On a partly-cloudy Friday afternoon at Santa Clara High School, two groups totaling 56 juniors as part of the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) sat in 6th and 7th period and talked about philanthropy.
"Raise your hand if you've ever donated your time or volunteered for something," said 49ers EDU director Jesse Lovejoy, who oversees the 49ers efforts in educating more than 60,000 K-8 students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) at Levi's® Stadium.
Fifty-six hands across both periods shot up.
"You're already a philanthropist," said Lovejoy.
In November 2018, the San Francisco 49ers Foundation announced a partnership with Learning by Giving (LxG) Foundation -- a non-profit started by Doris Buffett that educates college students on becoming the next generation of philanthropists -- to teach 49ers SLI high school students the business of philanthropic giving.
With the goal of inciting interest in philanthropic endeavors at an even younger age, the 56 49ers SLI juniors are part of a first-ever pilot high school program by the Learning by Giving Foundation and 49ers Foundation. Both non-profit organizations will collectively donate $20,000 towards the classes to use to give back to the Bay Area community.
Every two weeks during the academic year from now and until the class graduates in 2020, students will work together to identify issues they're passionate about and find local non-profits that align with those values to give back. In addition to developing a mission statement, each class will need to come to a consensus on which organization the funds will go to and why.
"I've already learned more about philanthropy," said Kaylan Martinez, a junior who joined 49ers SLI her sophomore year. "I found out that you don't necessarily have to be wealthy to donate your time to give back. I already love to volunteer my time as a peer tutor a Cabrillo Middle School, and I'm excited to contribute to the community as a teenager with the help of this course. It makes us feel like we matter and can make a difference."
LxG is a unique course in experiential philanthropy offered at 35 colleges and universities nationwide. Each LxG class is given $10,000 in funds to give away to a community organization by the end of the semester to allow students to learn about effective philanthropy firsthand. The pilot program being offered to 49ers SLI students at Santa Clara High School marks the first time that LxG content is presented at that education level.
This opportunity for our 49ers STEM Leadership Institute juniors would not have been possible without the unwavering support from 49ers co-chair Dr. John York and Learning by Giving Foundation board members Alex Buffett Rozek and Mimi Rozek," said 49ers Foundation Executive Director Justin Prettyman. "After months of collaboration and planning, it was great to see the philanthropic coursework in action, engaging and inspiring our leaders of tomorrow."
49ers SLI, launched in 214 in partnership between the 49ers Foundation, Chevron, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the Santa Clara Unified School District, currently hosts five cohorts of scholars totaling 300 students enrolled in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade program, which expanded to Santa Clara High School in fall 2016.
The collaboration between the 49ers philanthropic arm and Learning by Giving Foundation comes during the Learning by Giving Foundation's 15th anniversary and will pave the way for one of the 49ers SLI students to a receive full-ride academic scholarship over the next three years.