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Richmond Flying Squirrels to donate $40,000 from recent fundraisers to local charities providing COVID-19 relief

Last week’s “500 Bases of Love” and “Bring it Home” fundraisers by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Sports Radio 910 The Fan raised more than $30,000 for COVID-19 relief. With an additional $10,000 contribution from Flying Squirrels Charities, more than $40,000 will be distributed to local organizations combating needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Holli Fund, The Community Foundation, Robins Foundation’s Family Crisis Fund through RVA Strong, Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, Nourish Henrico and Chesterfield Food Bank. 

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Last week’s “500 Bases of Love” and “Bring it Home” fundraisers by the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Sports Radio 910 The Fan raised more than $30,000 for COVID-19 relief. With an additional $10,000 contribution from Flying Squirrels Charities, more than $40,000 will be distributed to local organizations combating needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Holli Fund, The Community Foundation, Robins Foundation’s Family Crisis Fund through RVA Strong, Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, Nourish Henrico and Chesterfield Food Bank.

On Thursday, April 16, the date originally scheduled as the team’s home opener, Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell walked 125 laps around the basepaths at The Diamond, touching 500 bases, as part of the “500 Bases of Love” fundraiser. Each lap and each base touched were representative of donations made to the fundraiser. Parney’s walk totaled more than 8.5 miles.

Later on Thursday afternoon, Parney joined Wes McElroy on Sports Radio 910 The Fan for “Bring it Home,” a four-hour live fundraiser with celebrity guests and prize opportunities for donors.

The double-header of events resulted in more than $30,000 raised.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Flying Squirrels Charities will be contributing an additional $10,000.

“We miss our fans terribly, so the ‘500 Bases of Love’ was a great way for us all to connect positively, raise some money to fight COVID-19 and tell our fans we appreciate them, love them and can’t wait to make memories again soon,” Parney said. “Each of these organizations will work diligently to make sure this money helps people in need because of this pandemic. We pray we can be together soon in safe and happy surroundings.”

The money from the fundraisers will be distributed to organizations assisting families and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as groups helping those who are combating the outbreak.

Holli Fund offers grants to individuals in the food service industry experiencing an economic crisis. Grants help pay for rent, transportation, mortgage payments, and/or utilities. Holli Fund supports individuals in the Richmond-area food service industry who are experiencing an economic crisis such as injury, illness, death of an immediate family member, loss of income due to coronavirus restrictions, or other emergency.

The Community Foundation is a leading partner and advocate for philanthropy and service in the Richmond region. Founded in 1968, they’ve built a strong legacy of helping people and institutions give back with passion and purpose.

“You can always count on Parney and the Flying Squirrels organization not only to entertain us, but also to give back in meaningful ways,” Community Foundation CEO Sherrie Armstrong said. “At a time when many of our community members are particularly hard hit by this crisis, a donation to the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund will directly support local organizations that are working hard to fulfill basic needs such as food, healthcare and shelter. Their generosity also sends a powerful statement that we can do more good when we come together.”

The Robins Foundation in partnership with the City of Richmond launched The Family Crisis Fund earlier this month to assist families with children in direct and immediate need of support due to job loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program has partnered with Family Independence Initiative to work with families across Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico.

Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that partners with the school district to improve student learning and achievement in preparation for success in college, career, and community. Their role is to seek private sector philanthropy to support new and existing evidence-based programs and enrichment activities.

“We are incredibly grateful for this donation from the Flying Squirrels,” Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation Executive Director Ty Toepke said. “At a time when so many of our local businesses are facing their own challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis, their generosity towards the students of Richmond Public Schools is inspiring.”

Nourish Henrico supports locally owned restaurants in Henrico by buying meals for police officers, firefighters and other county employees who are working the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the county’s program, 700 to 900 employees are eligible to receive meals valued at $15 or less from about 100 approved restaurants. In addition to its own support, Henrico welcomes contributions from the community. Donations for Nourish Henrico may be made through the Henrico Police Foundation and the Henrico Firefighter Foundation.

“The Nourish Henrico Program is about giving back – giving back to one of the most impacted industries and to our frontline employees,” Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas said. “This effort has also shown me how strong and supportive our community is during times of difficultly, and the Flying Squirrels are an integral part of our community.”

Chesterfield Food Bank strives to stop families in the community from going to bed hungry every night. They proudly serve a variety of neighbors, a majority of whom do not qualify for government assistance. In cooperation with local Social Services, they locate and help those families and individuals that would not have been helped otherwise and serve 1,800 people a week.

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Education

Check out these summer reading tips, part of HCPS’ ‘Summer Reading Kick-Off’

“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever to stay connected,” said Shannon Hyman, HCPS library services specialist. “This summer, Virginia authors, illustrators, and community partners are joining with our school librarians to challenge our students to stay connected through reading. All activities are optional, engaging, and designed to encourage learners to read widely all summer long.”

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Henrico County Public Schools’ “Summer Reading Kick-Off” aims to build students’ reading skills – and encourage fun – all summer long. At three interactive webpages for HCPS elementary, middle, and high school students, you’ll find reading resources, activities, and tips for keeping your students engaged this summer.

The colorful interactive summer reading pages are available by going to www.henricoschools.us and looking under “Hot Topics” or at https://sites.google.com/henrico.k12.va.us/mockupedflix/summer-reading. The page also features a video welcome to HCPS’ summer program, featuring 15 Virginia authors and illustrators, as well as HCPS community partners.

Students can click and explore as they navigate the reading resources and activities appropriate for their school level. The tropical “Elementary Island” page features an explorable beach resort, the middle school page resembles a comfortable hangout for tweens, and the high school site, based on a day at the park, enables students to select useful reading apps on a virtual cell phone. Each page features a video tour by an HCPS librarian.

The sites include student “launch boards” with activities such as reading a cookbook and making a recipe (elementary), making a stop-motion video based on a book (middle school), and drafting a resume (high school). Students can explore ways to find great reads, take part in virtual book clubs, hear audiobook talks, and more.

“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever to stay connected,” said Shannon Hyman, HCPS library services specialist. “This summer, Virginia authors, illustrators, and community partners are joining with our school librarians to challenge our students to stay connected through reading. All activities are optional, engaging, and designed to encourage learners to read widely all summer long.”

How can you encourage your student to read? These tips from HCPS librarians and Library Services Department staff members can help:

  • Read aloud together with your student every day, at every age.
  • Borrow audiobooks and listen as a family.
  • Opt outside. Bring your book, read on your device, or download an audiobook and enjoy on a walk.
  • Pick up some great magazines to enjoy in the car, at the pool or under a tree! Magazines are gateways to other reading materials and foster visual literacy.
  • Explore Henrico County Public Libraries’ great programs and activities. Your school librarian will be working with our public libraries to share summer reading activities, lists, and opportunities with all students. Be sure to check out Henrico County Public Library’s summer reading program, at henricolibrary.org/summerreading.
  • Remember, if you want your student to read, give them ample opportunities to see YOU reading, too!

For more summer reading tips, go to https://sites.google.com/henrico.k12.va.us/mockupedflix/summer-reading and click on “Printable Summer Reading Overview Page.”

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Community

Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Chuck Domino is Stepping Down

Just a few days after announcing that there won’t be a Richmond Flying Squirrels season another big announcement from the Squirrels.

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Official Press Release:

Richmond Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Chuck Domino is stepping down from his role with the organization effective immediately, the team announced on Thursday.

As part of a baseball career spanning four decades, Domino was a founding member of the Richmond Flying Squirrels organization. He joined the franchise in 2009 to facilitate its move from Norwich, Conn., to Richmond, and he led the club’s effort to overhaul The Diamond and establish the team’s brand in Virginia.

In the franchise’s first season in 2010, Domino was named Eastern League Executive of the Year as the Flying Squirrels led the circuit in overall and average attendance. Over the last decade, the Flying Squirrels have been at the top of the league in average attendance six times and finished second four times. The team has also ranked in the top-two in the league in total attendance in nine of its ten seasons.

Along the way, the Flying Squirrels brand has become one of the most recognizable across minor league baseball and has established itself an impactful part of the Richmond-area community, while upgrades to The Diamond have enhanced the fan experience at games.

Statement from Chuck Domino
“I am very proud of what was accomplished since I first set eyes on the Diamond in the summer of 2009. To get it ready for baseball in a few short months on a finite budget, to build a front office, instill a culture from scratch and then to watch that staff and culture become a fabric of the Richmond community is something that I will always cherish. That whirlwind of months leading up to the first game in April 2010 as the Flying Squirrels alongside Parney and a group of other devoted professionals was a special time. We didn’t accomplish our goal of moving into a new stadium during my tenure but it many ways what we did without a new stadium is even more impressive. I’d like to thank Eastern League President Joe McEacharn for fighting to get us into Richmond and to Lou DiBella for giving me the opportunity which led to a decade of great memories and friendships in Richmond.”

Statement from Flying Squirrels President & Managing General Partner Lou DiBella

“Chuck was an integral part of our move to Richmond and the launch of the Flying Squirrels. He was an invaluable asset, particularly during our transition and renovations of The Diamond. Chuck leaves the management of the Squirrels in fine hands of our new Chief Executive Officer, Todd “Parney” Parnell, and General Manager Ben Rothrock, who will add Vice President to his title. I wish Chuck Godspeed in all that is ahead for him and Domino Consulting.”

Statement from Eastern League President Joe McEacharn

“Eleven years ago, Lou DiBella and I agreed on one very important thing: We needed a very special individual to build an organization that would exceed every expectation, unleash the GREAT people of Richmond and stand the test of time. I couldn’t be more proud of and appreciative to Chuck for under-promising and over-delivering to the people of Richmond. In short order, he and Lou ramped up an organization that started with excellence and continues to improve. The Squirrels have developed a root system here in the Richmond community that will produce Nuts for a very long time. He leaves the team poised to grow even further with the structure in place and that speaks volumes of the person I consider to be the very best there is in MiLB. Richmond should not be disappointed at his departure, but you should be thankful and celebrate his ever-lasting impact in your community. We look forward to many more years of wonderful accomplishments from the Flying Squirrels and will remain thankful for his everlasting impact. The good news is Chuck and I are close friends, so I can continue to call on him for advice. My very best wishes go out to Chuck in whatever he chooses to do!”

Statement from Flying Squirrels Chief Executive Officer Todd “Parney” Parnell
“Personally and professionally, I’m grateful to Chuck for our relationship that now spans five decades. He is a minor league baseball legend I will be forever thankful for his personal guidance and friendship.”

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Education

HCPS families: Take a short survey and help Henrico County Public Schools plan for fall reopening

“The input we get from families and staff will be critical as we formulate our plans,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “HCPS will take into account state guidance, the advice of health experts and the wishes of the larger community before making any final determinations for the fall.”

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Henrico County Public Schools will reopen in the fall, but what exactly will that look like? The school division is making plans for a safe and healthy return to school and is seeking the input of HCPS families and staff members. The survey results will be used for planning purposes and respondents are not committing to any choices for the 2020-21 school year.

HCPS parents, guardians, and employees received an email recently with a link to a short video about reopening, followed by a survey. The email sender will be “Henrico County Public Schools” and the subject line will read “Back to school: Your feedback needed.” The survey is open through July 5. It is only available to HCPS employees and student households.

“The input we get from families and staff will be critical as we formulate our plans,” said Amy Cashwell, HCPS superintendent. “HCPS will take into account state guidance, the advice of health experts and the wishes of the larger community before making any final determinations for the fall.”

On June 9, Virginia officials issued guidelines for state schools and school divisions to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. HCPS will use the state guidance, along with staff and community input, to create detailed plans for instruction and health. After an initial review of the guidelines, HCPS is pursuing a plan that combines two approaches: one hybrid model that alternates in-person and virtual learning, and a second fully virtual, parallel pathway:

  • Hybrid learning pathway: One portion of the student body would attend classes on campus for a period of time, while another portion would learn remotely. This pathway contains several options under consideration. The two groups might alternate days or weeks on campus to build a blended learning environment. Having fewer students on campus would make it easier to implement distancing guidelines.
  • Parallel all-virtual learning pathway: Based on the choice of parents or guardians, students may opt for a fully virtual learning experience that parallels the “in-person” instruction happening in classrooms.

Before reopening for any large-scale in-person instruction, HCPS and other Virginia school divisions must show how they will comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 prevention strategies, including:

  • Use of face coverings.
  • Health screenings for staff and students.
  • Physical distancing measures.
  • Enhanced hygiene practices for staff and students.
  • Isolating symptomatic cases.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Those not receiving the email should check their email account’s spam or junk folders. For questions about the survey, or if you did not receive an email, contact Helen Whitehurst in HCPS’ Department of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation at [email protected].

For an overview of HCPS’ plans as they stand prior to community feedback, watch the video below.

The school division will make additional announcements as plans continue to be developed in accordance with the Commonwealth’s new health and safety guidelines.

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