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Richmond Flying Squirrels win MiLB Community Champion Award for local activism

The Richmond Flying Squirrels have been named the recipient of the 2022 Minor League Baseball CommUNITY Champion Award, MiLB announced on Sunday night.

Trevor Dickerson



The Richmond Flying Squirrels have been named the recipient of the 2022 Minor League Baseball CommUNITY Champion Award, MiLB announced on Sunday night.

The CommUNITY Champion Award recognizes a Club that demonstrates an outstanding, ongoing commitment to charitable service, support and leadership within their local community and the baseball industry. The award was presented during the Opening Night Reception and Awards Program of the Baseball Winter Meetings at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

“Making an impact in the community is a pillar of our organization,” Flying Squirrels CEO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “We strive to be a valuable community partner and aim to use our platform to make positive impacts in the Richmond region. We are grateful for this recognition from Minor League Baseball and for our community.”

In 2022, Flying Squirrels Charities expanded its areas of focus in an effort to fully encompass all the ways the Flying Squirrels impact the greater Richmond community. The newly rebranded Flying Squirrels Charities focuses on four pillars: Education, Athletics, Social Determinants and Inclusion. Flying Squirrels Charities raises funds through a number of avenues including in-stadium initiatives during the season and events around the region all year.

With Flying Squirrels Charities this year, the team has partnered to support local organizations including Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Richmond, Friendship Circle of Virginia (FCVA), Metropolitan Junior Baseball League (MJBL), Fox Elementary School and more.

The Flying Squirrels are visible in the greater Richmond community well beyond the baseball months. Mascots Nutzy and Nutasha have made more than 400 community appearances this year around the Commonwealth of Virginia. Additionally, Flying Squirrels front office staff, players and coaches have volunteered this year with organizations and events including children’s hospitals, Miracle Leagues, Feed More, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Salvation Army and others.

The Flying Squirrels continue to promote educational causes in schools around the Richmond region, including the “Go Nuts for Reading Program,” which challenges elementary and middle school students to read eight books over a two-month span to receive a free ticket to a Flying Squirrels game. This year, more than 10,000 students from 68 participating schools completed the challenge.

The Flying Squirrels launched their Executive Trainee Program, offering opportunities to students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities the opportunity to gain hands-on, professional experience working in various capacities with the team. The program is designed to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce with the goal of elevating more minorities into leadership positions throughout the professional baseball industry.

Through these and many other initiatives, the Flying Squirrels aim to make Richmond a better, more inclusive place, while simultaneously helping grow the game of baseball.

The Flying Squirrels open the 2023 season on Friday, April 7 at The Diamond against the Reading Fightin Phils. Ticket packages for the 2023 season are available now at

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.