49ers, Seahawks rivalry takes charitable turn for hospitals in 2 cities

Many a sports rivalry can turn nasty, but the one between 49ers and Seattle Seahawks fans — and even the front offices — is shaping up to be philanthropic.

It began when 49ers fans raised money to put up a billboard in the Seattle area; after paying off the billboard, they decided to donate unused funds to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

As a counter to that move, a couple of Seahawks fans raised more than $65,000 for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital through online fundraising, corporate donations and matching funds from an anonymous 49ers fan, who pledged up to $100,000 to hospitals in both cities.

That got the ball moving.

On Tuesday, the 49ers franchise posted on its Facebook page, “Despite their differences, 49ers & Seahawks fans are joining forces to raise money for children’s hospitals in the two cities. The 49ers will match up to a combined $100,000 raised in the efforts this week.”

Not to be outdone, Seahawks owner Paul Allen on Thursday morning wrote on Twitter: “We are all in for kids: @Seahawks match $112k raised by @49ers & #GoHawks fans for children’s hospitals.”

The UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is “beyond exited” to hear of the donations, said hospital Executive Director Kim Scurr.

Donations to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital will go toward its new $1.6 billion, state-of-the-art, six-story facility set to open Feb. 1 at Mission Bay that has yet to secure all the funding necessary.

The hospital has raised slightly more than $400 million of its $600 million goal, so the fan contributions will be “incredibly helpful,” Scurr said.

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