Arik Armstead

49ers teammates show overwhelming support for Armstead's gala

Arik Armstead received support from 49ers teammates at his foundation's inaugural Kick-Off for Kids Gala.

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SACRAMENTO — Several of Arik Armstead’s 49ers teammates came out to support his foundation, the Armstead Academic Project's inaugural 2023 Kick-Off for Kids Gala on Thursday evening along with 49ers owner Dr. John York. 

It wasn’t the first fundraising gala put on by the foundation, but it was the biggest thus far, and the most successful. Teammates Trey Lance, Jauan Jennings, Alex Barrett and 49ers alum Patrick Willis made the trip to support their teammate. 

“He’s changing a lot of lives,” Lance said. “I think that’s the big picture and the way to look at it. I’m super inspired by him and I have been since day one of getting to know him. The way he handles himself, everything that he has received, and he’s given back to the community, it means a lot.” 

The AAP helps provide resources to offer equity in education for underserved youth in Armstead’s hometown of Sacramento. This includes, but is not limited to books, computers and programs to help young students learn how to be successful in school. 

“I really don’t have any words,” Willis said of Armstead’s work. “From day one when he got into the league I’ve seen him do charitable contributions for his hometown of Sacramento, as well as the Bay Area. Just really happy to be here and show him some love.” 

Not only does Armstead’s work help the community, but it also provides inspiration for his teammates. His ability to balance a successful career and an effective and impactful program off the field is impressive, even to veterans on the team. 

“It’s amazing to see him put together an amazing thing for the community that he’s from,” Barrett said. “We look up to Arik in the facility, and he’s always been a tremendous example to the younger athletes coming in or like myself who has been there for a while. We look up to him and his leadership."

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The team's ownership might be the biggest supporter of Armstead’s charitable endeavors. Dr. York explained how vital the defensive lineman is to community programs that the club is involved in and why it was important to make the trek to Sacramento to show support. 
“It’s very important to me because Arik is so important to the 49ers, not only on the football field, but off,” Dr. York said. “Arik is always there for all of the community events and the 49ers Foundation, but he also sits on the council for Inspire Change which is an NFL product where we put $500,000 a year in for the club. 

“Arik is one of the council members that decides where that money is going to go.” 

York hopes that Armstead is not just a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award after being the team's representative three years in a row, but a winner. The club owner believes the defensive tackle and philanthropist is more than deserving. 

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