Josias A. Sterling Memorial Fund

The Raffle is open from November 24 through December 31, 2021. 
Winners will be pulled electronically and published on
New Year’s Day, 2022

Josias A Sterling:
July 1, 1990 – July 24, 2009

Little Flower Smile,
The Horizon Has Promise,
No One Can Stop You
— Haiku Written by Josias


In the wake of tragedy, an annual game helps hundreds – Philadelphia Inquirer – 11/26/15

The Josias Sterling Memorial Fund is a charitable foundation that honors the memory of Josias A. Sterling. Josias tragically lost his life when swept away by a riptide in July 2009. The goal of the Josias Sterling Memorial Fund is to sponsor the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Philadelphia. This program introduces at least 100 children yearly to swimming and water safety.

Ray & Joan Kroc Corp. Community Center Philiadelphia


About the Josias Sterling Memorial Fund

It began the day before the Surfside Sevens Rugby tournament in 2009 when 19-year old Josias Sterling – a Temple University sophomore, and the Temple rugby club’s “Rookie of the Year” – was in Ocean City. He was gearing up to play at the Surfside Sevens the next day with the St. Joe’s Prep alumni when the unthinkable happened. While tossing around a rugby ball with a teammate in shallow water in the ocean, Josias was pulled out to sea in a riptide and tragically lost his life.

Josias’s teammates from the St. Joe’s Prep alumni played the 2009 Surfside Sevens the next day, grief-stricken, yet determined to compete in memory of their beloved friend and teammate. Out of respect, the team played one man short that day.

The Delaware Valley rugby community, with it’s legendary camaraderie, was equally inspired by the loss of this young athlete. Going forward, the U-19 bracket of the Surfside Sevens would be called the Josias Sterling bracket. A plan was hatched by rugby friends from St. Joe’s Prep and Temple to create another sevens tournament in the fall that would be played for charity. The money raised would provide water safety and swimming lessons to individuals from underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Played on the Friday after Thanksgiving starting in 2009 – the JAS “Apple Pie” 7s has been a popular sporting and social event that has successfully served it’s mission, funding water safety and swimming instructions for hundreds of children and some adults through THE JOSIAS A. STERLING AQUATIC EDUCATION PROGRAM at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia. The program is an official local partner of the national Make a Splash initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation.

“The immediate and generous response of the rugby community launched us in 2009,” said organizing coach Bill Gregory. “And the momentum created and sustained for ten years inspires us to continue this fundraising. The men who were Josias’s classmates and teammates in high school and at college are taking on leadership roles to continue the water safety program started to honor their friend’s memory. They have helped us expand our reach beyond the rugby pitch through an annual fundraising golf outing and a Fall football social we call Eagles Game Day,” he added. “With new sources of funding in place, we look forward to this ‘grand finale’ tournament, in beautiful Fairmount Park near the historic houses with the skyline of the city visible just above the tree line.

The sponsorships we seek for this Grand Finale tournament will be focused on creating a lasting legacy: a permanent endowment to support the water safety program. We hope our longtime sponsors will be exceptionally generous this year. For this final tournament, we also hope that everyone who ever played since 2009 will come back to join us on November 23, 2018. The more the enthusiasm, the better we are able to serve our mission… to honor the memory of an inspiring young rugby player, Josias Sterling, by supporting life-saving water safety in his city.”

To become an event sponsor or to sign up a club or team for the JAS “Apple Pie” 7s, contact Coach Bill Gregory at 215-669-7058 or [email protected]


Team Sponsors

Josias Sterling Sponsors 2018 from Liz Matt on Vimeo.


City of Philiadelphia
Modells Sporting Goods


Thomas Jefferson University Logo

Ecco Greggory
Tasty Kake


rothman institute

Temple University
Dunkin Donuts

Fund Administrators

  • Bill and Angela Gregory


CharitySmith accepts donations in two ways:

By Mail:
Josias A. Sterling Memorial Fund
CharitySmith Nonprofit Foundation
13100 Filly Lane
Truckee, CA 96161

Use credit card by clicking the link below:
donate to fund

The above Memorial Fund is established as a division of CharitySmith Nonprofit Foundation (EIN 87-0636433). All donations are tax deductible in accordance with federal tax law. Receipts for tax purposes are sent via US Mail within two weeks of donation. Please consider asking if your employer participates in a gift-matching program. If so, your donation may be matched by your employer. For questions regarding your donation or this memorial fund please contact CharitySmith.

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