After a successful 7+ year tenure at Friends of Baseball, during which she delivered a 10x increase of revenue and oversaw exponential growth in community impact, we are announcing that Nova Newcomer will be making a transition out of her role as Executive Director. Nova came to this leadership role as the first staff person at Friends of Baseball and has helped secure the legacy of the organization as an enduring community institution. We want to thank her for her dedicated service, which involved many significant accomplishments:
Nova will be transitioning from her day-to-day role in late November, however she will be consulting with our team to support a successful hire and transition to a new Executive Director. The Executive Director position will be posted next week and we encourage you to share within your networks. If you have any questions or concerns during this process, please do not hesitate to reach out directly at EDsearch@friendsofbaseball.org.
President, Board of Directors of Friends of Baseball
Dear Friends of Baseball family,
You have been the best fans an Executive Director could ask for. You have cheered us on through significant growth and wins for our organization, and put your rally caps on for us when the challenges of our times called for it. It has been an honor and a privilege and the most rewarding ride to be the skipper at Friends of Baseball the past 7+ years.
I’ll start where I began.
I was a 9 year old girl who just wanted a chance to play. And my community wrapped its arms around me and made that possible. My coach, when I was 11 years old, saw leadership in me and asked me to be a catcher — a role I played with pride from 5th grade until my senior year of high school.
So long after my playing days were over and the opportunity presented itself for me to get behind the plate for Friends of Baseball in 2014, it wasn’t just that I was interested, I couldn’t think of anything else. The idea that we could rally the community around a promise of what baseball and softball could make possible for youth burned so bright that it propelled us through early and discouraging rejections.
Together, we persevered, we innovated, we put youth and their families at the center of what we do. We continued on, knowing if we did that, we could put baseball and softball youth development back on the map.
Last spring, we were asked to be one of the organizations to help end the isolation for youth disproportionately impacted by a global pandemic and we are answering that call.
Because I personally know what it’s like to have insecurity about where you will lay your head for the night, whether you will have enough food, or the threat of utilities being shut off, and because I understand firsthand the ravages of mental health issues on a family and young children — our team’s response to the pandemic is something I am most proud of.
Our charge to right the wrongs of racism that has seeped into every aspect of our society remains. When less than 8% of Major League players identify as Black Americans, the work remains. When the ballfields of neighborhoods across our region aren’t filled with the joy and laughter of all of our community’s children, the work remains. And until girls of all backgrounds can see sports as a viable pathway for the future where their voices will be heard and respected, the work remains.
In the search for a new Executive Director at Friends of Baseball, we will be looking for a leader with a commitment to that ongoing system change who has deep roots and connection to the community. The new leader will need to have a passion for baseball and softball and possess a competitive spirit to take Friends of Baseball’s impact to new heights.
I want to thank our dedicated team at Friends of Baseball who have been the key to all that we have been able to accomplish before and through the pandemic. To our Board, thank you for seeing our organization through great heights and hardships with a steady hand and giving us the flexibility to move toward the community in a just and compassionate way. And to all of our friends and supporters who have believed in us and walked alongside us, I want to extend my deepest gratitude.
In the near term, I will be focused on supporting a successful transition to a new Executive Director for our organization. I will carry my heart and passion for this work into my next role.
The future of Friends of Baseball is bright, we have an exceptional and committed staff, and our foundation is strong. I am excited to see what the next era of Friends of Baseball will make possible for the children of our community.
Friends of Baseball
Check out our upcoming Fall Programs below:
Full Count RBI afterschool SUN Enrichment Classes are starting this month at schools in PPS, Reynolds, and Parkrose School Districts. Serving elementary-aged students, the Full Count RBI curriculum provides a fun "first exposure" to baseball/softball skills. Trained coaches provide physical activity and supportive mentoring for students, while helping to develop "Major League Citizens." Each student receives a "Ball Player Kit," including glove, cap, and t-shirt.
"Play Catch with a Coach" is re-starting this month, hosted at Wilshire Riverside Little League's James Combs Field. These sessions, pair young ballplayers with a Full Count RBI Coach to practice baseball/softball skills and help introduce beginners to the game. All participants receive a new baseball or softball glove.
Baseball Clinics are now being offered at Charles Jordan Community Center for elementary and middle school students who are new to the game. Piloted in partnership with Portland Parks and Rec's Teen Force Program, and led by FOB Lead Coach, Gerald Bolden, these community center clinics provide increased access to baseball/softball for youth and new students in North Portland.
Our Halloween Distributions and Community Events coming up this fall will help foster family youth and youth in communities in and outside the Portland Metro area. Youth receive baseball-themed Halloween goodie bags to brighten the fall holiday season.