After receiving thousands of e-mails from parents and children across America who did not have a safe, legal place to skate and in some cases arrested for skating on public property, Tony Hawk decided to establish a foundation whose mission would be to serve this population. He wanted to help them develop quality places to practice the sport that gives them much needed exercise and a sense of self-esteem. So in 2002 he established the Tony Hawk Foundation, financed the organization with a personal gift, and assembled a Board of Directors that represents a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise.
Since its inception, the Tony Hawk Foundation has sought to foster lasting improvements in society, with an emphasis on supporting and empowering youth. Through special events, grants, and technical assistance, the Foundation supports recreational programs focusing on the creation of public skateboard parks in low-income communities, and other causes in the U.S. and overseas. The Foundation favors projects that have strong community involvement, grassroots fundraising, and a base of support from the skaters, parents, law enforcement, and local leaders.
In recent years, hundreds of municipalities have come to embrace the recreational—and societal—benefits of skateboard parks. With the popularity of skateboarding fueling the rush to build them, the need for help from the Tony Hawk Foundation has become more urgent and critical. Most cities in the process of building a public skatepark are working on their first, and for them, there is no precedent, no blueprint. Once the cement is poured and formed, there is no changing it. All the right questions must be addressed before that step. The Tony Hawk Foundation was established to help cities develop that checklist and ensure that the hard work of skaters, parents and city officials will result in a quality skatepark that will serve that community for years to come. The foundation also supports International programs, like Skateistan, that enrich the lives of youth through skateboarding.
Since 2002 the Tony Hawk Foundation has been fulfilling its mission to help young people by issuing grants to low-income communities building quality public skateparks, and providing guidance to city officials, parents, and children through the process. To-date, the foundation has awarded over $5.5-million to 569 public skatepark projects in all 50 States, and $100,000 to support the Skateistan program in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.
To-date, over 500 Tony Hawk Foundation grant recipients have opened their skateparks. These parks receive more than 5.4-million visits annually by youth who benefit from the active lifestyle and camaraderie the facilities promote.
The Tony Hawk Foundation supports disadvantaged communities and at-risk children. We are the only national grant-writing organization focused solely on the development and financing of free, quality public skateparks. We know that skateparks provide a safe and inspiring avenue for skaters to practice and excel at their sport, and the process of developing their local skatepark encourages and teaches young people about how to make positive changes within their own communities.
The Tony Hawk Foundation has been working with municipalities and community groups to help them realize their dream of a quality public skatepark in their community. For Tony Hawk, skateboarding was a healthy outlet and a recreational challenge, and it provided a social group of creative, like-minded individuals. It's also a sport that helped him build confidence, taught him to persevere, and through his mentoring of younger skaters helped him develop leadership skills. The Tony Hawk Foundation works every day to be able to bring these same lessons to youth around the world.
Board of Directors
Tony Hawk, President
His long history and success as a professional skateboarder helped Tony pursue a career with worldwide reach. In 1992 he founded the renowned Birdhouse Skateboards brand, which he still owns and operates today.
The most recognized action-sports figure in the world, Tony is also President of Tony Hawk Inc., a worldwide leader in action-sports video games, merchandising, events, endorsements, and film and digital media. He regularly appears on television and in films, hosts a weekly show on the Sirius XM satellite radio network, and frequently takes his talent on the road with the Birdhouse Skateboards team. Tony’s success and good fortune have inspired him to do what he can to help young people, so in 2002 he launched the Tony Hawk Foundation to help achieve that goal.
Pat Hawk, Vice President
Tony’s sister, Pat has been COO of Tony Hawk, Inc. for over fifteen years and has played a crucial role in the growth of the company and its affiliates. She has a strong background in entertainment, sports marketing, endorsements, licensing, and management.
Lenore Hawk Dale, Treasurer
Tony’s sister, Lenore spent fifteen years as a classroom teacher and another ten years as the Director of Bilingual Education for a school district in Southern California. In her years in education, she worked with families in several low-income school districts. For ten years, Lenore was the Director of the Tony Hawk Fan Club. She responded to requests from fans, parents, and teachers, and coordinated meetings for special-needs fans.
Steve Hawk, Secretary
Tony’s brother, Steve was THF’s founding Executive Director. He has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is the former editor of Surfer magazine. More recently, he was a staff writer on the HBO television series John From Cincinnati, and is currently executive editor of Sierra magazine.
Gary Arnold, Director
As an experienced leader in the Retail and Entertainment industries, Gary founded Gary L. Arnold Consulting LLC to continue to guide clients to innovate, and to help Artists reach their fans in today’s demanding marketplace. For nearly eighteen years, Gary previously served as the Senior Entertainment Officer and SVP Marketing for Best Buy. Gary was the President of Redline Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy Co. Inc, which was an independent record label focusing on new and historic releases by superstar talent. In addition to music, Redline Entertainment focused on the action-sports industry, and was instrumental in bringing action sports content from Tony Hawk, and many others to the mass market for the first time.
Tony Conrad, Director
A founder of about.me and Sphere, Tony is also a Partner at True Ventures, an investor in WordPress, MakeBot, Blue Bottle Coffee, FitBit, Slack, Typekit, High Fidelity, Lowercase Capital, Ne Timeas, Samovar, Saltwater and August, and an advisor to Noise Pop, an SF organization championing independent music and culture. Tony grew up in a small Indiana farming community, and has since lived in New York, New Delhi, Jakarta, Chicago, Paris, and San Francisco. Before venturing into high tech, Tony worked a range of jobs, including short stints as a baseball umpire, basketball camp counselor, pharmacy stock person, high-school sports reporter, book-bindery glue-machine operator, fraternity janitor, college newspaper ad salesman, and yogurt merchandiser, to name a few.
John de Neufville, Director
A keen eye for neighborhoods in transition has led John to success as a real-estate investor and developer. It also lends him particular insight into the challenged communities where THF helps create public skateparks. In his other philanthropic work, John founded verticalchange.org to raise funds and awareness for environmental causes, and most recently has been busy pursuing the world-record for vertical distance descended on a snowboard in a calendar year. John started skateboarding when he was six and has no plans to give it up any time soon.
Sandy Dusablon, Director
CFO of Tony Hawk, Inc., Sandy is a long-time contributor and advisor to THF. As the foundation continues to grow, Sandy’s financial acumen has proven to be a critical resource in a complex fundraising environment.
Bob Kahan, Director
Bob is a partner at the Los Angeles-based business- and entertainment-law firm Liner LLP. His practice includes 40 years of experience as a transactional-deal lawyer. Bob advises clients in a variety of industries, and practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, franchise, licensing, and general corporate and business law. Bob is a critical resource for THF, as the foundation continues to grow and expand both its fundraising and program services.
Mimi Knoop, Director
Mimi Knoop is one of the most respected female skateboarders in the world. Since first turning pro in 2003, she has claimed five X Games medals in women’s vert and has cinched titles at some of the world’s most prestigious bowl contests. Always pushing for progression, Mimi has been one of the most active women in skateboarding behind the scenes, as well.
As an advocate and entrepreneur, she has been dedicated to growing the sport for the girls of the next generation by co-founding The Alliance in 2005, Hoopla Skateboards in 2008, and Women’s Skateboard Alliance (WSA) in 2015. Mimi represents women’s skateboarding with passion and enthusiasm. She is a tremendous advocate and ambassador for young girls breaking into the skateboarding and action-sports scene, and brings this collective experience to her role on the Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors.
(Portrait by Ricoy Photo)
Erik Lammerding, Director
Erik is a Co-founder of N3TWORK, where he focuses on partnerships and platform strategy. Before co-founding N3TWORK, Erik built Apple’s consumer market for third-party apps. His team focused on helping partners develop, deliver and market the highest quality products on both iOS and Mac. Prior to Apple, he was part of the founding team at FusionOne, an early pioneer in the area of Internet based services. Erik graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.
Sal Masekela, Director
Sal Masekela is the mass-media face of action sports. A veteran host of ESPN’s X Games, with stints on E! Entertainment News and other networks, Sal has hosted more televised skateboarding and action-sports programming than anyone. A native New Yorker, Sal grew up in Southern California’s skate and surf cultures, which nurtured and influenced his love of music and the visual arts. These days, when he isn’t performing with his band, Alekesam, you can find Sal working on film projects with his production company, UX Entertainment, or hosting NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series, through which he continues to see and touch skateboarding in all its facets on every continent.
Oliver Percovich, Director
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Oliver Percovich grew up in Papua New Guinea, where he first skated in an empty pool at the age of six. Since that day, he’s travelled to over 50 countries with his skateboard. In 2007 Oliver moved to Afghanistan, where he founded the nonprofit organization Skateistan (www.skateistan.org), a grassroots “Sport for Development” project that began by teaching skateboarding to kids in the streets of Kabul.
Today, Skateistan is an award-winning international organization with skate schools for at-risk children in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Each week, skateboarding and educational classes at Skateistan’s five locations worldwide are attended by over 1,500 students, nearly 50 percent of whom are girls.
Oliver holds an honors degree in Environmental Chemistry and is excited to bring his diverse background and a decade of experience in youth development through skateboarding to the Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors.
David Proctor, Director
David is a Principal of Jane Street, a proprietary quantitative trading firm with a unique focus on technology and collaborative problem solving. As Host of the annual New York Soiree event, he’s also been active in fundraising for THF and for skateparks in the New York City area. David and his family live in Westchester, New York, where—among other things—he enjoys skateboarding with his son.
Jim Thiebaud, Director
Jim Thiebaud is a skateboarder—always has been, always will be. He spent several years as a pro, touring the world and skating everything he could, before co-founding and helping build San Francisco’s Deluxe Distribution, purveyors of some of skateboarding’s top brands. As the company’s Vice President, Jim splits his time between work, his family in the East Bay, or doing what he’s always done ... skating. He’s been a driving force behind several goodwill and charitable causes, most recently Actions REALized, and he brings decades of experience and dedication to skateboarding to his role on the THF Board Of Directors.
Jamie Thomas , Director
Jamie Thomas is a skateboarding icon and industry leader. He has been a professional skateboarder for over 20 years and is the president and founder of Black Box Distribution, home to Zero Skateboards, Mystery Skateboards, and Fallen Footwear. Jamie has been recognized in the business community for the success of these brands and the positive support they’ve shown to the skateboarding community. His experience and broad perspective helps bridge the gap between skateboarding and the boardroom, which makes Jamie an invaluable member of the THF team.
David Ulevitch, Director
David is the founder and CEO of OpenDNS. In 2005, he launched OpenDNS with the goal of delivering a safer and faster Internet experience. Today the service protects a global audience of more than 50-million people, including those at many of the largest companies in the world. A noted and often-cited Internet and security expert, David has a degree in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, which turned out to be much more useful then he expected. He grew up in the sunny beach community of Del Mar, California, which didn’t make him nearly as good of a surfer or skater as it should have.
As Executive Director, Miki is responsible for the overall operations of the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Miki Vuckovich was a founding member of the THF Board Of Directors in 2001 and served until 2008. In March 2004 he took over for outgoing Executive Director Steve Hawk, who remains a permanent member of the Board Of Directors. Formerly a producer for the ON Video series of skateboarding documentary films, Editor of TransWorld SKATEboarding Business magazine, and Senior Editor for TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine, Miki’s 30+ years in skateboarding includes visits to many of the fabled California skateparks of the late 70s, and skateboarding communities the world over.
Miki graduated from the University Of California San Diego with a B.A. in Writing.
As Development Director, Kim is responsible for the foundation’s overall fundraising activities.
Kim has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in high-profile fundraising, campaign and major-donor development, grant writing, membership outreach, and cultivation initiatives. Kim began her work with the Tony Hawk Foundation as a founding board member in 2001, helping the organization establish itself, and joined the staff as Development Director in 2004. Kim has served in executive leadership positions for a variety of non-profit organizations.
Kim graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English Literature, along with an M.A in non-profit business management and community service from Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts.
In his role as Programs Director, Peter is responsible for designing and implementing all skatepark programs at THF.
With nearly a decade of work promoting skatepark development, most notably as Co-Founder and former Director of Skaters For Public Skateparks. Peter Whitley brings tremendous experience and perspective to THF. In 2005 Whitley led his hometown of Tacoma, Washington through the process of developing a system of public skateparks, converting blighted urban parks into pedestrian-friendly skate areas. The Tacoma experience has become a model that continues to inspire community leaders across the U.S.
Peter studied at Evergreen State College in Washington, and completed his coursework in Design at the School Of Visual Concepts in Seattle.
As THF's Strategic Partnerships officer, Lily Schwimmer develops special projects with key donors and supporters, and oversees all event-based fundraising for THF, including the annual Stand Up For Skateparks benefit.
Lily was THF’s first Intern in 2008. After completing her studies, she worked for AEG Live in Las Vegas, whose primary venues were The Joint inside The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Lily was responsible for assisting with the booking of these venues for AEG Live, and for over five years helped manage operations at The Buick Invitational and Farmers Insurance Open PGA Golf Tournament.
Lily completed her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Oregon and her MBA in Sports Management from San Diego State University.
Alec came to THF with a lifetime of competitive skateboarding under his belt, and a decade of advocacy work, during which he led efforts to create the Stoner Skate Plaza in Los Angeles and to legalize skateboarding at the infamous LA City Courthouse ledges. As Programs Manager, Alec works directly with communities to assist them through the skatepark-development process, as well as manage THF's skatepark grant program.
With over 20 years of experience in action sports and music, Steven has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the best in the industry. He's traveled the world with ASA Entertainment, producing the Mobile Skatepark Series for CBS, and managed corporate hospitality for ESPN’s X Games. And for the past eight years has managed corporate partnerships, events, endorsements, and licensing for both Tony Hawk and the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Carly's involvement with the foundation started in 2013 as a THF intern. She is currently a full-time student at San Diego State University studying Communication and applies her skills to THF's social media, plus public and donor relations.
Colin Cook has been in love with skateboarding since he was 12 years old. Turning his passion into a career, Colin shared his talents in the skate industry for over a decade, and contributed to multiple skatepark advocacy efforts in Southern California. Joining the foundation in 2016, Colin assists the rest of the THF team on various projects and by working with key donors, supporters, and event-based fundraising.
The Tony Hawk Foundation seeks to foster lasting improvements in society, with an emphasis on supporting and empowering youth. Through special events, grants, and technical assistance, the Foundation supports recreational programs with a focus on the creation of public skateboard parks in low-income communities. The Foundation favors programs that clearly demonstrate that funds received will produce tangible, ongoing, positive results.