What do you get when you combine a youth hockey foundation, community outreach and a $500,000 donation? If you guessed scholarship opportunities for Philadelphia-area students, you’d be right.

The Goals & Assists Foundation was established in March 2016 from a partnership between the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and Give Something Back to provide mentorship and support for athletes from low-income families. The organization has partnered with 30 four-year universities across seven states; five of those universities, including Elizabethtown College, are located in eastern Pennsylvania.

At a luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 18, E-town officially received the larger-than-life check. Elizabethtown College President Carl Strikwerda took the stage in the Susquehanna Room, explaining how the Goals & Assists Foundation aligns with E-town’s “Educate for Service” motto.

We are committed to helping young people achieve their dreams.”

“Elizabethtown College commits to three things for our students,” Strikwerda said. “We challenge them. We help them reach farther and help them develop talents they didn’t even know they had. We help them achieve their dreams.”

The dreams of 25 young athletes will come to fruition over the next 10 years all thanks to the $500,000 scholarship donation from the Goals & Assists Foundation. This check enables E-town to offer 100-years’ worth of scholarships for Snider Hockey kids. Snider Hockey President and CEO Scott Tharp said he’s willing to write another check in 50 years to keep the program going.

“We want to be partners for a long, long time,” Tharp said.

As a Division III school, Elizabethtown College does not supply students with basic athletic scholarships. Instead, the school rewards academic and community achievement through merit-based scholarships and opportunities such as the diversity-based Mosaic Scholarship.

According to Tharp, the four-year graduation guarantee and recent lowering of tuition were reasons why the Goals & Assists Foundation partnered with E-town. The College was initially suggested as a potential partner by social work alum Steve Capoferri, a Snider Hockey board member.

“This is a perfect landing spot for our kids,” Tharp said.

Those kids come from areas of poverty, where the average college graduation rate is only 37 percent. Goals & Assists President Robert Carr announced at the luncheon that the foundation’s graduation rate is 91 percent. The comment earned a round of applause from attendees.

Much like E-town’s Stamps Scholars, who receive full tuition coverage, the Goals & Assists Foundation will cover all costs except for books and transportation. As recipients of this scholarship come from broken homes and families, the opportunity to attend a private college at minimal cost is an undeniably incredible one. The five-foot check represents so much more than the donation amount it boasts. It represents a rise from hardship, and hope for today’s youth.

“We are committed to helping young people achieve their dreams,” Strikwerda reiterated.