One week after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced plans to donate the first $1 million of his salary to charity, the team followed suit. 49ers CEO Jed York said Thursday that the team will commit $1 million to organizations in the Bay Area aimed at solving racial and socioeconomic problems plaguing communities.

The funds will go toward the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation.

“We have chosen to work with these two organizations because they have proven track records of effecting change in the face of challenging problems and have the collective reach to make the greatest impact,” York said in a statement.

This comes two weeks after Kaepernick announced he would not stand for the national anthem during games as his way of protesting the harsh treatment of African-Americans, particularly at the hands of law enforcement in the United States. His decision drew sharp criticism from fans and past NFL players. On the flipside, current NFL players have stood behind Kaepernick’s protest by kneeling at games. He even got the attention of President Obama this week and earned major support from veterans.

As for his own team, the top brass have not said whether they support or disagree with Kaepernick. The funds pledged by the 49ers is separate from Kaepernick’s personal donation.

On Thursday, York spoke with ESPN about the recent events and the team’s pledge to combat racial issues.

“Whether or not I agree with Colin and his form of protest, it doesn’t matter,” York told ESPN. “I don’t think you can argue the facts of the socioeconomic divide that we see, especially in the Bay Area but throughout this country. That’s what we want to turn the focus toward.”

In Oakland alone, the city reported almost 17 violent crimes per 1,000 residents for 2014 which exceeds other areas in the Bay. The city experienced 80 homicides, 3,140 assaults, 3,481 robberies and 209 rapes which ranked them third nationally for violent crime.

The devastating effects of crime and income disparities among other problems for citizens in the Bay is what York says cannot be ignored.

“When you look at the median income in San Francisco for African-Americans it’s $27,000 a year compared to $89,000 for caucasians,” he continued. “That in turn can lead to the incarceration rates that we see in this state where it’s almost nine times as likely that an African-American will be imprisoned as a Caucasian. When you see those numbers, those numbers aren’t sustainable. The median income gap is more than double the national average. We need to address those things, and that’s why I really want to make sure we’re doing something about those things. That’s why I want to make sure we’re focusing on the issues as opposed to the form of protest.”

Check out ESPN’s interview with York to hear more about the team’s financial committment.

Dear Colin Kaepernick…It worked.

kaepernick kneel gif
Photo: Inside Edition

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