Friends, fans, and supporters,
Under normal circumstances, the Nationals Homecoming Gala would take place this week. Our World Series Champions would walk a red carpet in front of thousands of fans gathered along District Wharf. We would fill up The Anthem to celebrate a successful 2019 and share plans for 2020 and beyond — all while raising funds to support our community impact work.
Instead, I pen this letter to you from my couch while tucked safely at home with my family. Though home, I have not been idle. A dedicated staff has been working around the clock to assess the greatest needs of our community as we navigate uncharted waters. This is a continuation of work we have been doing for years, much of it behind the scenes, to evaluate the most effective way for the charitable arm of the Washington Nationals to support the people of our region.
Our community is family, which is why it is amidst these unique and challenging times that we share with you our enhanced plan for community impact.
I am proud to introduce you to Washington Nationals Philanthropies, a new organization replacing the Nationals Dream Foundation, built on the inimitable relationship between a baseball team, its fans, and the broader community that each represents.
At the heart of what we do is a simple purpose with resounding impact — foster a culture of philanthropy in the DMV.
In the spirit of #Nats4Good, Washington Nationals Philanthropies will raise funds in order to direct coordinated investments and grant making activity for programs and services benefiting the community. Our new platform will catalyze the energy of Nationals fans and the generosity of Nationals players, corporate champions, and community partners to fuel even greater good for a better Washington region. Aligning with the work of our signature program — the Youth Baseball Academy, we will build an enhanced and cohesive platform for civic engagement that extends far beyond the Academy walls.
While today marks our public debut, we have been behaving in this way for some time. When our neighbors were impacted by the federal government shutdown, you came alongside us and gave generously. When massive flooding in Northern Virginia wiped out youth baseball fields, your support helped rebuild. Our historic journey to the World Series afforded us another opportunity to give back in an unprecedented way, providing more than a quarter-million dollars to community partners on Giving Tuesday.
We stand at the ready to give again. Today we announce the NATS4GOOD Community Response Fund.
Administered by Nationals Philanthropies, the fund will disperse charitable grants to community partners delivering essential food, health, and human services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund marks the first phase of the activity we will undertake to support our community during what we expect will be a long-term and dynamic situation.
We have seeded the fund with $100,000 to be issued on a rolling basis to support local non-profit organizations with a well-defined need and implementation plan for delivering direct support to the community as a result of widespread closures and limited access to critical services.
A first grant of $25,000 from the fund will be awarded to the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition led by 4P Foods, a longstanding foodservice partner of the Youth Baseball Academy. The grant will expand the coalition’s efforts to support local farms and food businesses to ensure that our community has access to good food. The coalition is actively working to employ an innovative, multi-sectoral approach including activities that source produce and other food from local farmers and food banks, hire foodservice professionals to prep meals or recipes, and coordinate logistics to get food in the hands of people where and how they need it.
Our fund is designed to be dynamic — responsive to the emerging needs of our community. Future grants will be awarded to support pressing issues and organizations delivering on-the-ground impact.
We know many of you are looking for a way to help. You can extend the impact by donating today to the NATS4GOOD Community Response Fund. Your tax-deductible gift will be passed along in full to a carefully vetted and credible partner.
The Washington Nationals strive to become a civic partner to every Washingtonian interested in making a positive difference and a leading philanthropic organization in professional sports.
I hope you will join us.
Chief Executive Officer
Nationals Philanthropies & Youth Baseball Academy