2013 Rookie of the Year nominee and Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer is, by far, one of the most humble and down-to-earth people that anyone could have the pleasure of meeting or interacting with.
After finishing his bullpen session on Saturday morning, Archer made his way over to the fences of the field where fans had gathered. They were hoping to obtain an autograph or get a picture with him, but he also had wisdom to offer. When he asked one of his fans to sing an Alicia Keys song for him and she politely declined, he told her, "There are two types of people in this world. Those who make solutions and those who make excuses."
He would intermittently leave to take part in additional workouts, and return to signing for more fans once each workout had been completed. When Archer walked over to me, he immediately complimented the striped high-socks that I had worn that day, before we began to chat about the foundation which takes his namesake.
Archer founded the Archway Foundation with the vision of empowering the youth. "The youth are the future of the world," Archer told me on Saturday in Port Charlotte, after completing his workouts for the day, "and if I can use this baseball platform to positively impact as many lives as I can, I think I’m serving my mission."
Chris Archer's free time is limited, but when he isn’t diving into a book or getting ready to pitch in a big game, Archer is giving back to the community. The Archway Foundation is his means of doing just that.
If you visit the Archway Foundation website, you’ll see a picture of Chris with the baseball team that he’s sponsored, The Archers, with this caption:
"To participate on a select-level baseball team typically costs a family from a few hundred to a few thousand per player. Archers Baseball is completely free for those selected to participate. To this end, we seek out and welcome young men whose life situation may prohibit them from the opportunity to participate in a select baseball program."
On the website, you can also find the Mission Statement of the Archway Foundation:
"The Archway Foundation was created to bridge the gaps that prevent youth from fulfilling their goals. The Archway Foundation will empower and support youth so that they achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams. The Archway Foundation actively strives to identify the needs of people which will enable them to live, grow, and thrive."
It's all about community. It's all about giving back.
During this past off-season, the Archway Foundation teamed up with Butterball to donate dozens of turkeys at Thanksgiving to families in need.
The Foundation also donated $59,000 of sporting equipment to the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County in North Carolina, and $12,000 of sporting equipment to the after-school program of Tampa's Police Athletic League.
I asked Archer what his plans were for the future of the Archway Foundation, but he expressed the nature of his organization was to be flexible, which allows him meet needs as they come to his attention. "Right now, I don’t want to have a super specific focus, I want to be able to help everybody."
Currently, the Archway Foundation is working on coordinating with two non-profit organizations to alleviate some of the financial burdens placed on families who are adopting children, and families who have children battling cancer.
"Two organizations that I am teaming up with are a non-profit to help with the finances of adopting children because I’m adopted, and it really hits home, and it’s a really expensive process. The other one is a non-profit that helps with finances for families of children with cancer. That whole process can be super expensive, having to check in and out of hotels, and travel to different states to visit specific hospitals that may serve specific purposes."
But the foundation doesn't exist just to raise money for worthy causes. Archer wants his fans to have awareness, and to understand that service is what will make a lasting impact. I asked Archer what was important to the foundation, and he noted that, "monetary donations are nice, but really, [it's your] time."
As mentioned before, Archer is definitely one of the most approchable players on the Rays and he is looking for help to grow the Archway Foundation. "Anybody who wants to give me advice or suggestions on things to do or how to operate would be awesome," Archer stated.
You can email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact one of the Board Members of the Foundation, Ron Walker, at (919) 795-8160.
Monetary donations can be made through a paypal account on the foundation's website.
Thank you again Chris for taking the time to speak with me about the Archway Foundation and I can't wait to watch the Foundation grow within the community!