Posted on August 14, 2012
Chief Executive Officer
656 Bonaventure Ave NE
NPO Spotlight - ToolBank USA
To strengthen local communities by collaboratively establishing ToolBanks and providing infrastructure support for those ToolBanks to lend tools for use by charities to advance their missions, increase impact, and reduce costs.
About the Organization:
The flagship community ToolBank was established in Atlanta in 1991 to lend high-quality tools at nominal cost to local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and schools for volunteer projects. ToolBank USA was founded in 2008 as a national nonprofit organization to replicate and advance ToolBanks across the country by providing the business model, training, infrastructure, and systems support to affiliates in local communities. The organization leverages resources and facilitates a significant portion of the "back room" administration for its affiliates and collects and shares best practices.
Charitable organizations, including faith-based organizations and school-based groups, can borrow unlimited tools for up to eight weeks, for a fee equal to 3 percent of the total retail value of the tools per week. A mature ToolBank inventory contains about a hundred and fifty types of tools, ranging from rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows to ladders, cordless drills, circular saws, and paint trays. ToolBank tools are not available for use by individuals.
For communities that are interested in building a ToolBank and are determined to be a good "fit," ToolBank USA offers startup funds, logistics expertise, tool-tracking software, Web site hosting, donated tools, and other resources. New ToolBanks are expected to open in Houston, Phoenix, and Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2013.
The ToolBank USA Web site provides links to the sites of affiliate ToolBanks in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Cincinnati, where charities can register and/or log in to lease tools. Visitors to the affiliates' sites also can learn about each local ToolBank's leadership, volunteer opportunities, and how to donate tools or cash. The ToolBank USA site also offers FAQs about how a ToolBank works, how ToolBank USA decides where to build affiliates, and what resources it provides during the start-up process for establishing a local ToolBank.
Support for ToolBank USA is provided by the Home Depot Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, UPS, and other foundations, corporations, and individuals. Each affiliate ToolBank is supported by its own set of corporate sponsors, nonprofit partners, and foundations — including the Abell Foundation and the Sutphin Family Foundation — which provide volunteers, in-kind resources, and funding.