Earlier this year, the San Francisco 49ers held their annual Players for a Purpose event to benefit the 49ers Foundation. After last year’s event was virtual, the 49ers raised $650,000 at this year’s in-person event.
“The Foundation does an awesome job and just a tireless effort to find funds and in tough circumstances with 2020,” said Jared Muela, Director of 49ers PREP & Fan Engagement. “And now that we’re in a different space today…because we always have an onsite presence and we have youth football and flag football participants at the event. So to really kind of let the donors see the work this year. We had a flag football kit packing station. So they were able to get their hands on pack these things that would go right into the young people’s hands.”
Each kit contains a jersey, a mouth guard, flag belt, 49ers memorabilia, stickers and a magnet schedule. In addition, the league gets the items needed to put on games and practices.
That money raised at Players for a Purpose goes towards “the Foundation’s mission to educate and empower Bay Area youth through collective and innovative community-focused strategies” and part of that is the work done by 49ers PREP.
“…[W]e are going to take care of anything that’s sub-professional level football,” said Muela. “We focus on health and fitness, character development supporting the high school and youth football landscape as well as health and fitness goals of young people. We hosted over 214 events with over 42,000 participants in 2019…[I]t really runs the gamut. We have the opportunity to work in a lot of different spaces, but in 2020 with the pandemic, obviously shifting, we went to a virtual model, which was difficult in the kind of initial phases, but then really opened up some like wild, new opportunities for us.”
After a virtual 2020, 49ers PREP was able to host an in-person event earlier this year, opening an outdoor fitness zone in East Palo Alto’s Joel Davis Park, partnering with the Wender Weis Foundation for Children, Robert A. Bothman Inc., Greenfield Outdoor Fitness and Newfront.
The space has fitness equipment, including wheelchair accessible machines.
“…[I]t’s really the combination of like a gym and a playground,” Muela said. “It’s not playground equipment, but I think it lets people really conceptualize what it is and everything’s weight-based and leverage based…We were happy to finally get this one back. We’d usually do them every year in some shape or form, but the last year we weren’t obviously able to, so to get back and do that and renovate that space was great.”
You can learn more about 49ers PREP here.