Nationals Philanthropies honors former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams with Power of Baseball Award

Washington Nationals Philanthropies, the official charitable arm of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club, hosted its annual signature fundraising event Tuesday night, honoring former Mayor of Washington, D.C., Anthony “Tony” Williams with its annual Power of Baseball Award. The Nationals Homecoming Gala, presented by KPMG, raised nearly $1 million to further Nationals Philanthropies’ community impact work. Held at held at The Anthem at The Wharf, the event was attended by members of the Lerner family, the Washington Nationals baseball club and front office, and representatives from several prominent local organizations and philanthropists. Auction items can continue to be bid upon until 8 p.m. ET tonight, March 27, at

The Power of Baseball Award, presented by The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation, is Washington Nationals Philanthropies’ most illustrious award, and recognizes an individual, corporation, organization or local group that embodies the positive character and level of achievement exemplified throughout the game of baseball.

“As we begin the 20th season of Washington Nationals baseball, it is my privilege to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of Mayor Williams,” said Marla Lerner Tannenbaum, founding board chair of Washington Nationals Philanthropies and principal owner of Washington Nationals. “His vision for Washington, D.C., his exemplary leadership, and his unwavering belief in the power of baseball make him the undeniable choice for this year's Award.” 

Williams served as Mayor of Washington, D.C., from 1999 to 2007, and is widely credited with playing a major role in bringing professional baseball back to D.C. through his collaboration with Major League Baseball. As part of this work, the idea for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy was born and written directly into the agreement that brought Nationals Park to Washington, D.C.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our former Mayor, Anthony Williams, tonight’s Power of Baseball Award honoree, without whom the dream of Major League Baseball and the Academy in Washington might have remained just that—a dream,” said Tal Alter, CEO of Nationals Philanthropies.

The Youth Baseball Academy, operated by Nationals Philanthropies as its signature program, has since delivered 10 years of holistic youth development, academic enrichment, wellness education, and youth sports experiences to thousands of school-age children living east of the Anacostia River. Since beginning after school programs in the fall of 2013, five classes have matriculated from third through eighth grade in the BASE afterschool and summer program, going on to excel on and off the baseball field at some of the region’s most competitive high schools.

The Academy has grown into a community pillar over the last decade, serving as a hub of support and a critical food access point for the neighborhood through its weekly produce market and meal programs. Ensuring participants are not playing and learning on empty stomachs has been a core feature of the Academy since its inception, and to deliver on that mission, the Academy partners with DC Central Kitchen to provide snacks and meals for all BASE programs and, since 2023, to over 600 summer league and clinic participants at all four YBA PLAY sites. Since 2018, the organization has supported the delivery of nearly one million meals into the Washington, D.C., region.

Williams will continue to be honored during the Washington Nationals’ home opener on Monday, April 1, where he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, after which current D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will give the call to “Play Ball!”.

A celebratory video honoring Williams as the 2024 Power of Baseball Award recipient, along with b-roll and photos from Tuesday’s gala, can be downloaded here.

Recipients of the Power of Baseball Award have been true ambassadors of the #Nats4Good mantra and exemplary stewards of a commitment to community. Past recipients include:

2023              Ryan Zimmerman

                       Washington Nationals Alumnus

2022              Theodore N. Lerner

Nationals Founding Managing Principal Owner

2021               José Andrés for World Central Kitchen

                       COVID-19 Community Partner

2020              Dave Martinez

                        Washington Nationals Manager

2019               Inaugural Graduating Class

                        Nationals Youth Baseball Academy Scholar Athletes

2018               JMS Little League All-Star Team

                        D.C. Little League Championship Finalist

2017                Ross Eisenman

                        Nationals Youth Baseball Academy Mentor

About Washington Nationals Philanthropies:

Washington Nationals Philanthropies is the official charitable arm of the Washington Nationals. Its mission is to help children, families, and communities thrive through sports-based youth development and access to healthy food. The organization delivers on this commitment by spurring investment in community-based programs that address the disparity of opportunity for residents of the region. Since 2007, the foundation has issued over $6.8 million in grants to local organizations. Through its signature program, the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the organization operates year-round youth development and baseball instruction activities, as well as a holistic food access program – supporting the delivery of nearly 1 million meals into the Washington, DC region since 2018. Since 2013, the organization has invested $42 million for facility construction and annual programming through the Academy.

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