester after failing to qualify for any of the four-year colleges offering him athletic scholarships. Three and a half years later he graduated from San Jose State University with honors and a bachelor's degree in sociology. Thanks to experiences as a student, and as a 30-year Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Edwards knows better than anyone that education requires perseverance, purpose, passion, dedication and love.
"We are thrilled to continue recognizing great educators in the Bay Area thanks to our partnership with 49ers EDU and the Follow Your Bliss Awards," said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. "Teachers are the single most important factor in student achievement and we love celebrating what these amazing educators are doing to inspire their students."
"Education plays a key role in building stronger communities, and Micron is committed to applying our strengths and resources to promote equitable learning opportunities for all," said Executive Director of the Micron Foundation Dee Mooney. "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."
The 49ers Foundation and 49ers EDU has awarded $75,000 in educational grants via the "Follow Your Bliss" Awards since 2017. To learn more, please visit 49ers.com/bliss.