49ers pick recipients of social justice grants

NFL

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)The San Francisco 49ers have announced the nine recipients of grants the team is awarding as part of a $1 million commitment to organizations creating social change.

Team CEO Jed York announced plans to award the grants on May 30 following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.

The two-month selection process included members of 49ers ownership and the front office, as well as players, and led to the groups revealed Wednesday.

The final picks were determined by the 49ers representatives on the Players Social Justice Council, led by defensive lineman Arik Armstead, offensive lineman Ben Garland, defensive end Dee Ford, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson and former cornerback Jamar Taylor.

”It meant a lot to me to be involved in something like that, especially something of that magnitude that can affect the community,” Tomlinson said. ”We had a bunch of guys get together in a meeting. … We chatted for a while about how to distribute everything. I thought it went really well. It was an honor to be a part of something like that and do something like that for the community.”

The nonprofit organizations receiving the grants had to be focused either on racial equality in policing, ending mass incarceration, or educational and economic advancement for young Black people.

The organizations picked are: 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, African American Community Services Organization, Californians for Safety and Justice, Dream Corps, Operation Hope, Pico California, SPAAT, The Innocence Project, and The Players Coalition.

”This funding will be essential to the work we do to make a difference in the lives of the young men with whom we work,” said Muhammad A. Nadhiri, chairman of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area. ”We look forward to this partnership with the 49ers organization and seeing all it can do to support our community.”

The 49ers have also launched a video series, Subject to Change, with the first two episodes focusing on race and police brutality, voter education and steps to take in the Bay Area for progressive change. Players also recorded public service announcements to promote Voter Registration, the 2020 Census, and Get Out the Vote.

In 2016, York matched former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s $1 million donation to improve racial and economic inequality and foster communication and collaboration between law enforcement and the communities in the Bay Area.

”More than ever, actionable items and plans are of vital importance, so we are honored to support these nonprofits who are doing grass roots work in these crucial spaces,” York said. ”We are committed to creating real and lasting change throughout our community and country. We’re so proud of our players and staff for the way they’ve responded and come together to influence change in tangible ways.”

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