Our
Story

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

The San Francisco 49ers Academy was established through a partnership with Communities in Schools (CIS) in 1996. CIS started as a small grassroots movement led by Bill Milliken, one of the nation's foremost pioneers in the movement to help young people graduate from high school and go onto rewarding careers.

Milliken understood that children who have access to caring adults, safe places to learn and grow, preventative health care and opportunity are less likely to engage in risky behavior and are more likely to stay in school and make a positive contribution to their community. He also realized that the so called "drop-out problem" begins long before kids reach high-school age. He showed communities how to work with their younger students, coordinating community resources to serve kids inside their schools. Out of this, CIS was born.

In the most recent ranking of non-profits done by Worth magazine, CIS was rated one of the top 100 best charities in the world, “doing the best job, dollar for dollar…[and] will do their best to change some of the grim facts of today's world that we all face." For every $1 invested in our organization, CIS leverages as much as $5 in resources for under-privileged schools.

The 49ers Academy is a unique partnership – a public school, supported by a private non-profit agency. Ravenswood Communities in Schools (CIS) was incorporated in 1996 and is a separately incorporated affiliate of the National Communities in Schools, Inc. We are the only CIS program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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