Q&A: Tony Hawk Foundation DevDir, Kim Novick
Kim Novick is the Development Director at the Tony Hawk Foundation, and she’s been quite busy lately helping to plan the 10th annual Tony Hawk’s Stand up for Skateparks Benefit, which will take place this Saturday, October 5, in Beverly Hills. The family-friendly event will be headlined by Modest Mouse and will include games, food, live and silent auctions, as well as a Vert Demo with Tony Hawk himself and other skateboarding and BMX stars. This year’s event is co-chaired by Hawk and actor/director Jon Favreau.
“It’s been 10 years, and our event keeps getting bigger and better!” said Tony Hawk. “This year we have a stellar lineup of skaters and a performance by one of my favorite bands, along with incredible auction items. I can’t wait.”
Proceeds from the event will go to the Tony Hawk Foundation, which was established in 2002 by the legendary skateboarder. The foundation strives to promote and provide high-quality skateparks in low income areas throughout the United States.
During our interview, Kim explained to me the challenges of planning such a large event, what to expect at this year’s Stand up for Skateboards Benefit, and why she loves being a part of the Tony Hawk Foundation:
YH: Tell us a bit more about the Tony Hawk Foundation. How was the Foundation first formed?
KN: The Tony Hawk Foundation was formed 12 years ago out of Tony's passion for skateboarding, youth, and his desire to give back to the sport that gave him so much. Tony recognized a real need for youth, especially in lower income communities, to have a safe, free, quality skatepark in their community. He founded the Tony Hawk Foundation with that specific mission in mind and, since 2002, has been able to help usher in 537 skateparks across the U.S. These skateparks are in low-income communities and service 4.6 million youth annually.
YH: This is the 10th year anniversary of this particular event. How has it evolved over the years?
KN: Our first year, the event was at Pinz bowling alley in Studio City. We had 350 people, and Blink 182 played on a stage set up over the bowling lanes. Benicio Del Toro showed up to support, David Spade and Tom Green did stand-up sets, and we attracted a handful of new donors.
Now in our 10th year, Stand Up For Skateparks sells out to a crowd of 1,000 major donors, athletes, musicians, and celebrities. Jon Favreau, a long time supporter, will co-chair this year's benefit with Tony. Ron Burkle generously hosts the benefit at Green Acres, his Beverly Hills home, and the likes of The Black Keys, Social Distortion, Jane's Addiction, Ben Harper, and, this year, Modest Mouse have come play this family-friendly fundraiser. The most notable change is that THF has developed an invaluable base of generous people who are knowledgable about our work and join us at this benefit each year to help make the mission of THF a reality. While the music, food, auction items, and, of course, the skate demo get better and better each year, the real evolution is in the culture of giving that has developed among our committed base of donors and advocates. The hundreds of skateparks that now pepper the U.S., thanks to assistance from THF, would not have been possible without their dedication. And the likes of many celebrities who now come with their families, while I cannot mention their names, has grown exponentially.
YH: What were the particular challenges for planning this year's benefit?
KN: The number one challenge in any year of a benefit is being able to reach our necessary fundraising goals. As the demand for public skateparks increases, so do the demands on our foundation to meet these needs. Our challenge at this annual benefit is to raise as much money as possible to bring the gift of public skateparks to the communities and kids who need them the most.
YH: How will this year's benefit be different from last year's benefit?
KN: In many ways, we try not to make it too different, as, each year, our guests leave saying, "That was the best one yet." But truly, we try each year to add new activities for the kids, change up the music, the menu, the skaters who come to skate, and always new goodies to send everyone home with. But if I told you what was different, it wouldn't be a surprise.
YH: What are you most excited about for this year's benefit?
KN: To exceed our fundraising goals and break our goal of raising 1 million dollars as we did pre-Recession. And to see Lizzie Armanto in the demo, holding her own with the guys.
YH: What exactly, in your opinion, is the most rewarding part of being a part of the Tony Hawk Foundation?
KN: Knowing that you are a part of something much greater. That you are somehow affecting the lives of youth across the U.S. in a very positive way. Seeing the smile on a child's face, whom I have never met, but whom I see in the photos of the skatepark openings in their community, somewhere in America. It makes the world a smaller place and gives me the sense that I had some small part in bringing a smile to a child and creating a valuable community asset in a town that will benefit from a safe skatepark in which their youth will play.
(Image provided by Sarah Hall Productions)
- Sarah Osman, YH Staff