about us

our mission

Our mission is to improve lives by empowering the sports community to give back to those in need.

our goals

  • Develop relationships and foster collaboration among players, coaches, programs, and officials to work together to accomplish their goals and strengthen their organizations.

  • Support and facilitate charitable initiatives through financial and logistical assistance and empower participants to use their skills both on and off the playing field to improve society.

  • Provide direct assistance to those in need both within and outside the sports community.

  • Provide new and exciting ways for people to stay involved in athletics.

our story

My love for hockey began when my father introduced me to the sport at an early age. As we sat around together watching games, it quickly became obvious that the special bond that we cherished was growing even stronger thanks to our shared passion for the sport. Sadly, my father passed away suddenly just as I began to actively play hockey, but through all those struggles, it was the “family” that I had built within the hockey community that truly helped get me through those difficult times. From transportation to the rink, to help with equipment and emotional support, the hockey community was always there to help. Throughout those years, this community rallied around my family and allowed my brother and I to continue to participate in a sport that had become such a positive influence in our lives. 

Now as an adult with a family of my own, I remain eternally grateful for all the support I received from the sports community, and The Play it Forward Foundation is my attempt to help give back and foster that same positive impact in all sports.

Jeff Pagano

Founder and CEO

Inspired by the selflessness he saw in others in the sports world, Jeff, now a youth hockey coach in New Jersey, looked for ways to harness that love of hockey, and all sports, to make a difference in the world. More importantly, he wanted to spark his own chain reaction; one that would encourage everyone to find a way to “pay it forward.”

Returning to his roots, Jeff enlisted the help of a few of his former youth hockey teammates, all of whom had stayed active in the community. As the group began to share ideas, the framework for the Play it Forward Foundation quickly began to emerge.

Building off of Jeff’s original concept, the Play it Forward Foundation serves as a catalyst for change in the sports community. In addition to providing direct assistance to those we can, we work to encourage everyone to use their love of sports to make a difference in the world.

At the heart of our program we believe that the true power of sports is in the strength and camaraderie of the people who play, so we are encouraging everyone within the sports community to get involved, and join us in helping to “play” it forward.

our team

Jeff Pagano

CEO
Jeff has coached hockey at various youth levels from squirt through U18AA. He graduated from Devry University with a B.S. in Communications Management and currently works as a software quality assurance manager.

Joshua Romano

Director of Business Development
Josh serves as the Eastern Regional Scout for OHL Central Scouting and a Director of Scouting in the North American Hockey League. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University, and an M.A. in Special Education from Centenary College and is now a special education teacher in N..J.

Michael Pagano

Financial Director
Michael graduated from the College of New Jersey with a concentration in finance and has been working in the hedge fund administration field for the last 12 years.

Ryan Peach

Director of Fundraising
Ryan has spent the last 20 years working as a USA Hockey Official. Ryan has a B.S. from Rider University and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Norwich University. He is currently a career firefighter for Hamilton Twp Fire District #2, Hamilton NJ.
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Play It Forward Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Tax Exempt ID: 47-2435781