“The Emerald Foundation launched Emerald Esports several years ago to harness the excitement that esports brings to our youth and infuse learning into it.”

Joseph E. Besecker, Founder and Chairman of the Emerald Foundation.

Our History

Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell

Early 2017

Joe began researching esports and identified the positive impact esports could have on workforce development, addressing the education stagnation that Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, would reference in a hearing in 2018. 

Watch the Hearing

August 2018

Joined forces with the Samueli Foundation as a strategic partner to develop the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF).


February 2019

Awarded PASmart Grant Advancing Grant from the PA Department of Education. Fund allocation to include: Esports club stipends, development of a Career Mentorship Program, host live collegiate and high school competitions.

Extravaganza_June2019 (1)

June 2019

Hosted our first Emerald Extravaganza. Four local teams participated, including La Academia Partnership Charter School, Ephrata High School, Manheim Township High School, and Lancaster Catholic High School.


March 2020

Quickly changed our direction to provide virtual competitions, which allowed students to connect during COVID-19 lockdowns.


April 2020

Restructured to become an independent esports organization focusing on career development and reaching students in underserved communities.

Copy of ThePhillyBridge5

June 2020

Partnered with the Ertz Family Foundation and began expansion into underserved communities in Philadelphia.


September 2020

Partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster to start three community-based gaming clubs for their youth.

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November 2020

Partnered with the Liguori Academy and The Philly Bridge to establish community-based gaming clubs for the youth of Philadelphia.


January 2021

Partnered with HarenaData to add Louisiana and North Carolina to our national outreach.

Our Team

Joseph E. Besecker Founder and President
Martha Besecker Executive Director
Terry Kraft Chief Esports Strategist
Rachel Odrosky Esports Director
Samuel Silverman Esports Team Program Leader