Since joining the Washington Nationals during the 2021 season, Josiah Gray has been active in the club’s community projects, participating in the team’s Summer Reading program and at MLB’s annual PLAY BALL events.
In early 2023, Josiah and his family did not hesitate to step up to the plate, supporting Washington Nationals Philanthropies’ “Cancer Isn’t Kuhl” campaign, raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research in the wake of a teammate’s wife’s diagnosis.
Notably, Josiah has stepped into the role of being a Player Ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy -- dedicating time off the field to supporting year-round youth development programs at the Academy’s facility in one of the most underserved neighborhoods in Washington. In less than two seasons with the Washington Nationals, he has left an indelible impact on the next generation of baseball and softball players.
Josiah became the official player ambassador to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in 2022. In this role, held previously by Ian Desmond, Anthony Rendon and former teammate Josh Bell, Josiah serves as a liaison between the clubhouse and the Academy as well as a champion for the program in the community. Further, he serves as the face of fundraising initiatives that raise critical support for Academy programs. Josiah has been eager to represent the signature program of Nationals Philanthropies because of the impact youth sports and academic enrichment had in his own early development and a desire to grow the game of baseball.
The first opportunity for Josiah to meet Academy scholar athletes was well before he became ambassador when he visited the facility with his then-teammate Bell. Back in 2021, the pair played with and gave tips to scholar athletes participating in HUSTLE, the Academy’s competitive baseball and softball program.
When the ambassador role became vacant in 2022, Josiah was the undeniable choice to lead young scholar athletes. He jumped quickly and eagerly into traditions begun by former Academy player ambassadors and even started new ones of his own. This includes regularly engaging with the program, annually coordinating a special visit to the Academy for players and coaches, hosting scholar athletes at Nationals Park and delivering the commencement speech at the Academy’s eighth-grade graduation ceremony. During the 2023 graduation, he delivered poignant remarks sharing how proud he is of each and every scholar athlete for their academic and athletic accomplishments. Josiah also designed a first-of-its-kind clothing collection with lifestyle brand Leovici, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Academy.
What resounds in the hearts and minds of our National Academy scholar athletes are the quiet moments with Josiah -- playing a simple game of catch, comparing music taste and learning to make the perfect omelet in the Academy’s teaching kitchen.
Josiah’s dedication to helping grow the game of baseball by minimizing barriers to participation shines through in his commitment to the Academy and his leadership in the Nationals clubhouse. The true and undeniable measure of his contributions will endure through the authentic, human connections between Josiah and the community that inspire so many.