Levi's Stadium Intel Gate entrance empty, shot from a height
The San Francisco 49ers celebrate 10 years at Levi's Stadium's by launching “49ers Cares About Santa Clara,” an initiative to look at how the organization has helped its surrounding community. Photo by B. Sakura Cannestra.

For a decade, the 49ers have worked to help uplift the community surrounding the city the team calls home.

In an effort to recognize that work, they’re celebrating Levi’s Stadium’s 10th anniversary by launching “49ers Cares About Santa Clara,” an initiative to publicly show how the 49ers Foundation, team and stadium have affected the surrounding community — especially the team’s philanthropic support.

Ellie Caple, 49ers spokesperson, said community support is an important part of the 49ers’ legacy and is a “top down” priority of the team’s owners, the York family. She added that the 49ers have the largest NFL foundation, which speaks to the team’s goals of giving back to the community.

“We have always made it a priority across the many branches of the organization to ensure that we continue to contribute to this community that is hosting the stadium,” Caple told San José Spotlight. “We felt that it was important to log all of that in one place to tell the complete picture.”

A few of the programs highlighted on the site include the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, to give Santa Clara middle and high school students STEM academic engagement, skills training and leadership opportunities. So far, the 49ers have contributed $11 million to the program.

Another form of support is through the 49ers’ annual pledge of $250,000 to causes throughout Santa Clara for the stadium’s lifetime. Of this year’s $250,000, as part of the Levi’s Stadium naming rights deal, $100,000 has gone to the Santa Clara Swim Club and $50,000 has gone to the Bill Wilson Center, a nonprofit supporting local youth and families.

Amanda Pease, president of the swim club’s board of directors, said this money comes at a perfect time. The George F. Haines International Swim Center, where the team typically practices, has been closed since January and the club had to find enough pool space to accommodate its swim team practices and swim lessons.

The club used to pay up to $150,000 annually for the swim center, Pease said. Now, they pay $60,000 to $80,000 every month to use other local pools, which has left the club drowning financially.

“I would love to say that the 49ers money, that grant, is going to go to something super awesome, but it’s basically going to go to just paying for a month and a half of pool fees,” Pease told San José Spotlight. “It would be great if it could go somewhere else.”

Pease added that rebuilding the swim center will go further in supporting the future of aquatic sports in the community than just supporting the club. They teamed up with Santa Clara Diving and Santa Clara Artistic Swimming to create the Silicon Valley Aquatics Foundation, which she said is working on getting 501(c)(3) status to help raise funds to rebuild the swim center.

The Bill Wilson Center has partnered with the 49ers many times in the last decade, according to Chief Community Resources Officer Pilar Furlong. The $50,000 grant from the team will go toward supporting the center’s core programming, including its shelter for homeless youth. She added that over the years, the 49ers have helped families and children get game tickets and attend training camps.

She said the center is grateful for their continued partnership and is looking forward to other opportunities to participate in future events, such as Super Bowl 60 and FIFA World Cup matches planned for 2026.

“It’s in our community, but it’s their community also, that’s where they have their stadium and play their home games,” Furlong told San José Spotlight. “I think that is very telling in a good way that they want to support the community where they are.”

For the past few years, the team has had a rocky relationship with Santa Clara, marred by disputes over stadium management, late night noise curfews and financial management. The city and 49ers reached a settlement in their last outstanding lawsuit earlier this year, largely over public safety costs.

Caple said the settled lawsuit is unrelated to the new initiative, since the 10th anniversary was happening anyway, but that they’re looking forward to potential opportunities to partner with the city.

“While we are excited on launching this new chapter with the city staff and city government, our commitment to this community has never wavered,” she told San José Spotlight. “As much as we hear from the city about their needs, we’re also hearing from the community about their needs, and that’s really the focus of the 49ers.”

Contact B. Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] or @SakuCannestra on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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