San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York on Thursday announced a pledge from the organization's charitable arm, matching quarterback Colin Kaepernick's commitment of $1 million, to two Bay Area charities that address social issues in collaboration with law enforcement.
York announced the 49ers Foundation is pledging $1 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation.
“Today, I am committing that the 49ers Foundation will contribute $1 million to the cause of improving racial and economic inequality and fostering communication and collaboration between law enforcement and the communities they serve here in the Bay Area," York said in a statement.
The 49ers Foundation has donated $34.6 million to non-profit organizations since its inception in 1992. The foundation contributed $4 million in 2015, according to the 49ers. The 49ers Foundation supports development programs for underserved youth to keep them "Safe, On Track, and In School."
In making his announcement, York did not reference any connection with Kaepernick's protest, which he began to draw attention to police brutality and oppression of minorities in America. Kaepernick sat during the playing of the national anthem before the first three games of the 49ers' exhibition season. In the 49ers' exhibition finale against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid took a knee among their teammates on the sideline as part of the protest.
Kaepernick promised to donate the first $1 million he earns this season to charity. Kaepernick is scheduled to make at least $12.3 million this season. On Wednesday, Kaepernick announced on social media he was going to commit additional money to groups that align with his cause.
Kaepernick, who enters the season as the 49ers' backup quarterback, has seen his jersey sales rise to No. 1 in the NFL.
"I want to thank everyone who has shown me love and support, it truly means a lot!" Kaepernick wrote on Instagram. "I wasn't expecting my jersey sales to jump to number one because of this, but it shows the people's belief that we can achieve justice and equality for ALL!
"The only way I can repay you for the support is to return the favor by donating all the proceeds I receive from my jersey sales back into the communities! I believe in the people, and WE can be the change!"
York announced on Thursday the 49ers Foundation will donate to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation.
"We have chosen to work with these two organizations because they have proven track records of effecting change in the face of challenging problems and have the collective reach to make the greatest impact," York said in the statement. "Silicon Valley Community Foundation is the largest community foundation in the world, managing $7.3 billion in assets and more than 1,800 philanthropic funds globally. The San Francisco Foundation has served the people of the Bay Area since 1948, almost as long as the 49ers franchise. We are excited to work with these two renowned foundations over the coming months to develop a giving plan to help our community find unifying solutions to these pressing issues.”