Document 70782

Cover: Tony Hawk tests the transitions at Spokane, Washington’s Hillyard Skatepark (2003 THF Grant Recipient). Photo: Joe Hammeke
Inset: Grand Opening of the Northampton, Massachusetts skatepark (2002 THF Grant Recipient). Copyright © Michael Kusek/Valley Advocat
From The Founder
Over the past decade, the Tony Hawk Foundation has helped hundreds of communities create public skateparks. In the
process, we’ve collaborated with skatepark advocates throughout the world to teach them the importance of careful
planning, and helped local leaders recognize their skaters for what they are—a vibrant and creative community within
their community.
But, our work is a two-way street. As much as we educate the public about the virtues of safe, sanctioned places to
skate, skatepark advocates who are working in their communities every day are
sharing with us all the valuable lessons they’re learning on their own.
The process of planning, fundraising for, and ultimately building a public skatepark has
evolved so rapidly that, twelve years on, THF is arguably learning more from skatepark
advocates than we are teaching them. It’s a dynamic situation that perfectly defines
true collaboration.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the past decade is the importance of providing kids safe
places to ride—off the streets, and away from automobiles. The fact that incidents involving
automobiles accounted for 80% of all skateboard-related deaths last year keeps us focused
on our core mission—to help create more safe skateparks in challenged communities, where
kids have limited access to recreation and programming.
THF focuses its efforts in low-income areas because this is where the need is the greatest.
According to local law-enforcement groups, children in these communities face the greatest threat from gangs and drugs. For many at-risk youth, the skatepark process THF teaches them is
their first step toward leadership, self-advocacy, character development, and community involvement.
Kids who might be regularly kicked out of every local skateable parking lot, and therefore at odds with
law enforcement and local leaders, are emboldened to approach these very individuals to pursue a mutually beneficial solution.
Skateparks also encourage youth to be active and develop a healthy lifestyle that rewards them with
personal achievement and peer approval through physical activity; in other words, skating is fun, it’s
active, and when skaters land new tricks—they’re stoked (and so are their friends). Skateboarding is a
natural antidote to the obesity epidemic that is particularly rampant among low-income youth because
skaters often don’t even consider it exercise.
There are many issues that skateparks address that we have just begun to realize, and through the vast
network of experienced skatepark advocates that we’ve built in the last twelve years, we’re learning more
every day. We continually take these lessons and weave them into the conversations we have with new
advocates. So, via THF, one community’s success becomes an example for hundreds more to emulate.
As more communities recognize the need for quality, public skateparks that include the skaters themselves in the planning process, we benefit from their experience, just as they benefit from ours. And
while we’re proud of our own success in helping fund 529 skateparks in all 50 States, we’re eager to grow,
share, and be a part of the next 500.
youth to be
active and
develop a
And the 500 after that.
Keep Ripping,
Show your support for THF and join us for this exclusive family-centric benefit, showcasing the
world's best skateboarders and BMX riders on Tony Hawk's vert ramp, along with a special musical
performance, plus food, drinks, and silent and live auctions. This is a must-see event for kids of all
ages, benefiting the Tony Hawk Foundation and our work to help bring free, public skateparks to
at-risk youth.
This is the tenth-annual Stand Up For Skateparks event and it promises to be the best one yet! Stand
Up For Skateparks sells out every year, so be sure to visit and sign
up to be notified as soon as tickets go on sale!
Ridge, South Dakota Celebrates Its Local Skaters
Pine Ridge is the location of innumerable tragedies inflicted upon the Oglala Lakota people over the past two centuries, and the generations of challenges are evident in Pine Ridge’s current statistics. Among Native Americans ages 15 to 34 years, suicide is the second leading
cause of death. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, teen suicide is four times the national average, over 70 percent of students drop out
before graduation, and the rate of diabetes and tuberculosis is 800 times the national average.
In this community, the new skatepark is merely one piece of a much larger effort to provide healthy, community-building opportunities for the
local youth, but it’s a critical one.
Jim Murphy and
a future ripper.
Pine Ridge is unbelievably poor. The U.S. median household income is about $53,000, while in Pine Ridge
it’s just $36,000. With twice the national average of persons per household, half of Pine Ridge residents
live below the national poverty level.
The vital need for more positive recreational opportunities for youth in Pine Ridge had gone unaddressed
for years. Finally, in 2010, an effort led by members of the Stronghold Society—Pine Ridge native Walt
Pourier and New York skater Jim Murphysought to bring a significant concrete
skatepark to the community. As fundraisWounded Knee 4-Directions Toby Eagle Bull Memorial Skatepark
ing in such an impoverished community
wasn’t possible, Pourier and Murphy were
successful in reaching out to private and
corporate donors far beyond the borders of
the reservation.
Among their efforts was an application for
a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation.
THF had supported the construction of a
modular skatepark in Pine Ridge in 2003,
so THF’s Board Of Directors knew the
area’s history well. After voting to support
Pourier’s and Murphy’s efforts, Tony Hawk
Foundation Board Members also made personal contributions to the project.
The skatepark builder, Grindline, donated design services and construction labor,
and further saved money by camping on-site, rather than housing its crew in a
hotel. Skateboards and equipment flowed in from the skate industry to help kids
get into the park right away, Vans Shoes made a significant donation, and rock-and-roll dignitaries like Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament donated time,
money, resources, and their notoriety to elevate awareness about the project. The 6,000-square-foot phase I of the Wounded Knee 4-Directions
Toby Eagle Bull Memorial Skatepark was completed in October 2011 at less than half the average cost of skateparks supported by the
Tony Hawk Foundation.
“It’s a project that many say is the
best thing that ever happened to
the Pine Ridge Reservation!”
Since opening, the skatepark has hosted several events and has been a
powerful attraction for residents. However, its draw is regional, so Pine
Ridge youth are socializing with skilled skateboarders from areas far
beyond the reservation. With local skateboarding talent increasing
exponentially, the future for these skaters looks bright. “The Pine Ridge
community united to make a beautiful dream come true for their
children,” says Jim Murphy. “And it’s a project that many say is the best
thing that ever happened to the Pine Ridge Reservation!”
—Jim Murphy, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Skateparks bring benefits far beyond providing a place to skate. Youth
with diverse interests are drawn to the interesting curvy facility. Skaters
become unintentional role models by demonstrating their passion for
this healthy, athletic activity. Skateboarding provides an outlet for kids
drawn to street culture, and encourages a drive to progress, challenge
oneself, and improve one’s skills. This has been the effect of skateparks
across the nation, and certainly that’s been the case in Pine Ridge.
“The Wounded Knee 4-Directions Skatepark has literally embedded hope
into the mindset of many Lakota Youth, and the Lakota Community as a
whole,” says Walt Pourier. “The Tony Hawk Foundation, Jeff Ament, Pearl
Jam Vitalogy, Vans Off The Wall, and the Stronghold Society set a great
example for all of Native Country for what can happen when great minds
come together to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Micante etan
wopila tanka—biggest thanks from within my heart.”
Skaters gather at the park.
The Wounded Knee 4-Directions Toby Eagle Bull Memorial Skatepark has
served as a catalyst for other communities in the region looking for
opportunities for youth engagement. Pine Ridge, with its youth rising to
the challenge of championing the need for a skatepark, exemplifies the
kind of community the Tony Hawk Foundation is proud to work with.
individuals are served annually at skateparks
that received financial assistance from THF.
New York, NY
new inquiries were answered
by THF Staff in 2012 from
communities seeking information
about skatepark development.
Washington, D.C.
of every dollar raised goes directly
to THF programs to help build free, public
skateparks in low-income communities.
529 communities in 50 States have received THF Grant Awards. 423 (or 80%)
of those projects are completed and currently serving 12,780 youth each day.
States that have received a THF Grant Award
States that have not received a THF Grant Award