We are empowering and cultivating tomorrow’s workforce through esports.
“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.
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
Joined forces with the Samueli Foundation as a strategic partner to develop the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF).
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.
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.
Quickly changed our direction to provide virtual competitions, which allowed students to connect during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Restructured to become an independent esports organization focusing on career development and reaching students in underserved communities.
Partnered with the Ertz Family Foundation and began expansion into underserved communities in Philadelphia.
Partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster to start three community-based gaming clubs for their youth.
Partnered with the Liguori Academy and The Philly Bridge to establish community-based gaming clubs for the youth of Philadelphia.
Partnered with HarenaData to add Louisiana and North Carolina to our national outreach.
With tenacity and vision as his tools, Joe Besecker (Jeb) founded both Emerald Asset Management and Emerald Foundation. He built Emerald Asset Management from a start-up investment to a diversified asset management firm with over $5 billion under management today. That same drive for growth led Jeb to found Emerald Foundation, which to date, has distributed around $400,000 to 70-plus charities. Emerald Foundation is here where Jeb can lead the way for traditional non-profit programs as well as define cutting edge non-profit enterprises such as the Emerald Esports Initiative.
Jeb has served as a National Trustee and Past President of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club (Lancaster, PA). Under his leadership Emerald Asset Management was named the Corporate Citizen of the Year in 2005 by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal. He has received numerous community and national awards including the Lighting the Way annual award from Merakey.
Martha comes to the Emerald Foundation with a diverse background of project management and problem-solving skills. With a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, Martha approaches each project with a unique, creative perspective. Her strong appreciation of the arts and humanities gives Martha the inspiration needed as the point person for the Emerging Artist Series. She has served on the board of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County and is currently on the board of the Emerald Foundation.
Residing in Lititz, Martha lives with her husband, four very active children, a menagerie of dogs, cats, fish and an occasional horse. When not tending their 10-acre property, Martha loves a good book or binge-watching a Netflix series with one of her children. She also maintains a design studio from where, on occasion, she consults.
Not only is Terry an integral part of the Esports operations at Emerald, but she also is the Founder and CEO of The Pivotal Group, a consulting firm based right here in Lancaster. This group was founded with a passion to empower individuals and organizations to embrace and ignite their potential.
Throughout her career, Terry has held leadership positions with local and national organizations in both the private and not-for-profit sectors creating impactful mission-based programming and innovative development opportunities. She currently serves on the President’s Leadership Council at Elizabethtown College and is a founding member of the Lancaster County STEM Alliance Advisory Board where she chairs the Community-based Learning Initiative.
Motivated by the impact that a diverse and equitable community brings, Rachel enthusiastically leads the Emerald Esports Team as they encourage students to embrace their potential through their passion for gaming. As a mother of two school-aged daughters, she is inspired by the testimonials and scholastic results that reflect an increase in student engagement when esports is added to their curriculum.
Rachel’s community experience includes leadership roles with Lancaster Recreation Commission, Red Rose Film Festival, as well as Leadership Lancaster’s 2020 Core Class.
Passionate about providing opportunities for students to collaborate, learn, and grow through Esports, James works to advocate for learners in our community to help prepare them for their future goals. His goal with this initiative is to develop services that help connect low-income students and provide them with new, unique opportunities.
He has previously worked for United Way of Lancaster County to facilitate a joint partnership between the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) and Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, Community Action Partnership.
As an esports professional with ten years of experience in content management, administration, and coaching, Theresa has seen the industry grow firsthand. She is passionate about encouraging skills development through esports, and is especially interested in strengthening the mental health of competitive gamers with Emerald Esports.
Theresa began her career at the Collegiate StarLeague in 2011 where she served as Editor in Chief, developing the platform into a top destination for collegiate esports news. In 2018, Theresa worked with Harrisburg University as Social Media Manager, and since 2019 has worked as a freelance consultant and nationally recognized coach for Messiah University’s varsity esports program, where she is also completing graduate work in clinical mental health counseling.