Cincinnati Community ToolBank continues to facilitate nonprofit volunteerism

In the 26 months Cincinnati Community ToolBank has been open, the nonprofit has been able to save its member agencies more than $800,000 dollars by lending tools so they don’t have to be purchased, says Kat Pepmeyer, executive director.
“These tools have equipped over 48,000 volunteers on projects that span 10 counties in three states,” Pepmeyer says.
To continue its impact and further its reach in the community, Cincinnati Community ToolBank hopes to implement Tools To You. The program would extend the Tool Lending Program, already in place, so member organizations could not only borrow tools for pennies on the dollar, but also receive them via delivery and have the option to purchase small necessity items like paint covers, for example, at a more affordable rate.
According to Pepmeyer, the idea for Tools To You stems directly from frequently asked questions by member agencies.
To illustrate, one of the organization’s frequent visitors would repeatedly show up to the ToolBank in a new car each week, Pepmeyer says.
“So finally I ask her, ‘Did you get a new car?’ And she’s like, ‘No, but if I want to get the wheelbarrows I have to ask my neighbor or brother to use their car so I can pick them up,” Pepmeyer says.
The unfortunate part is that if she can’t get the car, she can’t get the wheelbarrows, making the workload harder on volunteers who are already giving so generously of their time.
“When you’re talking about a community cleanup project like this one where you have volunteers taking garbage bags full of broken glass, picking up needles and things we probably shouldn’t talk about here, it’s frankly unsafe,” Pepmeyer says.
“Our members have already told us they’d be able to do more if we provided this service to them, and our market research indicates there are at least 1,300 nonprofits who aren’t members. There’s so much more room for us to grow—this is just going to increase our members—which will increase the number of tools, hours and projects that are able to be created.”

Do Good: 

•    If you're a nonprofit, become a member so your organization can begin borrowing tools. Membership is free.

•    Support the Cincinnati Community ToolBank by donating funds or tools.

•    Volunteer with the ToolBank.

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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