News and analysis
December 01, 2014

Super Bowl Fund to Launch on Giving Tuesday

Only 70,000 people will be able to attend Super Bowl 50 in 2016, but Bay Area organizers are making sure at least $10-million raised for the event is shared by local charities before and after the big game.

The 50 Fund, the philanthropic arm of Super Bowl 50 fundraising efforts, will award grants to nonprofits in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and other communities in the region. The fund launches this week on Giving Tuesday, the annual effort to spur charitable gifts, when organizers will take to Twitter to reveal details of two initial grant programs.

Daniel Lurie, founder of the nonprofit Tipping Point Community, is serving as chairman of the Super Bowl 50 committee. He has pledged to steer 25 percent of all money raised by the host committee toward philanthropic causes in the Bay Area. The host committee has already raised $40-million for Super Bowl 50, which will take place February 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.

“This isn’t just about a game,” says Mr. Lurie. “We wanted to partner with our community. Events like this can bring people together.”

This season the San Francisco 49ers started playing at their new stadium in Santa Clara, about an hour south of San Francisco. The stadium's location has helped him build regional partnerships among politicians, community groups, and, most important, corporate backers, that otherwise would have proven challenging if the stadium had been in San Francisco.  

“We are diversified in the support we have,” Mr. Lurie says of the companies that have so far contributed to Super Bowl 50.  Some companies are spreading their donations across multiple years and thus will likely be able to stick to their commitments independent of business or economic conditions.

The Super Bowl 50 host committee has already secured financial commitments from tech giants Apple, Google, and Yahoo as well as from other large companies like Gap, Chevron, and Dignity Health.

Vetting Grantees

Mr. Lurie’s role as chief executive of Tipping Point, a nonprofit that raises money and makes grants to fight poverty, has helped ensure that corporations from the Bay Area’s flourishing tech sector give to the Super Bowl 50 effort.

In its heavy reliance on donors from its region’s key industry and its requirement that grantees meet certain standards to receive continued funding, Tipping Point resembles New York’s Robin Hood Foundation, which relies heavily on financial industry titans for its support and holds grantees to a data-driven standard.

Tipping Point’s model for vetting grantees resonates with the business community, Mr. Lurie says, and has helped him raise $20.9-million during fiscal year 2014, according to the group’s latest annual report.

From its share of the money raised for Super Bowl 50, the 50 Fund will distribute grants to organizations involved with youth development, community investment, and sustainable environments.

In addition, the NFL annually commits $1-million for philanthropic purposes for each Super Bowl through its Super Bowl Legacy grant program. The league requires all Super Bowl host cities to earmark at least $1-million for charitable efforts.

Charities interested in applying for 50 Fund grants can get application and deadline details from the organization's Twitter account starting at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Giving Tuesday, or they can follow the conversation using the hash tag #50fundchat. People can also sign up for grant-making news and updates by email on 50 Fund's website.