The Tony Hawk Foundation has announced a change in name, but not in focus. Now known as The Skatepark Project, the organization continues its award-winning work to support community skatepark projects across the U.S., and skatepark-based programming internationally.
Its mission is to help underserved communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. The Skatepark Project envisions thriving, healthy and sustainable communities throughout the United States in which young people have equitable access to safe outdoor spaces for creative expression, physical activity and a sense of belonging.
“When the foundation was established nearly 20 years ago, my goal was to highlight the need for public skateparks in underserved communities, and to attract resources to those projects,” said Tony Hawk. “This name change prioritizes our mission, and still allows me to continue my role as President of the Board. The foundation (and its funding) was never about me, it has always been about creating skateparks in challenged areas.”
This Spring the organization awarded its latest grants, worth $490,000, to ten community skatepark projects across the U.S. Throughout the worldwide pandemic, The Skatepark Project staff have continued to support local efforts to bring skateparks to underserved youth and communities of color. Online seminars and Q&A events with pros and experts in skatepark planning and programming are providing tactical information as well as connecting the nationwide skatepark movement as social distancing continues to threaten many projects.
“When the pandemic hit, we responded by reaching out to our constituents and asking what they needed,” said TSP Programs Manager Alec Beck. “It became clear that they wanted to continue their projects, responsibly, despite stay-at-home orders and the cancellation of meetings and events. We brought project leaders together virtually to learn how they’ve responded to the crisis. While some projects will be slightly delayed, most have come up with innovative ways to stay engaged with their communities and keep their projects on track. It’s been a learning experience for all involved.”
The name change will also give the organization’s many supporters more visibility and opportunities to promote the cause. Pro skaters, business leaders, and celebrities have been involved in raising funds and awareness over the years, but their roles have not been as prominent as Hawk’s.
“This allows for some of our longtime supporters to be more recognized for their contributions, and opens the door for many others to step up and join the cause,” said Hawk. “Our mission is far from over and we need all the help we can get.”
“I like skateboarding because when you try a trick, it’s just the best feeling when you make it, and it makes me feel free,” said 11-year-old skate phenom Sky Brown. “The Skatepark Project is really important because they make skateparks in underprivileged places. When kids go to the skatepark, they have fun and just think about landing a new trick, and forget about what they’re struggling through.”
Other TSP ambassadors include Lizzie Armanto, Rodney Mullen, Jeff Ament, Leticia Bufoni, Christian Hosoi, and Ben Harper.
The Skatepark Project continues its advocacy-support program as well as its grants for the construction of free, concrete skateparks where they’re needed most. Communities interested in starting a skatepark project, as well as those who’ve already been working with the organization can find information about its programs and reach TSP staff at its new home at www.skatepark.org.