The NFL Players Association is proud to announce the five finalists for the 2022 NFLPA Alan Page Community Award: Arik Armstead (San Francisco 49ers), Zach Ertz (Arizona Cardinals), Will Gholston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Rodney McLeod (Philadelphia Eagles) and Emmanuel Sanders (Buffalo Bills).
The winner will be announced at 4:00 p.m. ET on February 9 at the NFLPA's annual Super Bowl press conference. The honoree will receive a $100,000 donation, courtesy of the NFLPA, to his foundation or charity of choice.
The NFLPA Alan Page Community (APC) Award is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player. The award annually recognizes one player who goes above and beyond to perform community service in his team city and/or hometown. Each of the finalists will receive an additional $10,000 donation from the NFLPA for his foundation or charity of choice. As an award for the players and by the players, the winner will be determined this week through a league-wide electronic vote by their NFL peers.
Armstead earned NFLPA Community MVP honors for the second year in a row after investing $250,000 toward the launch of his Armstead Academy during Week 4 of the NFL season. The after-school program will provide tutoring, mentoring and leadership development for K-12 student participants in his hometown of Sacramento. Armstead Academy serves as the latest partnership between the San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman's Armstead Academic Project and Mercy Housing California, a non-profit housing developer that provides service-enriched affordable homes to residents throughout the state. The academy will primarily serve students who live in Mercy Housing communities.
En route to earning the Week 9 NFLPA Community MVP, Ertz served multiple communities across the country. In Philadelphia, the former Eagles tight end and his Ertz Family Foundation broke ground on House of Hope, a project that will create a safe space for local youth and one made possible through fundraising efforts of more than one million dollars. Then, just days after being traded to the Cardinals, Ertz launched the "Score More n' Feed More" campaign with Athletes Corner that resulted in 145,000 meals being donated to Arizona food banks. The nine-year veteran also tackled food insecurity at the start of last year by contributing $200,000 for 600,000 meals to Philabundance and provided winter clothing for 600 kids and families in need.
Gholston, who hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner giveaway, held his biggest event yet this past November. The Week 13 NFLPA Community MVP donated nearly $60,000 so that 920 families in Tampa Bay and Detroit -- in a nod to his jersey number 92 – could receive a holiday meal. In partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, Gholston distributed food at four distribution sites across three days, with the largest servicing more than 350 cars during the drive-thru event at Hillsborough Community College in Florida. The cause is close to the Buccaneers defensive lineman's heart after he experienced food insecurity as a child growing up in Detroit.
In being named a Community MVP for a second consecutive year during Week 14 of the season, McLeod once again made a lasting, unique impact on his team city. The Eagles defensive back hosted his inaugural Art & Sole Sneaker Ball, where more than $205,000 was raised and more than 250 new pairs of sneakers and 150 toys were collected for local families in need. The funds generated will go toward updating STEM and Black history curriculum at Philadelphia schools, starting with the two he adopted through his foundation's Game Changers initiative – Constitution High School and Hill-Freedman World Academy.
As the Week 3 NFLPA Community MVP, Sanders added to the list of team cities that he has positively impacted during his 12-year career. The Bills wide receiver relaunched his foundation in Buffalo at the Harriet Ross Tubman School, where he visited and engaged with students for the day and announced a personal donation of $20,000 toward his charity's cause of supporting children from financially disadvantaged families. Sanders also committed to be a spokesperson for Field & Fork Network, which works to enhance local food systems by connecting communities in need with fresh, healthy options.
The nominees for the award were pulled from the NFLPA's 2021 Community MVP campaign, where one player was honored each week during the regular season for his outreach efforts. Each of the 18 Community MVPs was awarded $10,000 for his foundation or charity of choice and committed to making a virtual visit to a school or children's hospital as a way to encourage kids during the ongoing COVID pandemic.
In building off the program's theme, our supporting partner Heartlent Group created a limited-edition illustration of each Community MVP posing as a superhero in a toy box that highlighted their charitable works. Additionally, our supporting partner Aldine Sports Association made T-shirts and hoodies featuring each illustration. The apparel is being sold on its website, with a portion of all proceeds going toward the player's foundation or charity of choice.
A panel of judges from across labor, media, sport and service as well as the results of an electronic fan vote narrowed the pool of 18 NFLPA Community MVP candidates down to five finalists. The panel included NBA legend Isiah Thomas (founder of supporting partner Cheurlin Champagne), Samantha Blatt (product manager for supporting partner Wheels Up), Aaron Gallant (Internal Communications Specialist for the AFL-CIO), Mike Jones (NFL columnist for USA Today) and Marc Pollick (president and founder of The Giving Back Fund).
Learn more about the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award.