The Sharks Foundation started February's Education Month presented by SAP by extending a $40,000 Community Assist Grant to Techbridge Girls, an Oakland-based non-profit focused on inspiring girls to discover a passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Techbridge Girls' mission is to excite, educate, and equip girls from low-income communities by delivering high-quality STEM programming that empowers a girl to achieve economic mobility and better life chances. Made possible by a partnership with SAP, the commitment will support Bridging the Gender Gap in STEM: Girl-centric after-school education for low-income youth in South Bay communities. More specifically, it will accelerate the organization's Digitization Strategy, helping provide curriculum, training and support for educators, expand virtual learning opportunities and fund STEM & Social-Emotional Learning kits which include items like Wi-Fi hotspots and yoga mats.
On February 4, the Foundation and SAP announced a multi-year partnership with non-profit CityTeam to launch the Alameda County Mobile Food Pantry expansion project and fund it through the 22-23 hockey season. This project aligns with CityTeam's vision to restore lives and rebuild communities through innovative programs which provide food, shelter, clothing, training, and life transformation. The $500,000 Community Assist Grant and partnership is an extension of the Sharks Foundation and SAP's $34,000 commitment to sponsor the Santee Neighborhood Mobile Food Pantry in San Jose through August 2021.
CityTeam's existing bi-monthly mobile food distribution model currently serves 26 locations in Santa Clara County; with the help of Alameda County Community Food Bank and the grant from the Foundation and SAP, 18 new sites across Alameda County will be selected and launched over the next three years to serve the East Bay. A large portion of the grant funding will be used to purchase a refrigerated box truck that will allow CityTeam to make more deliveries possible with the location expansion. Additionally, the donation will assist with launching new programming that will provide clothing to Alameda County neighbors and help close the digital divide for low-income residents.
On February 10, the Sharks announced the launch of the new FINancials Junior GM Program presented by Comerica, a free financial education program for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms in Northern California. Students have the opportunity to learn about saving, budgeting and other math concepts from the perspective of a hockey general manager. As students progress through the program, they'll learn about the challenges of finance while managing the San Jose Jr. Sharks, the San Jose Barracuda and finally the San Jose Sharks.
After a historically long road trip to start the season, the Sharks finally returned to SAP Center on February 13 against the Vegas Golden Knights. To celebrate the long-awaited return home, the Foundation held a Home Opener Auction, featuring autographed hats, pucks, jerseys and more. The auction raised more than $3,000 for the Sharks Foundation.
Throughout February, the Sharks celebrated Black History Month by recognizing Black players and staff through Alumni Profiles presented by SAP. The Sharks wore special "Celebrating Equality" helmet decals from Martin Luther King Jr. Day through the end of February to commemorate the anniversary of Willie O'Ree becoming the first Black player in league history. The Foundation also promoted the film Willie: Lessons in Social Justice & Racism and supporting educational materials. The highlight of the month was hosting a virtual Black History Night, presented by the Teal for Change Council on February 15. Prior to the game that night a panel discussion for fans focused on topics of diversity and inclusion and ways in which the Sharks organization has been taking strides in anti-racism. Featured panelists included Sharks President Jonathan Becher and Milan Balinton, Executive Director of the African American Community Service Agency (AACSA). One of the panelists was Sharks front office employee and artist Mohamed Fofana, who designed the warm-up jerseys worn by the team pre-game and were auctioned off to raise just under $25,000 for AACSA!
The Sharks Foundation hosted a Black History Month Auction on February 26 which included items autographed by Evander Kane and former Shark Joel Ward, and featured a Kenya Ice Lions jersey signed by the 20-21 Sharks team. Net proceeds totaled $3,600 and benefited Good Tidings Foundation's GT Ventures, a scholarship program that supports Black youth looking to start a non-profit or business.
Building off last year's STEM Field Trip Day at SAP Center, the Sharks Community Relations department shifted the event to a Virtual STEM Week presented by SAP. 140 sixth grade students from Ardenwood Elementary School in Alameda County who have participated in the Future Goals Hockey Scholar program were invited to a week full of activities centered around the science, technology, engineering and math related concepts of hockey. As a reward for their hard work, STEM Week brought the concepts learned in the "classroom" to life through various presentations and tasks. Beginning on February 22 and continuing through February 26, students logged on to hear from a STEM Career Panel, learn about temperature and ice conditions in two unique labs, meet special guests during STEM Trivia and finished off the week with a Street Hockey Challenge!
Shifting almost entirely virtual, the Sharks Foundation's Education Month presented by SAP was still able to provide $43,600 to non-profits and impacted 1,521 lives throughout February.