The Sharks Foundation held several fundraisers throughout Hockey is for Everyone (HIFE) Month presented by Kaiser Permanente, beginning with a partnership with SJ Team Shop to create a custom HIFE t-shirt and 3 versions of HIFE themed-masks. Shirts featured the Sharks logo in the Philadelphia Pride Flag colors and masks were available in HIFE, Pride and Teal for Change designs. As a result, $2,200 was raised to benefit Silicon Valley Pride, a volunteer-run organization that coordinates Silicon Valley's annual LGBTQ+ Parade and Festival.
In response to the recent hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the San Jose Sharks formally denounced these acts at a support rally held in San Jose on March 13. In an announcement made by Sharks President Jonathan Becher, the Sharks Foundation made a $10,000 donation to Chinese for Affirmative Action in support of Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and works with authorities to respond.
One of the highlights of the month came when the Sharks Foundation, in partnership with SAP, announced they were providing a $50,000 Community Assist Grantto sponsor the African American Community Service Agency's (AACSA) CARES COVID-19 Relief Program. AACSA's mission is to preserve the dignity and culture of a diverse African American Community and to provide services that promote full participation for all of Santa Clara County and the general society. In the spirit of that mission and in response to COVID-19, the CARES COVID-19 Relief program was established as a bi-weekly food and essential item distribution initiative aimed at preventing food scarcity, homelessness and emotional instability. Occurring on the first and third Fridays of every month, AACSA expects to annually serve 15,000 low-income African American, Latinx and other underserved individuals in Santa Clara County, with a focus on San Jose. With roughly 400 individuals and their families served per event, the $50,000 grant will directly impact 4,000 lives.
To kick off the partnership and present the grant, Sharks and SAP employees volunteered at the CARES event on Friday, March 19. Volunteers assembled and distributed boxes full of nutritious food, toiletries and PPE, prepped items for future events, cleaned distribution areas and helped clients find what they need. Volunteers were joined by special guest SJ Sharkie, who assisted with distribution and interacted with clients.
In recognition of March being Women's History Month, the Sharks proudly hosted the 4th Annual Women of Teal Night on March 23. The event included a panel discussion with esteemed female leaders Rebecca Van Dyck, CEO of Facebook Reality Labs, Christal Jackson, Founder of Mosaic Genius & Head and Heart Philanthropy, Nina Simosko, CCO of Akerna Corp. and Janine Pelosi, CMO of Zoom. The panel discussed several topics including mental health, positive changes in the workplace and how to differentiate yourself as a woman in the workforce. The event concluded with the announcement of Women of Teal apparel, designed by Oakland-based artist Girl Mobb, which is now available through SJ Team Shop.
In conjunction with the event, the Foundation held a Women of Teal Auction, which included pucks, jerseys and canvases. Combined with partial proceeds from Women of Teal Night ticket sales, fundraising efforts totaled $3,400 and benefited Girl Scouts of Northern California, which helps build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
The Sharks hosted the annual Hockey is for Everyone Night presented by Kaiser Permanente on March 31. The night began with Sharks players wearing special Teal for Change + Hockey is For Everyone warmup jerseys, which were auctioned off with proceeds benefitting Vitalant Blood Center. Players also taped their sticks with Pride Tape for warmups, which were then donated to the Sharks Foundation. Team partners shared messages of equality on the SAP Center dasher boards and fans were invited to submit posters with messages of diversity, inclusion and belonging that were displayed on the glass prior to the game. An American Sign Language Interpreter was integrated into the pre and post-game media availability and performed the National Anthem.
The Sharks Foundation hosted their final auction of the month, beginning on March 29, to celebrate HIFE Night. The Auction featured autographed HIFE hats and shirts and also included player sticks wrapped with Pride Tape. The $7,500 raised by the auction benefited Caminar's LGBTQ Youth Space, a community center and mental health program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults ages 13-25 who live in Santa Clara County.
March presented a unique opportunity to highlight this year's Goals for Kids beneficiaries, all of which have a direct focus on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. Throughout the month, each of the following eight non-profit beneficiaries were featured on social media as a thank you for their work in ensuring the mission of Hockey is for Everyone extends throughout our community: SheIS, You Can Play, One Step Beyond, Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, 10,000 Degrees, YMCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley and Bay Scholars.
Since 1997 the San Jose Sharks partnered with the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, and San Jose Earthquakes on a joint scholarship program for high school seniors, forming the Bay Area All-Star Scholarship Team (BAASST). Each sports team identifies one outstanding student and awards each with a $5,000 scholarship. The Sharks BAAST winner from this year is Trenton Jiang, from Leland High School in San Jose! In addition to maintaining excellent grades while taking multiple Honors and AP courses, Trenton and his sister founded Mask-ER-Aid in response to COVID-19, a project that provides hand-sewn PPE to local hospitals. Next fall, Trenton will study Biology on a pre-med track. In partnership with Chegg, Trenton's scholarship will be matched for a total of $10,000!
The Hockey is for Everyone Month presented by Kaiser Permanente campaign raised $73,100 for local non-profits and impacted 20,188 lives.