Youth leadership drives efforts to create safe skateparks in communities across America.
11 August 2016 (Vista, CA) — What do a nondescript street corner in downtown Providence, Rhode Island and the rural community of Livingston, Montana have in common? Both have been identified by local skateboarders as ideal sites for new skateparks, and both projects have received support from the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Skateparks are a phenomenon that has swept through communities across the country, regardless of their geographic or socio-economic status. As traditional ball sports have experienced downward trends in participation over the past decade, skateboarding has grown to more than 5.6-million participants. Yet, for most neighborhoods, a safe, sanctioned place for their youth to skate remains an unrealized dream.
Since 2002, the Tony Hawk Foundation has been working with communities around the world to promote the creation of free, quality, public skateparks. For low-income areas in the U.S., the foundation also offers grants for the construction of these much-needed facilities. The skatepark projects underway in Providence and Livingston are just two of the latest to receive financial assistance from the foundation, and both embody the greatest promise for offering local youth an active alternative to traditional sports.
Having helped open more than 500 skateparks across the country, the Tony Hawk Foundation is the leading advocacy organization supporting local grassroots efforts, and has provided guidance and training to skatepark groups for more than fifteen years. “Every skatepark is a testimonial to the community’s tenacity and commitment,” said THF Programs Director Peter Whitley. “These are facilities that will bring people together for years to come.”
In Livingston, the Tony Hawk Foundation grant will help bring a dynamic new recreational option to one of Montana’s poorest populations. “The significance of this grant will be instilled into our recreational cultural identity for many lifetimes to come,” said skatepark advocate Derek Smith. “The vast majority of recreation in America today involves athletic games that come to an end. Fortunately, THF is creating a perpetual source of positive and life-long recreational effects upon our athletic culture, our society, and most importantly, our skaters.”
Across the country in Providence, a downtown plaza that’s popular with skaters will get a facelift and be officially designated as a skatepark. “When we saw skateboarders using a public space that hadn’t been built for them, we didn’t look at them as a problem, but as a solution,” said Wendy Nilsson, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. “And now we have a great group of people who are committed to being stewards of the park. We have a strong skateboarding community who are going to make sure our new park will be the best for skateboarders that it can be, and we also have local arts and business organizations who have embraced this project as a win for the entire neighborhood.”
Skateparks change lives, and involving youth in the process of planning, fundraising, and designing the skateparks they will one day enjoy offers even greater rewards. To receive assistance with your local project, or to learn more about the Tony Hawk Foundation and its Skatepark Grant program, visit tonyhawkfoundation.org. The next opportunity to apply for a Tony Hawk Foundation skatepark grant will be December 2016.
Summer 2016 Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grants
Livingston, Montana ($25,000)
Providence, Rhode Island ($25,000)
Houghton, Michigan ($10,000)
Gallup, New Mexico ($10,000)
Grinnell, Iowa ($5,000)
Belgrade, Montana ($5,000)
Tony Hawk Foundation
A charitable, non-profit organization, the Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 by its namesake, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. THF promotes and provides technical assistance and funds for high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States that promote healthy, active lifestyles, and to International programs that enrich the lives of youth through skateboarding.
Domestically, the foundation’s Skatepark Grant program has awarded over $5.6-million to 574 communities in all 50 states. 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 foundation’s International Program has provided financial and technical support to assist youth through the Skateistan educational programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa (www.skateistan.org).
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. For more information or to make a donation, visit the foundation’s Web site at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org. You can also visit THF on facebook and Instagram @tonyhawkfoundation, and on Twitter @THF.
Special thanks to following THF partners for their ongoing support: MINI USA (www.miniusa.com), Starkey Hearing Foundation (www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org), Gumball 3000 Foundation (www.gumball3000.com), HEXBUG (www.hexbug.com), Hawk Clothing (www.kohls.com), Vivint Solar (www.VivintSolar.com), Nixon (www.nixon.com), Sweetwater (www.nepinc.com/welcome/sweetwater), Dynacraft (www.dynacraftwheels.com), and Zumiez (www.zumiez.com).