One of the ways that The Goodpush Alliance aims to support our community is by linking up equipment sponsors with social skate projects that are lacking the skateboards and safety gear they need for their programs. To help match up equipment donations with projects in-need, last year we launched our Equipment Needs form and invited any social skate project to worldwide to fill it out (if you haven’t done so yet, we encourage you to do so here).
In the past year, we have been able to coordinate several donations, and we wanted to highlight one skate company that has been most active in supporting the Goodpush community.
Since mid-2020, Heart Supply and Rolling Thunder Supply Co. have donated or committed more than 2000 complete skateboards to different social skateboarding projects around the world. We first linked up with the Heart Supply #GiveSkateboarding program in August last year, when Rolling Thunder’s Co-Founder and Director Steve Douglas asked for help distributing 100 completes. Since then we have worked together with Heart Supply to arrange donations to skate projects in Mozambique, Bangladesh, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Ecuador and more locations.
We thought it would be great to go deeper and learn more about their program to “get skateboards under kids’ feet” so we asked Steve to answer a few questions.
As background, The Heart Supply is a skateboard company with a very special focus on social skateboarding. The brand was established by Element founders Johnny and Kori Schillereff, alongside their children Lenox and Camp. After nearly 30 years in the skateboarding industry working with countless skateboarders and creatives, they were amazed by the vision the skateboarding community shared and the purpose of how to make skateboarding more inclusive and affordable – As their slogan says, it’s about giving back.
Their aim is to give kids the gift of riding their own skateboard and welcome them to the skateboarding community, stating that the freedom, cultural diversity, and friendships developed from skateboarding are invaluable. From their point of view, riding a skateboard is a creative, physical activity that sees no color, inspires equality, and builds self-esteem and awareness. So they direct part of the proceeds they generate as a skateboard company to put boards under kids' feet though the donation of completes to different social skateboarding projects around the world.
“Putting a skateboard under kids' feet allows them to roll toward positive opportunities and a happier, healthier life.”
We believe that the vision of Heart Supply is a great example of how skate companies and social skateboarding projects can work together. It shows that being a for-profit skateboard company and caring about social issues coanuld perfectly go together.
Could you tell us about your organization’s history? How and when did The Heart Supply come about?
We started Rolling Thunder Supply Cco in 2018. In the summer of 2020, Johnny Schillereff, my old partner in Element skateboards, told me he was leaving Element after almost 30 years and said he was going to start the Heart Supply with a big focus on giving back. This idea was welcomed by my partners in the company and the brand fit in perfectly with all of the others. For me it was very exciting to work with someone that I knew so well.
Where is Rolling Thunder located?
We are located in London, England. We manufacture in China at four different factories and we ship to most areas of the world. I live full time in California.
Why did you decide to start donating complete skateboards to social skate projects and how did you link up with the Goodpush Alliance?
Johnny's mission was to give away skateboards and get more people skating globally, so I went away and put together a plan. I reached out to Skateistan and they put me in contact with the Goodpush and I was like “GREAT, what a resource”.
We know that apart from donating skateboards you have also covered shipping costs? Why would you say this part is important?
Normally global distributions take care of their regions, so when a brand is sold in, let's say Italy as an example, the Italian distributor is in charge of marketing. Johnny said we don't want you to have local riders, no print ads, no tours – we want you to take that % of sales and buy completes and give them away to kids in-need in your country and we told them if you don’t know where then check out the Goodpush map. For Rolling Thunder, my partners and myself talked and we decided that we would take care of the places where there was no distributors, we knew this would be the hardest and most expensive areas to get product to but we would be committed, I looked at how Skateistan had built their program that changes lives with 10 or 12 completes, so we knew that it was not massive numbers per region but working with multiple regions that would make an impact. We knew those completes would not be easy and we were up for the challenge. Goodpush gave me a list of places and most were connected to Make Life Skate Life (MLSL)and when I really dug into what they did I was like “WOW this is incredible”. It was truly humbling and now I am proud to be on the board of MLSL and we at Rolling Thunder have committed to help build a park this year and next year, we hope this is just the start.
Also, the Heart Supply announced that they will build a community skatepark in Xala, Mexico. The skatepark is planned to be open by summer 2021. Rooted in a strong local skating community, the Town of Xala will provide young people a base to learn to skate while also creating an inclusive environment. Find out more about Rolling Thunder x Make Life Skate life partnership here.
Closing up, we definitely want to highlight that we are so honoured and proud to see how our Equipment Needs form for social skateboarding projects has helped to set up this amazing connection. If you are part of a social skateboarding project we encourage you to use this resource to tell us about your skateboarding equipment needs so we can try to connect you with equipment donors in future.
If you are a skate company/distributor who has new, quality skateboarding equipment that you would like to donate to a good cause, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. Once again, we would like to take a moment to deeply thank all of you who are making differences in people's lives through social skateboarding projects.