From the Executive Director

We started the 49ers Academy 13 years ago with the goal of keeping kids safe, on track and in school. The success we have today has exceeded our wildest expectations. We have placed students at some of the most prestigious high schools in the Bay Area and a number of our alumni are attending four-year colleges.

Along the way we have established extraordinary relationships that have literally changed the lives of our students. The San Francisco 49ers team has stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our mission to help students since the beginning. John and Denise York have personally provided college scholarships to alumni, funded our science lab and library and regularly spend time with the students. Bryant and Kristin Young established the Dream Team scholarship program and are now fully funding the college educations of dozens of Academy graduates. Costco Wholesale provides us with funding, backpacks and food for our neediest families. Steve Young and Jerry Rice jointly built a state-of-the-art multimedia center allowing our youth to creatively express themselves while being trained on professional equipment and software.

Our individual donors have allowed us to steadily grow our programs over the years serving hundreds of kids and their families along the way. And through it all our amazing staff has made it happen.

I am so proud of the work that we continue to do each and every day. We are making a difference in our community and the lives of the students that need us the most. Thank you for being a part of our family.

Michele Sharkey
Executive Director

Our history

Bridging the Opportunity Gap…. Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest places in the country.  The runaway success of tech companies has driven up the cost of living – making life in East Palo Alto much harder on children. Poverty is real and the stress children face in poverty -- homelessness, food insecurity, trauma and so forth -- can accumulate over time, damaging students' ability to learn. Closing the opportunity gap is essential to closing the academic achievement gaps that separate most East Palo Alto students from their peers in our surrounding communities.  
The San Francisco 49ers Academy opened in 1996 and is designed to keep kids safe, on track and in school. The Academy serves middle school students and provides a small, caring and safe community – both during the school day and in after school programs. We bridge the opportunity gap by creating transformational learning opportunities that empower youth to realize their full potential. By providing our students with the resources, relationships and services they need, we are changing lives, one student at a time.

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