Minneapolis Earns Top Tony Hawk Foundation Grant

Statewide skatepark effort is powered by City of Skate.

Citizens of the City of Skate. Photo: Barrett Haroldson

3/13/18 (Vista, California) – The Tony Hawk Foundation is pleased to announce the first recipients of its 2018 Skatepark Grants. Each of these grassroots community skatepark projects has a unique story to tell, and through these grants THF seeks to empower the groups behind these efforts and facilitate the design and construction of free, public skateparks in low-income communities throughout the U.S.

Mikey Cherfils skates during a City of Skate Open Streets event. Photo: Brett Rosiejka

Among this year’s grant recipients, the City of Skate advocacy group in Minneapolis, Minnesota stood out for its progressive and energetic promotion of skateparks and skateboarding, which resulted in ratification of a citywide skatepark plan. Their Central Skatepark will be located in the heart of Minneapolis and will provide local youth a safe, free place to skate. The group is also responsible for initiating and promoting a statewide skatepark-funding program.

The $25,000 grant is awarded to City of Skate in honor of Gary Arnold, an entertainment-industry icon, member of the THF Board of Directors, and former Minneapolis resident who passed away in 2017 after many years of service to youth causes.

“City of Skate believes everyone in our community benefits from the social space of a quality designed and built skatepark, but our motivation is reaching youth who would never discover the inspiration of skateboarding without a skatepark easily accessible within their community,” said City of Skate President Paul Forsline. “Beyond the financial boost, this THF grant validates the advocacy work and energy of the awesome Minneapolis skateboard community, along with recognizing the Central Neighborhood, which championed and valued a skatepark as part of its park redevelopment.”

With 544 completed skateparks across all 50 States having received a portion of their funding from the Tony Hawk Foundation, City of Skate and seven additional THF Skatepark Grant recipients join a long list of successful local advocacy groups that have realized their dream of a safe, local place to skate and make friends.

Young skater gets a lesson at the City of Skate Open Streets event.

In LaGrange, Georgia, skateboarders rallied after the local council banned skateboarding in town. Their approach to campaigning for a public skatepark, and turning a negative situation into a positive outcome earned LaGrange the Alex Le’Vasseur Memorial Grant, made possible by the Alex Le’Vasseur Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and awarded by THF to the project that best reflects the positive spirit and passion of Alex Le’Vasseur, an avid skateboarder from Tennessee who passed away in 2007.

Spring 2018 THF Skatepark Grant Recipients
Minneapolis, Minnesota – $25,000 (In Memory of Gary Arnold)
LaGrange, GA – $10,000 (Alex Le’Vasseur Memorial Grant)
Imperial, Nebraska – $10,000
Newark, Ohio – $10,000
Lake Isabella, California – $5,000
Keyport, New Jersey – $5,000
Van Wert, Ohio – $5,000
Kutztown, Pennsylvania – $5,000

The next opportunity to apply for a Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grant is in May 2018, but communities seeking assistance with their public-skatepark projects are urged to reach out to foundation staff to review their plans and prepare for the next grant season. Communities in Southeast Michigan and Western New York state may also be eligible for the Built to Play Skatepark Grant, offered to skatepark projects in low-income communities in those regions. For more information about resources available from the Tony Hawk Foundation, including the Built to Play Skatepark Grant Program, visit www.tonyhawkfoundation.org.

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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 $5.8-million to 596 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, donations, sponsors, 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 the following THF partners for their ongoing support: Dynacraft (www.dynacraftwheels.com), Hawk Clothing (www.kohls.com), Adobe (www.adobe.com), Birdhouse Skateboards (www.birdhouseskateboards.com), Alex Le’Vasseur Memorial Fund (www.rememberalex.com), Roxiticus, and The RIDE Channel (www.theridechannel.com).