As part of its recently launched Built to Play initiative, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJRF), together with the Tony Hawk Foundation (THF), today announced that applications are now open for the creation of free, high-quality, public skateparks in under-served areas of Western New York and Southeast Michigan.

The Built to Play Skatepark Program supports community groups and municipal entities seeking to create free, public skateparks that serve low-income communities. In addition to grant funding, the program also provides advisory services and advocacy training to assist groups in organizing and managing their efforts to build skateparks in their communities.

Through RCWJRF funding, THF will offer matching grant funds of up to $250,000 to assist in the construction of public, non-profit skateparks, giving youth the opportunity to be active whether they’re riding on skateboards, BMX bikes, scooters or rollerblades. The grant funding will result in the creation of up to 20 skateparks over the next several years, with up to five being constructed with this first phase of grants.

“We’re very excited about our partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation,” said Tony Hawk. “Having helped create eight skateparks in the region over the past fifteen years, we believe the Built to Play Skatepark Program offers unprecedented resources for eligible communities to build new skateparks for their youth.”

Organizations seeking to build free, public skateparks in the 16 counties throughout Southeast Michigan and Western New York are eligible to apply. Those counties in Western New York include: Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.

THF’s Built to Play Skatepark Manager Trevor Staples will work across both regions to help applicants navigate the public process of building a skatepark.

As part of the Built to Play initiative, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is also working with KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids great, safe places to play. KaBOOM!’s Play Everywhere Challenge, a design competition which encourages installations constructed to integrate play into everyday life and unexpected places, is accepting applications until May 11, 2018.

The deadline for Built to Play Skatepark grant applications is June 13, 2018. For more information and eligibility requirements click here.

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation:
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

About the 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 technical support and awarded $100,000 to assist youth through the Skateistan educational programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa ( The Tony Hawk Foundation was established by a gift from Tony Hawk. Its directors raise additional funds through events, industry donations, and continuing contributions from Tony and other entities. For more information, visit the Foundation’s Web site at You can also visit THF on facebook and Instagram @tonyhawkfoundation, and on Twitter @THF.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or restore more than 17,000 playspaces, engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers and served over 9 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit and join the conversation at, and #playmatters #PLAYceforKids