Skateboarding cares

Tony Hawk frontside grinds a pool in 1986 and helps communities around the country build them in 2012. Mofo

Skateboarding's unique combination of physicality, creativity, courage and its engaging spirit have made it the fastest growing sport in the country. Skateboarders are a special breed, who instinctually understand shared responsibility. Whether it's draining a pool together, dragging around sheets of plywood to create a landing, or filming a friend, with helpfulness built into their ethos it's not surprising that skateboarders have set up numerous charity organizations. There are literally hundreds of skate related non-profits in the US alone. Here's a shout out to the skaters that are trying to make a difference.


The Tony Hawk Foundation
Tony Hawk is a leader within skateboarding and in communities across the country. For more than a decade The Tony Hawk Foundation has been empowering kids and helping to bring skateboarding to towns throughout the US. By utilizing Hawk's popularity and relationships with globally recognized brands, The Tony Hawk Foundation has held fundraising events. The goal of the organization is to help fund recreational programs and bring public skateparks to low-income neighborhoods. "We have awarded over $4-million to more than 500 communities, and we are now officially in all 50 states!" says Founder and President Tony Hawk. "The last ten years have exceeded my expectations, and I am prouder than ever of the work we are doing all over the country." Tonyhawkfoundation.org

The Ryan Sheckler Foundation
Since it started in 2008, The Ryan Sheckler Foundation has given away more than three quarters of a million dollars. Launched by Ryan and his mother Gretchen Sheckler, the foundation was established to raise capital and to raise awareness for skateboarding. Through a variety of fundraising efforts, including the Ryan Sheckler Celebrity Golf Tournament, they are able to contribute to a wide spectrum of causes that give back to the community through empowering children through skateboarding. Shecklerfoundation.org

The Rob Dyrdek Foundation
Recognizing the benefits of skateboarding, in 2003 The Rob Dyrdek Foundation began its mission to expand skateboarding from coast to coast. With the popularity of Dyrdek's television programs and Dyrdek's multi faceted approach, he's been able to help city governments with the design, development, and construction of legal Skate Plazas. In addition The Rob Dyrdek Foundation gives back by building community development through skateboarding workshops and educational programs. Robdyrdekfoundation.org

Let It Flow
Let It Flow was launched in 2008 by X Games gold medalist Nyjah Huston and his mother Kelle Huston to bring clean water to people suffering extreme poverty in Africa. Globally 1.2 billion people don't have access to clean water and they are literally dying for it. Stemming from their own experience with collecting and refining water, when they lived on a rural farm, Huston and his mother saw a need and have stepped in to fill it. Let It Flow dug its' first well in Ethiopia from proceeds raised through selling reusable water bottles and they are expanding their fundraising efforts to bring access to clean water to Africa. Letitflow.org


Skate For Homies
Skate for Homies is a Utah based non-profit started by Todd Ingersoll, who was fortunate enough to have a handy and enthusiastic father who built him a mini-ramp when he was a kid. Now an adult, Ingersoll founded the organization to pay it forward. Skate for Homies provides new and refurbished skate equipment, classes and after school programs, which are focused on skateboarding and the arts, for kids who come from challenging environments or who are part of local youth groups. Skate4homies.org

Stoked Mentoring
Stoked Mentoring was co-founded by New York City native Steve Larosiliere and Sal Masakela to help teens develop through opportunities to learn skills and life experience through action sports and mentoring. Since 2008 Stoked has offered after-school programs, college preparatory, direct mentoring with professional skateboarders, and neighborhood outreach through service. Their goal is to empower and educate students by making them excited to be in school and for kids to be stoked on an active lifestyle. Stoked.org

Board Rescue
Board Rescue provides skateboards and safety equipment to youth organizations that use skateboarding to build kid's self-confidence. Founded by Gary Hall, this non-profit is run entirely by volunteers and is supported through product donations from companies like Powell Peralta and Independent Trucks and through funds raised at their annual skateboard art show. Entrenched in skate history, Board Rescue's Treasurer Judi Oyama is a veteran shredder who rode for Santa Cruz Skateboards in the 1970s. Boardrescue.org

Next Up Foundation
Located in the heart of the skate industry, in Orange County, Calif., Next Up Foundation that teaches life skills through skateboarding. By teaching kids from underserved communities about setting goals, working toward their aims, and achieving their objectives Next Up has found a way to use skating to build up self-esteem. The non-profit provides after-school programs and summer mentoring series. Professional skater Andre Genovisi is the Foundation's Vice-President. Nextupfoundation.com


Skate For Change
Skate for Change, started by Lincoln, Neb. skateboarder Mike Smith, is a collective of local skateboarders who provide bottled water, socks, clothing, bus passes and food to their community's homeless. A second chapter has formed in Seattle, Wash. where local skaters have adopted the Skate for Change name and philosophy and added on to the model by placing 50-gallon drums at skateshops and distributing the donations. Skateforchange.org

A.skate is an acronym for Autism, Skating with Kids through Acceptance, Therapy, and Education. Children within the spectrum often have a hard time relating to others and, because of their impairment, they respond better to physical outlets that allows them to operate on their own terms, rather than in traditional team sports. Founder Crys Worley explains, "Skateboarding and autism just fit! No team, no coach, rip solo." Seeing how it positively affected her son Sasha, she was determined to bring her message to other families struggling with Autism. A.skate's goal is to raise public awareness and educate and support families throughout the US and abroad. A.skate.org

Nibwaakaawin/All Nations Skate Jam
Nibwaakaawin, which means wisdom, is a non-profit organization with the goal of educating and empowering Native American children through skateboarding. In addition to skate clinics and school visits, Nibwaakaawin has hosted the All Nations Skate Jam in Albuquerque, N.M. for the past 6 years. The ANSJ is a two-day competition with more than 300 skateboarders from 50 different tribal nations. The event instills cultural pride and connectivity among both the contestants and spectators. Allnationsskatejam.org

Girls Riders Organization
Since launching in 2006, Girls Riders Organization has put their energy into opening up skateboarding to girls. Recognizing that the primary spark to step onto a board is generated by seeing a peer skating, these female skaters tour the country inspiring young girls. Through nonexclusive events, education and support, GRO encourages girls of all ages to participate. Girlsriders.org

Skateistan works with growing numbers of displaced Afghan children through skateboarding. December 15, 2012, 300 students, parents, friends and instructors celebrated the three-year anniversary of the Skateistan skate school in Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition to skating, the school provides a safe, nurturing environment for the exchange of ideas, learning and individual empowerment. Over 500 students roll through the school every week, including young women. Skatistan is one of the only recreational spaces where Afghan girls are safe to participate. In 2011 Skateistan began working with kids in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, bringing with them the same goals that they are achieving in Kabul. Skateistan.org

Johnny Kicks Cancer
Johnny Kicks Cancer was founded in 2008 by Julie and Mike Romano after loosing their ten-year-old son, Johnny, to leukemia. Johnny Kicks Cancer's objectives are to increase funding for childhood leukemia research and to find a cure. Through partnerships within the skateboarding industry the non-profit has helped to raise awareness and financial resources for cutting-edge research. The annual Johnny Romano Skate Jam has raised more than three quarters of a million dollars for the Gulf Coast branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Johnnykickscancer.org


Although it's a young sport, skateboarding has seen its' share of tragedies. Through the darkest times, skaters manage to find a way to bring something good into the light, celebrating their fallen friends through non-profit memorial organizations. Groups like the Tim Brauch Memorial Fund, the Harold Hunter Foundation and the Andy Kessler Foundation are pivotal within their skate community, offering events and workshops and commemorating skateboarding's dearly departed.


Skateboard companies manifest their shared responsibility by giving back in a multitude of ways. Girl Skateboards has partnered with RED creating product to raise funds to fight AIDS. Footwear company Etnies hosts an annual Christmas shoe give-away benefitting underprivileged children. Element Skateboards united with the YMCA for their Elemental Awareness program, which takes city kids into the wilderness to expose them to nature. Skate shoe company, Vans is always quick to lend a hand and immediately after Hurricane Katrina Vans sent box-trucks full of product to New Orleans. Real Skateboards Actions Realized program uses its product and marketing platform to raise funds and awareness for numerous causes. Athletic megabrand Nike funds and staffs the Honor Roll Skate Club, which is an afterschool program with the aim of decreasing violence and increasing high school graduation rates by using skateboarding as a developmental tool. These are but a few of the ways in which skateboarders uses their voice, their capital and their creativity to help others.