Washington, D.C. – Washington Nationals Philanthropies today announced that pitcher Josiah Gray has been named the official Player Ambassador to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. In this role, Gray acts as the direct link between the club and the Academy, serving as a resource to the school-aged children who participate in its programming. Gray follows in the tradition of former Player Ambassadors Josh Bell, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond, who first envisioned the role when the Academy opened its doors in 2014.
“The game brings us all together, so being involved in the D.C. community is really special,” Gray said. “I’ve made a few visits to the Academy so far, and I love the energy the kids bring and the support and the program that they have over there. It’s a really good opportunity to be able to give back to these kids, have some fun with them and grow the game of baseball.”
Since joining the Nationals partway through the 2021 season, Gray has been active in the club’s community projects, including visits to the Academy and at MLB’s annual Play Ball program in June of this year. Gray also designed a clothing collection with lifestyle brand Leovici with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Academy, helping to grow the game of baseball by minimizing barriers to participation.
“Josiah has already made a substantial impact on the field and in the community, and we are thrilled that he’s agreed to be the Academy’s next Player Ambassador,” said Tal Alter, Chief Executive Officer of Nationals Philanthropies. “In just over a year with our ball club, he’s proven that he is passionate about giving back and uplifting the next generation of baseball and softball players.”
The signature program of Washington Nationals Philanthropies, the Academy has served more than 4,600 participants through its state-of-the-art, nine-acre education and recreation campus in Ward 7’s Fort Dupont Park neighborhood. The facility plays host to programs for school-aged children in the adjacent neighborhoods, including afterschool enrichment, introductory youth baseball clinics, and competitive travel-style baseball and softball teams. As the official non-profit arm of the ball club, Nationals Philanthropies relies on donations from individuals, foundations and corporations to fuel its community programs.
About Washington Nationals Philanthropies
Washington Nationals Philanthropies is the official charitable arm of the Washington Nationals. Its mission is to champion opportunities for all residents of the Greater Washington region to thrive by inspiring investment in the community. The organization delivers on this commitment by spurring investment in community-based programs that address the disparity of opportunity for residents of the region across a variety of needs. Since 2007, the foundation has issued over $6.4 million in grants to local organizations. Through its signature program, the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the organization operates year round holistic youth development and baseball instruction activities. Since 2013, the organization has invested $39 million for facility construction and annual programming through the Academy. For more information about Nationals Philanthropies, visit nats4good.org.