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Skateboarding

How CSEF is helping skaters pursue a higher education

“Everyone deserves a chance at pursuing a college education, skateboarders are no exception.”
By Zane Foley
7 min readPublished on
Skateboarders have the power to unite around our passion for skating and accomplish amazing things. From this simple yet profound truth, we’ve committed to highlighting nonprofits who support our fellow skaters.
While there’s plenty of skaters out there that need our help, we know even more are willing to lend a helping hand beyond the skatepark. That is precisely why we’re highlighting some of our favorite nonprofits to help spread awareness to their mission and help support those skaters who need it most.
Without further ado, here is our first non-profit profile: the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation.

What is CSEF?

It is our honor to introduce to you the nonprofit, CSEF. Otherwise known as the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation and the only national college scholarship fund for student skateboarders. Under the acronym CSEF, the nonprofit has 6 Executive Board Members, all of whom are volunteer-based with zero payroll. This not only ensures CSEF is a heart-lead organization but that 100% of donations go directly towards scholarships.
The nonprofit also has four members on their advisory board, including the educationally decorated Neftalie Williams and pro skateboarders Ryan Lay and Walker Ryan.
CSEF’s creative direction is spearheaded by Creative Director Josh Rowe and illustrator “Doodle Director '' Pat Sison, both of whom participate intimately with the nonprofit as experts volunteering their craft.
In 2021, CSEF announced one of their newest board members (and first female board member) Ash Martinez, who as an LA native and skate industry guru joins the already impressive board of directors dedicated to supporting student skateboarders.
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Red Bull CSEF 2

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What is the CSEF Mission?

Although CSEF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization in California, the non-profit was created to award scholarships to student skateboarders studying across the United States.
Founded in 2017 by Executive Director Keegan Guizard, Thomas Barker, and Neftalie Williams, the scholarship program began by awarding 6 student scholarships in its first year. This included Cody Koester, former Marketing Director of HUF who completed his Master of Fine Arts from New York University with the help of CSEF.
In the summer of 2019, the non-profit increased their scholarship capability by awarding 8 scholarships to student skateboarders from diverse backgrounds and a plethora of educational goals. In their third round and for their 2020 pool of recipients, CSEF’s fundraising efforts awarded $9,000 in student scholarships to 9 skateboarders.
In their fourth annual scholarship class, CSEF awarded 12 student scholarships, including 7 women and female-identifying skaters, totaling $20,000 in scholarship funds for student skateboarders.

CSEF Scholarship Application Program

With all the amazing work this nonprofit has already accomplished, it’s no secret that CSEF wants to do more. In 2020 alone, the non profit received over 200 scholarship applications, the majority of which deserve support as skateboarders and as students.
The task of narrowing 200 down to the $9,000 available for student scholarships is no easy task, but ultimately 9 skateboarders were chosen as 2020 scholarship recipients.
The 2020 scholarship recipients came from a diverse pool of study, ranging from Neuroscience to Public Health and Labor Relations.
Each year, CSEF’s fund proudly endorses both men and women, and this last year its first members of the LGTBQ+ community.
“This was the first year we made funds available particularly for women/non-binary folks, but this is not the first year we’ve had queer folks represented,” said Keegan Guizard.
While finalizing scholarship recipients has been more of a product of equal opportunity and merit-based selection, including their first LGTBQ+ recipients this year still resonates with the board who pride themselves on supporting diversity and equal representation.
This is precisely the vision CSEF and Exposure Skate had in mind when teaming up for the fourth annual and latest 2021 Scholarship class. Exposure Skate holds an annual Women’s Benefit Event in Encinitas, California, where over 170 female skaters had the opportunity to share their skateboarding skills on a global stage.
Naturally, the two groups found common ground in supporting skateboarders beyond the skatepark. Together, CSEF and Exposure Skate awarded $10,000 (2, $5,000 amounts) in scholarships for women-identifying student skateboarders for the 2021 scholarship class, all of whom come from diverse backgrounds and educational goals.
Out of the 12 scholarship recipients of 2021, 7 of them were women identifying students, including Jennie Mull of the Worble family and rad student skaters like Minelia Adriana Sotelo and Azucena Paola Morales, who as both skaters and students look forward to using their studies and career goals to give back to their communities.
For the full list of 2018 –2021 scholarship recipients you can visit the CSEF website Here!

CSEF Fundraising Events

In recent memory, CSEF raised funds for student scholarships by holding events in the form of art shows and auctions, where artists both inside and outside skateboarding donate pieces to be bought at a live or online art show.
CSEF also held a ticketed dinner fundraiser at The Berrics, where patrons were invited to enjoy a night at The Berrics wining and dining. With the pandemic, CSEF continued their fundraising efforts through virtual benefit fundraisers – which attracted some big names in skateboarding to the program.
In their 2021 Summer Benefit Fundraiser alone, CSEF teamed up with skaters like Red Bull’s very own Torey Pudwill, as well as Chris Coulbourn and Leo Romero. Other guests included Thrasher Editor-in-Chief Michael Burnett and Illegal Civilization founder Mikey Alfred, all of whom helped spread the awareness of CSEF by intimately revealing to viewers their relationship with education and skateboarding.

How To Get Involved

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Red Bull CSEF 3

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Since its founding in 2017, CSEF has hosted a series of events in both a pre-pandemic and during a pandemic world. From hosting intimate dinner fundraisers at The Berrics, to curating virtual Q&A events spreading awareness to their cause, all of which are 100-percent volunteer based and committed to raising thousands of dollars for student scholarships.
CSEF humbly invites you to shop their CSEF gear, featuring the cleverly designed “Use a Skate, Go To College” T-shirt homaging the legend Mark Gonzales, alongside a host of CSEF apparel and merchandise. All proceeds go directly to supporting student skateboarders.
While things remain uncertain with in-person events in the immediate future, CSEF is always welcoming volunteers, both students and alumni, to help shepherd the next generation of skateboard graduates.
Find out how you can get involved through the website’s Contact Us, as well as apply or donate to CSEF by visiting their website, https://www.collegeskateboarding.com.

How To Apply for a Scholarship

Are you a student skateboarder who could benefit from a scholarship? As CSEF writes on their website: “If you have decent grades, a true financial need, some extracurricular activities, and a real passion for skateboarding, you’re the person we’re looking for. What are you waiting for? Tell us about yourself, and you may get hooked up with one of our scholarship checks!”
For more information on How To Apply, CSEF invites you to their website.
While CSEF’s most recent round of scholarship applications have closed, you can subscribe to the CSEF newsletter and follow their Instagram for updates on when the first 2022 applications are open.
Have any questions? Contact CSEF today through info@collegeskateboarding.com
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Red Bull CSEF 4

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How To Donate

It might sound simple but the more donations CSEF receives the more assistance student skateboarders receive. This is precisely why CSEF has several ways you can donate no matter your financial ability.
CSEF begins by offering you a choice for your donation frequency, from one time to annually, and from monthly to quarterly. Next, donors choose a donation level from $25 – $1000, or a specific amount you wish to enter. Just click and enter your information and a student skateboarder is well on their way to receiving your support.
The Collegiate Skateboarding Educational Foundation is a reminder to skateboarders we can challenge any norms we desire – even the ones set by our own community. Because as skateboarders, we’re equipped to accomplish anything we set our minds to.
For those skateboarders who’ve often felt alone in their pursuit of higher education, now find themselves as members of a growing community. A community that began with one simple yet profound mission statement:
“Everyone deserves a chance at pursuing a college education; skateboarders are no exception.”
What began as helping one skateboarder at a time, has now grown into a full fledged community and a genuine force in skateboarding for support of student skateboarders. On behalf of Red Bull, we thank you CSEF for the work you’re doing in the skateboarding community.