Tony Hawk Foundation Backs Public Skateparks Coast To Coast

Community skateparks from California to New York are the latest to receive technical assistance and grants.

August 27, 2013 (Oceanside, CA) – While the Tony Hawk Foundation has been assisting and advising skatepark projects around the globe for more than a decade, the majority of its work is focused on challenged communities in the U.S. A series of Skatepark Summit events, a new strategic partnership, two new Board members, and eleven recent Grant awards has kept the organization busy through the summer, fulfilling its promise to bring the benefits of skateparks to at-risk youth.

Saranac Lake, NY youth on the job with a BBQ fundraiser for their skatepark.

Saranac Lake, NY youth on the job with a BBQ fundraiser for their skatepark.

Collaboration has always been a hallmark of the Tony Hawk Foundation approach to skatepark development. Working with community-based organizations and advocates throughout the U.S., since 2002 THF has helped fund 537 public skateparks in all 50 States, and assisted hundreds more with focused Technical Assistance.

This year, THF has grown its capacity to assist communities in its home state by partnering with The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative, a ten-year comprehensive community initiative dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles for youth throughout the state. In conjunction with BHC, THF is assisting skatepark efforts in San Diego, Santa Ana, Long Beach, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Kern County. Skateparks are the most requested amenity among the BHC-program participants, and both THF and The California Endowment are eager to work with each community to see their youth benefit from the healthy, active lifestyle that skateparks inspire.

“At The California Endowment, we know that health doesn’t just happen in the doctor’s office; health happens where we live, work and play,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D., President and CEO of The California Endowment. “We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to create opportunities for overall wellness and health to California’s neighborhoods. Through the Building Healthy Communities initiative, and in partnership with the Tony Hawk Foundation, we are helping to create safe places for young people to play and exercise, and in turn providing communities with an environment that allows residents to live healthier and thrive.”

THF Programs Director Peter Whitley leads the discussion at the Skatepark Summit and advocate networking event in Long Beach, CA, which was hosted by ASK Long Beach and sponsored by The California Endowment.

THF Programs Director Peter Whitley leads the discussion at the Skatepark Summit and advocate networking event in Long Beach, CA, which was hosted by ASK Long Beach and sponsored by The California Endowment.

“We are excited and honored to be working with The California Endowment in order to provide technical assistance to some of California’s most challenged communities,” said Tony Hawk. “I believe this partnership will not only help California, but skatepark projects around the world.”

THF’s partnership with The California Endowment has benefited several additional communities through two Skatepark Summit events held in Long Beach and San Diego. Hosted by ASK Long Beach and Mid-City CAN, skatepark advocacy groups THF has been working with in these locations, the events brought together skatepark advocates who had the opportunity to hear from THF staff on a range of topics, and to network with other skatepark groups in their region. The THF Skatepark Summits have proven to be a great resource to skatepark advocates and THF is planning to host similar events in major markets throughout the U.S.

While direct Technical Assistance is the most valuable service of the Tony Hawk Foundation, the organization’s Skatepark Grants continue to provide critical funding to qualified projects across the U.S. This month THF’s Board Of Directors once again met to welcome new members Sal Masekela and Jim Thiebaud, both individuals with long histories in skateboarding and action sports; they wasted no time in helping their colleagues review grant applications and announce eleven new award recipients.

Saranac Lake is a small town of about 5,000 residents in Upstate New York that has rallied around its skaters and made their new skatepark a priority. With fundraising events like hot-dog sales, raffles, car washes, and even a teen band night, it was evident to the THF Board Of Directors that the residents of Saranac Lake are willing to do just about anything to accomplish the new skatepark for their youth. The dedication of the skaters and their supporters, and the small town’s ambitious plans to create a substantial 5,000-square-foot concrete skatepark in the village center, convinced the THF Board Of Directors to cast their votes to award Saranac Lake the highest grant award of $25,000.

Washing cars to raise money and awareness for their skatepark in Saranac Lake, NY.

Washing cars to raise money and awareness for their skatepark in Saranac Lake, NY.

“This semester’s top project exemplifies all of the practices and characteristics we love to see in skateparks,” said THF Programs Director Peter Whitley. “Saranac Lake’s skateboarders have worked through several obstacles in their nine-year effort. Through their dedication, generations of youth will have a safe, engaging place to pursue what they love in a community that recognizes and supports their investment. Saranac Lake’s skatepark project is the kind of effort we are honored to be involved with.”

A total of eleven communities earned THF grant awards for the construction of their skateparks:

Saranac Lake, New York

Emeryville, California

Branford, Florida
Darrington, Washington
Jerome, Idaho
Kanab, Utah
Minersville, Pennsylvania
Newman, California
Portage, Wisconsin
Riverton, Wyoming
Sacramento, California

The next opportunity to apply for a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation will begin January 2014. Technical Assistance and materials to assist skatepark advocates are available year-round. Details and contact information are available on the foundation’s Web site at

This Fall, the Tony Hawk Foundation’s annual fundraising event returns to Beverly Hills on Saturday, October 5, 2013. Tickets are now on sale for Tony Hawk’s Stand Up For Skateparks benefit presented by SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. The family-friendly action-sports exhibition will include games, food, and live and silent auctions with one-of-a-kind items and experiences. In addition to a special live performance by Grammy nominee Modest Mouse, the event will also feature a Vert Demo with Tony and other skateboarding and BMX icons riding Hawk’s personal ramp. Proceeds help the Tony Hawk Foundation’s mission to empower youth through the creation of free, quality, public skateparks in low-income communities. For event details and ticket information, please visit

Tony Hawk Foundation
A charitable, non-profit organization, the Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 by its namesake, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to promote and provide funds for high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States that promote healthy, active lifestyles. Since then, the Foundation has awarded over $4.5-million to 537 communities in all 50 states, and has provided critical technical assistance to skatepark projects throughout the world. The Foundation focuses on working with local officials and grassroots, community-based organizations that plan to hire designers and contractors with strong experience designing and building skateparks.

The Tony Hawk Foundation was established by a gift from Tony Hawk. Its directors raise additional funds through events, industry donations, and continuing contributions from Tony and other entities. In addition to skateparks, the Foundation also makes donations to other children-related charities, as chosen by its Board of Directors. For more information or to make a donation, visit the Foundation’s Web site at You can also visit THF on facebook at, on Twitter @THawkFoundation, and on Instagram @tonyhawkfoundation.

The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at