Art-adorned skateboard decks from The Skateroom are not just pieces of art in their own right, they’re also making the world a better place. Founded in 2014 and known for collaborations with the Andy Warhol Foundation, Fondation René Magritte, and Musée du Louvre, The Skateroom works closely with the world’s most influential artists to empower international skate and education nonprofits and projects. A certified B Corporation, the brand embraces a social entrepreneurship model and work with organizations that’s grounded in the motto, “We value art, we value skate, we value social change.” At least 10% of all revenue at The Skateroom goes directly to efforts to empower youth around the world, build new skateparks, and develop educational facilities and resource programs. We wanted to find out more about this company, so we asked The Skateroom’s Osh Tammas a few questions.
Q: The Skateroom has so many amazing initiatives around the world. Can you tell us about one that you are especially proud of?
A: Our largest and longest-standing partnership is with the award-winning international nonprofit Skateistan. The organization has opened five skate schools across Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa and, when working at full capacity, educates and empowers 2,700+ kids every week. The documentary dedicated to their activities won an Oscar in 2020. Since we started our partnership in 2014, we’ve given over $800,000 in funding to Skateistan. The strength of our partnership has helped them achieve what they have.
Inspired by our eight-year journey with Skateistan, we’ve committed to get even closer to the other organizations we work with to help them grow with unrestricted reliable funding. Concrete Jungle Foundation (CJF) is one of our nearest and dearest. We have sealed a formal three-year partnership committing to support Concrete Jungle Foundation with $30,000 for 2021. Through the revenue generated by our artists’ editions, we have raised $96,000 to date for the organization, and funded skatepark projects in Jamaica, Peru, and Angola.
Projects which appear and disappear with no plan for the future do not, in our experience, leave much of an impact. Concrete Jungle Foundation understands the need to work for and follow the lead of the local community. By committing to CJF, we will help them build locations, but also create sustainable education and youth leadership programs that will continue after a build is over. This way, CJF can seed genuine partnerships and make sure their young participants can grow and change their own lives, rather than rely on the will of outsiders.
Q: Can you tell us more about The Skateroom’s sustainable practices?
A: We consider our engagement with the planet sacred. Social impact cannot happen at the expense of environmental impact, but truly planet-friendly business is a difficult and endless journey. We’ve made a commitment to sustainability in all our work, though we can’t pretend we’re where we want to be yet.
We are already carbon neutral, we have reduced our plastic use considerably with the help of alternatives like organic cotton, and the recycling innovations of the Belgian company Bel Albatros, and we are committed to doing more. By 2022 we will localize production to reduce emissions and improve our value chain; compensate our wood usage via forest conservation projects; and reduce our plastic footprint further by finding alternatives for all packaging and single-use plastic products remaining in our work. We are already well on the way to meeting these aims.
Q: Your commitment to helping communities and concern for the environment is so inspiring. What’s next for The Skateroom?
A: The Skateroom will continue to stand by our partner projects as they head into the future. Over the past eight years, we’ve funded twenty-eight projects and helped the social skate movement grow. Today, that network spans the entire planet from Athens to Peru, Cuba to Belgium, and Zambia to Jamaica. The list goes on.
With more projects emerging every year, and skateboarding’s popularity higher than ever since its inclusion in the 2020 Olympics, we have an ever-expanding horizon full of opportunities to empower and educate underserved children. Plus, our community of conscious consumers will have even more ways to make lasting social impact by owning their own beautiful art editions by some of the world’s most influential artists. There’s a lot more still to come!