During their January 2005 tour, the Druzhba'78 Hockey Club from Kharkov, Ukraine played against a number of prep school teams and were exposed to the concept of combining education and sport. During the winter of 2005, Gene and friends worked with the student-athletes of Druzhba to develop opportunities to continue their education and pursue their passion for hockey, opportunities that would not be available to them in Ukraine. A number of these student-athletes wrote applications for admission to prep school. After Gene passed away and Genes Fund was formed, the Druzhba project was the first project embraced by the Fund.
Genes Fund has committed to support the progress of these applicants in several ways. The fund has committed to provide grants to those students admitted to school for expenses including travel, insurance, books, lab fees and certain other non tuition related expenses. In certain instances, Gene's Fund may also provide scholarship support as well.
In May, with the support of Gene's Fund, 24 Druzhba students were enolled in the International House English Tutoring program in Kharkov, Ukraine, to prepare them to study in English in the United States.
In September, 18 students from the Druzhba Hockey Club matriculated to prep schools and high schools in the United States for the 2005-2006 school year.