Skateboarding has gained ground in such a short time. Through a unique combination of courage, creativity, and an engaging lifestyle, skateboarding has gained popularity worldwide and finds its place among traditional sports like football and baseball. Besides being an awesome sport, skateboarding is so much more than just cruising around on a skateboard.
Skateboarders generally have a shared responsibility in society that makes them so unique among all other sports. Numerous nonprofit skateboard organizations make a difference by their outstanding contributions like The Tony Hawk Foundation, Stoked Mentoring, Next Up Foundation A.Skate, and the list goes on.
These nonprofit skateboard organizations are unique in their contributions and are known to make a difference as well.
Numerous nonprofit skateboard organizations show solidarity with communities worldwide while others empower kids and help them bring skateboarding to their hometown. Here is a list of 22 such nonprofit skateboard organizations that make a huge difference to the (skateboarding) world.
- Nonprofit Skateboard Organizations Directed By Skateboard Professionals
- Organizations That Focus on Mentoring and Providing Products
- Nonprofit Skateboard Organizations That Are Cause-Specific
Nonprofit Skateboard Organizations Directed By Skateboard Professionals
Here is a list of nonprofit skateboard organizations that are directed not just by anyone but by skateboard professionals themselves:
The Skatepark Project (The Tony Hawk Foundation)
Tony Hawk is an American Skateboarder and founder of ‘Tony Hawk Foundation’ now known as ‘The Skatepark Project.‘ Till now, almost 600 recipients from this project have opened their skateparks. And these skateparks receive more than 6 million visits every year.
Tony Hawk is an iconic skateboarder known all over the world who received thousands of e-mails from parents and children across America who wanted a safe and legal place to skate. After seeing this situation, Tony Hawk got on a mission to serve the population by providing them with a traditional place to skate and developing quality places to practice the sport.
Hawk founded this nonprofit skateboard organization in 2002. Tony Hawk financed the organization himself with a personal gift and assembled a Board of Directors from different backgrounds and unique expertise.
The Skatepark project helps underserved communities to build safe and inclusively legal public skateparks for the young generation. This nonprofit organization also supports international programs like ‘Skateistan’ that enrich youth’s lives through skateboarding.
Last year in 2020, the organization changed its name to ‘The Skatepark Project’ to reflect its work for the community.
Let It Flow
Nyjah Huston is an American skateboarder and X Games gold medalist. He launched his organization ‘Let It Flow’ with his mother Kelle Huston’s help to bring clean water to Africa’s people suffering from extreme poverty.
Their nonprofit organization’s slogan ‘Life Grows Where Water Flows’ has a background and stems from their own experience of collecting and refining water when they lived on a rural farm.
This nonprofit organization was launched in 2008 and dug its first well in Ethiopian village ‘Debra Brehan’ that provides clean and safe water to approximately 900 people.
These people not only have clean water to drink, but they also have time to grow crops, sell food for money, and to go to school. They sold reusable water bottles and expanded their fundraising efforts by giving access to clean water to Africa’s people.
Let It Flow Nonprofit organization provides water solution to people living without access to clean drinking water. They believe that water is the first step in building productive, healthy, and sustainable communities.
The Ryan Sheckler Foundation
The Ryan Sheckler Foundation is founded by an American Skateboarder and X Games gold medalist ‘Ryan Sheckler’ and his mother ‘Gretchen Sheckler.’ Established in 2008, The Ryan Sheckler Foundation aims to equip, educate, and empower the community to ‘Be the Change’ in the lives of children who are injured action sports athletes.
This nonprofit organization was founded to raise capital and raise awareness for skateboarding. They support great causes that directly benefit and enrich the lives of children and injured athletes.
The Ryan Scheller Foundation – a nonprofit skateboarding organization, contributes to a broad spectrum of causes through various fundraising programs like ‘the Ryan Sheckler Celebrity Golf Tournament’ by which they empower children through skateboarding.
Its slogan ‘Be The Change’ represents their will to help children change their lives through skateboarding. They also offer Skate After School that provides after-school programs with a team of over 30 qualified volunteers to underserved youth, and this school serves roughly 240 students per week.
Some other projects of the Ryan Sheckler Foundation are:
- Project Lifelong
- Skate After School
- Harold Hunter Foundation’s Legacy Program
- Wiggle your Toes
- Process Skate Ministry Indoor Skatepark
- The Bay
- Surf. Skate. Science
- Maple Built
The Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Skate Plaza Foundation
Rob Dyrdek is a professional American skateboarder and entrepreneur. Being a professional, he recognized the benefits of skateboarding and started his mission to expand this sport from coast to coast.
He founded the Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Plaza Foundation in 2008 to create and maintain healthy and sustainable communities by promoting and providing the benefits of skateboarding to the world. This nonprofit skateboarding organization achieves this goal by working with municipalities, nonprofits organizations, private donors on the design, development, and construction of legal and safe skate plazas.
This nonprofit organization aims to sponsor safe skateboarding areas in different locations. According to statistical data, there are more than 12 million skateboarders in the United States, and 74% are between 7 and 17. But there are minimal legal places to skate.
Youth need safe and legal places to skate, exercise, and practice the sport that they love. Keeping in view these reasons, Rob Dyrdek-DC Shoes Plaza Foundation aims to sponsor safe skateboarding areas for youth, where they can practice skateboarding and also pursue this sport as a career in the future.
Organizations That Focus on Mentoring and Providing Products
Here are nonprofit skateboard organizations that majorly focus on mentoring and providing products exclusively:
Skate for Homies Foundation
The Skate for Homies Foundation is a nonprofit organization based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Founded by ‘Todd Ingersoll’ this nonprofit skateboarding organization teaches skateboarding skills, mentor kids from challenged households and provide them skateboarding helmets and gear.
Todd Ingersoll’s father built him a mini ramp when he was a kid, and now as an adult, he founded the ‘Skate for Homies Foundation’ to pay it forward.
This nonprofit skateboard organization aims to provide new and refurbished skate equipment, classes, and after-school programs that focus on skateboard training and the arts.
Moreover, the Skate for Homies foundation works best for kids who come from challenged homes and environments where they don’t have many opportunities to fulfill their dreams.
Board Rescue Nonprofit Organization
The Board Rescue Nonprofit Organization also focuses on providing skateboards and safety equipment to numerous youth organizations that help children build self-esteem by skateboarding.
Garry Holl is the founder of the ‘Board Rescue organization,’ but volunteers run this organization. Several product donation companies like Powell Peralta and Independent Trucks support this nonprofit skateboarding organization.
Board Rescue works for the public benefit and provides skateboards to organizations in the United States that work for underprivileged, at-risk, and special needs children. Their program includes the general business practice of getting donations and giving skateboards to qualified organizations.
The Board Rescue organization also solicit donations of skateboards, skateboard parts, and safety equipment directly from manufacturers. In this way, youth in this organization gain several benefits like health, confidence, and more.
90% Of each dollar donated is spent purchasing skateboards, and 10% of the donations are used to pay the shipping cost. This is how the Board Rescue Organization makes a big difference among all other nonprofit skateboard organizations.
Stoked Mentoring was found by ‘STEVE LAROSILIERE’ in 2004 when he found himself at crossroads in his life and career. He was a New York native who wanted to help youth development opportunities to learn skills and life experience through mentoring and action sports.
Stoked Mentoring was created to pull kids out of their daily environment and offer the ability to think of and for themselves in a broader context. This nonprofit organization has been offering after-school programs, college preparatory, direct mentoring with professional skateboarders, and neighborhood outreach through service since 2008.
Stoked Mentoring celebrates youth who take risks, live meaningful lives, and grab opportunities. Their community makes changes and lead these changes to respective industries.
This nonprofit skateboarding organization pragmatically addresses fear and crushes it with courage. Through mentorship, Stocked Mentoring empowers youth and inspires leaders.
Steve initiated the idea of Stoked Mentoring when he thought, coupled with the fact that he had never left the island of Manhattan and experience the view and feeling of being on top of the mountain.
By sharing a passion for snowboarding and the cultural identity of being Haitian, Stoked Mentoring has resulted in a presence in three cities, partnership with 21 schools, and over 4000 kids being served each day.
Next Up Foundation
The Next Up Foundation is a nonprofit skateboarding organization that stimulates increased interest in school, promotes higher education, and presents career opportunities among underserved middle and high school students.
This nonprofit skateboarding organization is situated in the heart of the skateboard industry, in Orange County, Calif. ‘Andre Genovisi,’ a professional skateboarder who is the foundation’s Vice President, wants to build self-esteem among kids through skateboarding.
The Next Up Foundation believes that its volunteers can teach kids valuable life lessons and modeling a prosperous and healthy life through skateboarding activities. They mentor disadvantaged kids through skateboarding by teaching them problem-solving skills, developing youth leadership, and encouraging social mobility.
The Next Up Foundation’s skateboarding program includes:
- Offering mentor-ship and skateboarding instructions.
- Providing equipment, safety gear, clothes, and shoes to needy participants.
- Encouraging healthy lifestyles and resistance to peer pressure.
- Providing opportunities for participants to meet and skate with professional skaters.
- Organizing field trips to action sports companies and events.
- Creating a safe and supportive social community for skaters.
- Helping students set goals, gain self-discipline, and develop positive character traits such as resilience and creativity.
The Next Up Foundation continues to serve a growing group of elementary and middle school kids through mentorship, academic support, and wellness programs at its facility and skate park.
Nonprofit Skateboard Organizations That Are Cause-Specific
Here are nonprofit skateboard organizations that are cause-specific:
Boards For Bros
Boards For Bros is a nonprofit organization committed to giving skateboards to kids who can’t afford them. The members of this nonprofit organization are caring individuals who provide all kids with a chance to have their first skateboard.
Back in 2006, Boards for Bros started to collect and refurbish skateboards to distribute among youth who could not afford their own, and then in 2014, they became a nonprofit organization. They were fully committed to providing equipment, skate spots, and youth mentoring to the community. Moreover, their model empowers skateboarders to participate in community service as volunteers, donors, or project managers.
Boards for Bros – a nonprofit skateboard organization, started this initiative by taking a successful Tampa Based model and expanding its mission nationally. Their ongoing projects are working in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, California, and their very active Tampa headquarters.
This nonprofit skateboard organization believes that a skateboard’s magic is a mode of transportation and a tool for play, discovery, developing physical skills, and interacting with others with a shared interest in skateboarding. This is good for physical and mental health and changes someone’s life.
Skate Aid is a nonprofit skateboard organization that empowers kids and help across the boarders. They stand for a holistic, self-determined approach to support young people in the context of youth aid, sport, culture, and international understanding.
They aim to make the world a little bit better. No less than that. They see the future in kids, and they think the world needs healthy kids to have a promising future. They want the basic needs of all kids are met.
Skate Aid has a clear mission that if you want to make the world better, you have to keep working on it. Their primary tool is the pedagogical power of skateboarding with its range of effectivity.
Following are some of the great work that Skate-Aid carries out and its missions of empowering kids, providing genuine socialization, prevention, and peace work:
- They construct and maintain safe skate parks and pedagogical socialization rooms with free access and support and structured leisure activities for kids and teenagers regardless of age, religion, skin color, social class, and gender.
- Skate Aid carries out free skateboard lessons (workshops) to promote self-determined personality development, resilience, integration, and inclusion.
- They implement and promote national and international sporting events.
- They also implement and promote youth exchange programs to reduce cultural barriers and prejudices.
- Skate Aid also carries out special continuing education workshops for kids and teenagers on sensitive topics such as racism, drug abuse, environmental pollution, discrimination, or AIDS.
- They conduct projects and actions that support young people, promote their individual and social development, provide life and guidance, and open new perspectives.
Skate Aid is empowering kids for almost ten years and using the power of skateboarding in meanwhile 18 countries with more than 20 projects.
Johnny Kicks Cancer
Johnny Kicks Cancer is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by Julie and Mike Romano when they lost their ten-year-old son ‘Johnny’ to leukemia.
The Johnny Kicks Cancer Organization’s mission is to cure childhood leukemia through awareness, advocacy, and research. They partnership within the skateboarding industry and help to raise awareness and financial resources for cutting-edge research.
The A.Skate Foundation works with kids with autism and organizes skating sessions with these kids to learn and grow in their own unique way. A.Skate offers a form of Occupational Therapy focusing on vestibular, proprioceptive, motor skills, and social and behavioral therapy.
Their mission is skating with kids through acceptance, therapy, and education. They provide one on one skate lessons for individuals with autism in an environment that is appropriate to their sensory needs to learn.
A.Skate also provides skateboards, gear, and safety equipment, including helmets and safety pads, to use during their skateboarding lessons.
The A.Skate Foundation is not a school but a foundation that organizes the autism-friendly skateboard clinic environment to teach the fundamental lessons of skateboarding to new participants. There are numerous options for children with autism to participate in activities rather than organized sports.
This nonprofit skateboard organization holds clinics nationwide for children with autism at no cost to the families. They have fundraisers and events to promote the cause. They also embrace the parts of autism that are difficult to understand and give the autistic kids an outlet free of rules or judgment.
Exposure Skate is Co-Founded by professional skateboarder ‘Amelia Brodka’ who is a professional skateboarder. She saw a lack of support from within the skateboarding industry for women and was inspired to change this.
She also made a documentary ‘Underexposed’ to explore the systematic problem of lack of support for women within the skateboarding industry.
The Exposure Skate Organization is a nonprofit skateboard organization that addresses the lack of access and inclusion within females and skateboarding.
Their main goal is to empower girls and young women to participate in action sports such as skateboarding and apply this empowerment to all areas of their lives to grow consistently and develop themselves to become strong, confident women with healthy and fulfilling lifestyles.
The Exposure Skate Organization has now had over 180 global entries from 15 different countries. Since its creation, it has expanded comprehensive programs that reached and will reach more girls and women from everywhere. They aim to have each girl walk away feeling empowered by overcoming fears and feel a sense of responsibility to their community.
Every year, the Exposure Skate Organization presents a women’s benefit event to bring opportunity and visibility to women who embody strength and courage. Around 170 female skateboarders come to California to have the chance to share their skateboarding skills in front of the world.
Make Life Skate Life
Make Life Skate Life is a nonprofit skateboard organization that helps implement skate programs. It aims to include females, disadvantaged people, and refugee youth and use skateboarding as a tool for teaching cross-cultural communication, creative self-expression, and resilience to disadvantaged youth populations.
Arne Hillerns is the founder of ‘Make Life Skate Life’ who met a group of Indian skaters while traveling through India with their skateboards in 2012. The Indian Skateboarders wanted to build a skatepark for their community, which was missing at the time. Make Life Skate Life secured sponsorship and built India’s first skatepark in 2013.
Inspired by the first project’s success, this nonprofit skateboard organization organized a follow-up project and built a second skatepark together with a Bolivian skate community.
Make Life Skate Life empowers disadvantaged kids who come from challenging backgrounds and whose lives have been marked by poverty, displacement, conflict, and marginalization. They believe that skateboarding changes individuals’ lives and improves their self-esteem and confidence, contributing to an improved outlook and positive attitude towards achieving.
This nonprofit organization works in Brazil, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Jordan, Bolivia, and India. Make Life Skate Life makes a difference by taking full ownership to independently run long-term projects while acquiring enough skills to lead their next project.
Ben Raemers Foundation
Ben Raemers – a professional skateboarder, took his own life in 2019. He was passionate about skateboarding, and he is remembered as a great inspiration to others.
The Ben Raemers Foundation aims to end the stigma and burden that become the sole reason for mental health issues. This nonprofit organization brings awareness of mental health issues and suicide to the forefront of the skateboarding community.
Dylan Rieder Foundation and Cancer Research
Dylan Rieder was an American Skateboarder who died due to complications with leukemia. However, the Dylan Rieder Foundation was created by his family and close friends who continue to help people who are fighting leukemia.
Concrete Jungle Foundation
The Concrete Jungle Foundation is an international nonprofit organization that builds skateparks and runs youth programs for communities worldwide. This nonprofit organization helps out disadvantaged communities and individuals worldwide through fostering and sustaining a positive attitude inherent to skateboarding.
Concrete jungle foundation also responds to local demands for skateboarding facilities. They partner with the most popular skatepark builders to provide world-class concrete parks to marginalized communities.
The Concrete Jungle Foundation leverages expertise and years of experience to provide targeted youth programs focused on life-skills for children and professional development for adolescents – through skateboarding.
Girls Riders Organization
The Girls Riders Organization is a nonprofit organization founded to inspire, support, and educate girls of all ages to be confident leaders for positive change. It is not only a skateboarding organization, but girls that do snowboarding, for example, or other action sports can also be a part of it.
The lessons given to girls through GRO help them in their action sport and all areas of life, empowering them to become leaders for a positive change in their community. Through their work, GRO tells girls that they are important, capable and that they matter.
The Girls Riders Organization provides knowledge, skills, guidance, and support to the GRO riders and crews’ network. It helps the industries, companies, communities, and events to reach and serve girls in all kinds of action sports.
Skateistan is a nonprofit organization that empowers children through skateboarding and education. It is an award-winning international nonprofit organization that makes a difference among others.
This nonprofit organization works with many displaced Afghan children through skateboarding. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany, and has numerous entities from all around the world.
Skateistan runs five different programs within their Skate School for Children that are the following:
- Dropping In
- Skate and Create
- Youth Leadership
- Back to School
They have 500 students in the school every week, including young women. In 2011, Skateistan started working with kids in Cambodia, Bamyan, and South Africa.
Flipping Youth empowers young individuals from challenging environments internationally through action sports, creative arts, and entrepreneurship. They use action sports as a tool to connect young people through the challenge of overcoming obstacles and socially mixing in a positive environment that is free from any class discrimination and racial inequality.
In 2016, when the Flipping Youth team was on a trip to Jamaica, they realized that the growing community of skateboarders in Kingston is looking for some smooth concrete to practice their tricks. Today, the reality is that they still haven’t had the opportunity to realize this.
Flipping youth commit to sustainable development and ensure that their projects promote youth entrepreneurship, encouraging young people to learn employability skills and test their business ideas.
The Chill Foundation is also a nonprofit skateboard organization that inspires youth to overcome challenges through various boardsports. It is a positive youth development program that enables boardsports to become a symbol of empowerment.
Its program consists of experiential learning activities, discussion, and reflection paired with boardsport lessons. Founded in 1995, Chill is proud to offer its programs in 24 cities of 10 countries worldwide.
Their slogan ‘Ride, Inspire, Leads’ says it all. Chill focuses on their participants’ resiliency to reach their maximum potential and create a different life-path for themselves from their current circumstances.
Look Back Library
The Look Back Library began in September 1986 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of skateboarding.
It consists of multiple partnerships with other magazine libraries & collectors around the world preserving magazines, and other printed skateboard materials.
Skate4Life is all about suicide prevention, awareness, mental illness education, and celebrating life. Skate4Life mostly is geared towards teens and young adults.
Skate4life hosts an annual skateboard event to spread awareness of depression and suicide prevention, providing resources to families and make them known and accessible.
The annual event is in memory of James “Dylan” McNeill and Cody Nelson Arrington, who took their own life at a very young age.
Grind for life
Founded by Mike Roger in 2003 after battling cancer for the second time. Mike was first diagnosed as a teen and beat the odds 25 years later.
Their mission is to help patients financially when traveling long distances to doctors and hospitals. Grind for Life helps to finance expenses such as travel, food, and lodging, or any personal needs for those who qualify.
Last but not least is Pushing Ahead, founded by Derek Robison in 2016. Pushing Ahead is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and charity organization dedicated to empowering youth through skateboarding. By providing a nurturing and safe environment, they teach the skills that encourage youth to become confident individuals and build strong communities.
Pushing Ahead wants to make skateboarding accessible to all by partnering with after school programs who serve underprivileged youth and run programs with them. At the end of the program each youth build/ keep their own skateboard from donations they receive. Learn more at pushingahead.org
The skateboarding scene is not just all about fun, speed, and cool tricks. Many skateboarders care about others, their community and want to reach out and help. Skateboarders are a relaxed, chill, and kind “breed,” and many guys and girls want to make a difference.
However, apart from this list, many other nonprofit organizations are working to make a huge difference in the world. Let’s face it, boarders are awesome, but you don’t have to be one to make a difference to others who might need some help.
I’m an aged skateboarder and I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago but also love surfing, snowboarding, or anything that involves a board.