November 23, 2020

Circle of Impact: How TGR Foundation empowers Anthony Armas to pay it forward

Since earning a Bachelor of Arts in economics, Earl Woods Scholar alumnus Anthony “Tony” Armas is climbing the ladder of his career in financial services. Currently a Senior Specialist at Public Agency Retirement Services, he uses his experiences as a scholar and professional to pay it forward. In the spirit of Giving Tuesday TGR Foundation shines a spotlight on Tony, an unrelenting champion who is supporting other students on their pathways forward and building a circle of impact.

Anthony “Tony” Armas smiles wit pride during a Sigma Delta Alpha fraternity celebration before graduating from the University of California, Irvine.

As a student at the University of California, Irvine Tony worked tirelessly to graduate debt-free within three years while balancing part-time work, extra-curricular activities and a campus commute to save on room and board expenses.

“Growing up I had supportive parents, but they weren’t always able to provide the resources I needed,” he said. “TGR Foundation definitely offered a platform for success. Throughout my years as an Earl Woods Scholar, the constant support truly motivated me to always be the best version of myself. From being able to stay organized to the importance of résumé-building and using campus resources I think every workshop resonated with me in some fashion.”

Earlier this year as the pandemic caused challenges for many students and educators around the world, Tony used his network to organize a peer-to-peer fundraiser to support TGR Foundation’s programs.

“There is always a way to give back, no matter how small,” said Tony. “The peer-to-peer fundraiser allowed me to connect with my network and briefly share my story. Not only was it an opportunity to reconnect with people, but to expose those in my current network to TGR Foundation and the work they do. When my colleagues interact with me, they see a young professional who has good work ethic. But they do not know what obstacles I have overcome to get where I am today. The peer-to-peer fundraiser allowed me to remind everyone that there are many students who need the extra guidance, support and tools.”

Tony and members of his Earl Woods Scholar Program cohort gather for a photo during the annual graduation celebration held at the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim, CA.

Coming from a low socioeconomic community and family fueled Tony’s passion for financial literacy and his adoption of a “financially-smart” mindset early on.  He envisioned a better future and continued to work hard to achieve his professional and financial goals.

“My parents were always doing their best to save for their future and their children’s futures, but even then, money was always a struggle we faced,” he added. “I had the mindset at a very young age to try and be financially smart. That mindset and the dedication in my professional career to earn my promotion and keep opening new doors for growth came with income that allowed me to support my family and save for my future. 2019 was a big year for me. I was able to pay off my student and auto loans and became a first-time homeowner. Those were huge accomplishments that I did not think I would reach at the age of 24.”

As TGR Foundation continues to provide free programs, resources and support for underresourced youth to discover and explore career pathways, its meaningful impact expands beyond the walls of TGR Learning Lab classrooms, four years of college and the lives of individual students we serve. Students, educators and volunteers that benefit from its education programs use their experiences and resources to build a brighter future for their families, communities and causes they feel passionate about.

“My goal and passion is to use all that I’ve learned with the limited resources available to motivate other students to push through and keep their head up,” said Tony. “I want to be a role model for my younger brother, other students and my peers.”


Redefining what it means to be a champion.

The Earl Woods Scholar Program is funded by through the generosity of individual donors, organizations including Farmers Insurance, Aptive Environmental and Bank of the West, and TGR Live Events. Click here for more information on the program and how to get involved.