Volunteers Get Their Due…

Here at the ToolBank, it’s impossible to truly place a numeric value on the time our volunteer’s give to support warehouse operations, special events and even good ‘ole data entry! They fill our days with smiles and we quite simply could not make it all happen without them! However, it was encouraging to see the “officially sanctioned” hourly value for volunteer service has been bumped up a bit. Check out the release below from our pals at Independent Sector.

About time!  Independent Sector announces that the 2014 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour is $23.07—a 52-cent increase from 2013, up 2.3 percent from the previous year.

The value of volunteer time provides one way to measure the impact millions of individuals make with each hour they dedicate to making a difference. The release of this important figure comes during National Volunteer Week, a program of Independent Sector member Points of Light held April 12-18, 2015.

“For more than 40 years, National Volunteer Week has recognized the value of volunteers to nonprofits, to the people they serve, to society, and to life on this planet,” said Independent Sector President and CEO Diana Aviv. “Though we could never truly put a price tag on what volunteers mean to their communities, we are proud to offer this figure to attempt to frame the immense value of the time and effort they give.”

IS also has updated the state-level breakdown for the value of volunteer time in 2013, ranging from a low of $19.31 in Arkansas up to $39.86 per hour in the District of Columbia. New for this year is an interactive map and table showing data for each state, where the value of a volunteer hour is highest and lowest, and how much the figure has risen or fallen since the previous year. Also new is the complete dataset for the value of volunteer time for all 50 states and D.C. from 2001-2014.

See the full map and table of national and state-level volunteer time values

The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data show nonprofits employ approximately 11.4 million workers—about 10.3 percent of the American private sector employment—and account for about 5.4 percent of GDP. According to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.6 million Americans, or 25.4 percent of the adult population, contributed 7.7 billion hours of service in 2013. Religious organizations were cited as the type of organization that volunteers worked in the most (33.9%), followed by educational or youth service (26.2%) and social or community service organizations (14.8%).

US map displaying value of volunteer time data



CJ10YearThe rumors are true –  ToolBank’s very own CJ Clark is celebrating 10 years of tool lending! That’s right folks – CJ made her big warehouse debut March 28, 2005 and has been true-blue ever since. Follow our online celebration throughout the year with #CelebrateCJ. Look out for fun facts about her service, unique contests and special surprises galore!  You can even kick off the fun with a special shout out on her message board.

CLICK NOW to leave your congrats on her big milestone!
So, just what has THE CJ been up to over the last decade?
Well, for starters… 
–Did you know she has loaded and unloaded over 1,400 wheelbarrows!?
–Led over 2,500 volunteers in service at our warehouse?

Learn more as we give props throughout 2015!

Heart Some Parks March 23rd…

Hot off the press! Get your green fun on with super ToolBank users Park Pride!


ParkPrideLogoPark Pride, an Atlanta-based nonprofit working with communities to improve parks and greenspace in their neighborhoods, is hosting the 14th Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Monday, March 23. The event, expected to draw 450 attendees, will explore the relationship between successful parks and the communities that sustain them under the theme, “Parks & People: A Declaration of Interdependence.”

The conference’s broad theme is a widely accessible topic appropriate for audiences from a wide range of backgrounds. Peter Harnik, the Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, is a featured keynote speaker. Other keynotes include: Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces; Alexie Torres-Fleming, Bronx River Alliance, Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, Access Strategies Fund; and Thomas Woltz, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects.

In addition to the four keynote presentations, 10 breakout sessions are dedicated to the exploration of the relationship between communities and parks. Speakers include Kevin Green of Midtown Alliance, A.J. Robinson of Central Atlanta Progress, and Denise Starling from Livable Buckhead, who will discuss why their organizations invest so heavily in parks and the community benefits that have resulted from those investments. Executive Directors from Piedmont Park Conservancy, Chastain Park Conservancy and Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy will walk attendees through a comprehensive discussion of the evolution of a conservancy, offering unique perspectives on conservancy operation. Each session will feature distinguished park, business and academic thought leaders; the complete program is available on Park Pride’s website.


Atlanta’s Gordon White Park receiving some blue tool TLC thanks to Park Pride and a few well-known local volunteers!

Park Pride will also recognize eight Inspiration Award winners at the conference. These awards honor local leaders who inspire others to expand and improve public parks and greenspaces and work to raise awareness about critical, relevant issues. “Great parks are built by strong communities,” says Park Pride’s Executive Director, Michael Halicki, “and strong communities benefit from the leadership of great park champions who amplify the enthusiasm and motivation necessary to make change possible. Those champions will be recognized with this year’s Inspiration Awards.”

Registration for the conference is open. In conjunction with the conference, Park Pride is hosting two behind-the-scenes tours, themed “Public Spaces & Forbidden Places,” that include restricted greenspaces that have potential to become city parks, as well as parks currently being utilized by communities in unique ways.

Sponsor support for The Parks and Greenspace Conference has been enthusiastic, illustrating the commitment to greenspace from within Atlanta’s business community. Presenting Sponsor: Cox Conserves/Cox Enterprises. Venue Sponsor: Atlanta Botanical Garden. Community Building Sponsor: Kaiser Permanente. Gold Sponsors: American Rivers, The Conservation Fund, Ed Castro Landscape, HR&A Advisors, Springer Mountain Farms, The Trust for Public Land. Silver Sponsors: Astra Group, Brock Built, Dominica/GameTime, Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, HGOR, Jacobs Engineering Group, Jones Day, Manheim/ AutoTrader.com, Morgens West Foundation, Nelson Byrd Woltz, PNC Bank, Pond & Company, Stantec, Southern Playgrounds, USA Management. Supporting Sponsors: Andrew Lovell and Mark Wentz, Arborguard, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, BigBelly,

CAP/ADID, City of Decatur, The Coca-Cola Company, Elite Landscape Services, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Power, Invest Atlanta, Jamestown, KAIZEN Collaborative, Livable Buckhead, Olmsted Linear Park Alliance, One Ring Networks, Perez Planning + Design, Silverman Construction Program Management, Smith Dalia Architects, Whole Foods Market. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact Jane Zoellick (jane@parkpride.org) for information.

About Park Pride:
Founded in 1989, Park Pride is the only organization that works with communities all over Atlanta and DeKalb to improve their parks. The nonprofit engages communities through volunteer projects, community gardens, community-led park redesigns and by receiving grants for their parks. Park Pride is active in greenspace advocacy and educating both civic leaders and the general public about the benefits of parks, and annually hosts the Parks and Greenspace Conference. Learn more about Park Pride at www.parkpride.org.

State of The Nonprofits…

NonprofitFinanceFundCalling all nonprofit leaders – Nonprofit Finance Fund (nff.org) is conducting its seventh annual nationwide survey examining the state of the nonprofit sector, needs YOUR contribution to this collective effort. The survey, which is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to fill out, collects data on challenges and trends among nonprofits. Please take the survey and share it with other nonprofits in your network.


#MLKToolsForChange – Join The Movement…

AMLKToolsForChangeWebsiteThe New Year has been fairly frenetic around the warehouse, catching up on loose ends from 2014, implementing new strategy for for 2015 and of course, preparing to load out thousands of tools for the upcoming MLK holiday. It can get so busy, it’s easy to forget why we’re even doing all this work. Luckily, The Saporta Report published this lovely editorial by United Way President and CEO, Milton Little.

It really made me stop for a moment to reflect on why I love ToolBanking so much and why the nonprofit sector still matters – will always matter. From staff to volunteers to direct beneficiaries who continue to give back in their own ways, everyone is still working toward their own personal dream. It might be as simple as better trees for the neighborhood or as large as a new community center to serve hundreds of residents. And, this January your ToolBank wants to shout it all out, loud and proud!

Post your project site photos, (smiling faces and blue tools in hand), with #MLKToolsForChange. We’ll share them all over the online world and our service committee will pick the top 4 for a fun online contest. You could win $50 in tool use credits for your charity of choice. 

Every dream is worth sharing. Especially, when we can all see it come true. Enjoy Mr. Little’s article below and happy volunteering!

What Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Teach Us About Serving Others
*reposted via The Saporta Report.
Written by: Martin Little, Jr. – President and CEO, United Way of Greater Atlanta

MLK_MILTON_BLOG-300x225As people across Greater Atlanta – and the world – prepare to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King with a day of service, I am reminded of one of his most famous quotes:  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’”

As I was pondering the question recently, and thinking about Dr. King’s many accomplishments, I came up with five takeaways from his life that can help us all live a life of service and create change for a stronger community.

1. He nurtured his gift: One reason Dr. King was so successful was because he was a great communicator. But he didn’t just wake up one day delivering riveting speeches, with all the inflections on all the right words. It’s a skill he had been nurturing since he was a child. Whatever your natural gifts and talents may be, continue to cultivate them and find ways to use them to help others.

2. He was courageous: Webster defines courage as:mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. It’s what gave Dr. King the ability to fight for causes he believed in, knowing it could cost him his life. Creating change never comes easy, so to become a true change agent, you must have courage to see it through.

MLK2014TrulyLivingWell123. He gave selflessly: Dr. King paid the ultimate price in his service to others, but it was just his final act in a life of selflessness and sacrifice to ensure equality for all. He gave his time, traveling around the world, often leaving his wife and young children at home. He gave his talents – the gift of communication and leadership – and he gave his treasure, even donating his Nobel Prize Award money to the Civil Rights movement. You must be willing to serve others without receiving anything in return.

4. He collaborated with others: Dr. King was part of the Civil Rights Movement – a collaboration with many other people and organizations. Together, they were able to accomplish what no individual or group would have been able to do alone. There is truly power in numbers.

5. He had faith: I’m not talking about faith in the religious or spiritual sense, but I mean a sincere, unshakable belief that what he was doing would work. That faith was on full display during his last speech when he said:  “…I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know…we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” Believe that the change you are fighting and working tirelessly for will come…and it will. How has Dr. King inspired you? What lessons from his life do you want to share with others? Let me know in the comment section below.

Dream Big Nonprofiteers…

ToolBankin’ is all about making big dreams come true, and sustaining the progress for generations to come. Thus, we’re always happy to see other nonprofits leading the charge to keep our service sector moving forward. Check out TechBridge’s Innovation Award – it just might push your favorite nonprofit over that technology hill!

TechBridge Invites Georgia Nonprofits to Share Their Technology Dreams

TechBridgeTechBridge is now accepting applications for the 2015 Technology Innovation Award, given by Accenture. The Award will be granted to a deserving Georgia nonprofit with an innovative concept for using technology to better serve the community.  If you (or a nonprofit with which you work) have a compelling vision for a technology project that your organization would like to implement, we want to hear from you.  The winner will work with TechBridge to put their technology plan into action!  The winner receives up to $30,000 in TechBridge consulting services and cash and thousands of dollars in donated software; two finalists each receive a TechBridge technology assessment and a $1,000 cash grant.  Both the winner and finalists will be recognized at TechBridge’s Digital Ball on May 9, 2015 when the award is presented and in promotional materials. Click here to apply.  All applications are due by February 2, 2015 at 5:00pm EST.




Got Lanterns? Get Yours Now!

Can you guess where almost the entire fleet of ToolBank tables and chairs have been? Why, helping local folks make awesome lanterns of course! Yep. The Lantern Parade is almost here!  We’re so happy to help light the way for this annual festive event. Check out the full scoop below from the Atlanta BeltLine on how you can participate.

LanternParadeCrowdEvery year, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine has celebrated it’s own stellar exhibition with a captivating and energetic Lantern Parade. This event has grown to attract such large crowds that it now officially opens the temporary art exhibition each year on the first Saturday after Labor Day. The glowing procession of light, music, and color carry over the entire length of the Eastside Trail as the parade winds from Irwin Street near Krog Street up to Piedmont Park. Art on the Atlanta BeltLine and the Lantern Parade are free and open to the public. Your participation is the magic of the Lantern Parade. Hold up a light for the Atlanta BeltLine! Check out the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade gallery!

2014 Lantern Parade

Back for the fifth year in a row, the 2014 Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade will take place on September 6.

  • 7:30 p.m.: Parade line-up is in the Atlanta BeltLine corridor between Irwin Street and DeKalb Avenue with a tailgate party in the parking lot at Krog & Irwin. Irwin Street will be closed between Auburn & Krog.
  • 8:30 p.m.: Parade steps off with The Seed & Feed Marching Abominables leading the way.
  • 8:45 p.m.: The Black Sheep Ensemble step off.
  • 9:00 p.m.: Mausuki Scales & the Common Ground Collective steps off.
  • 9:30 p.m.: Wasted Potential Brass Band brings it on home.

The parade route goes to Piedmont Park (2 miles) where everyone is invited to relax in the grassy lawn outside Park Tavern. For more details on how to get there and back, what to wear, what to expect, and more, please see the event on facebook (you can RSVP there, too!).

LanternParadeHelp Light the Way!

The Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade is fast approaching, and it promises to be bigger and better than ever!

Plus, it’s easier than ever to carry a light in the Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade. With this lantern kit, you get a 14″ paper lantern printed with the Atlanta BeltLine mosaic, a light, and batteries.

Purchase your lantern kit today, and get ready to shine on September 6th. Supplies are limited, so act fast and don’t be left in the dark!

Ready to help even more local service organizations make dreams come true?
CLICK TO DONATE. Your gift will help us loan the blue tools our fellow nonprofits needs to build better parks, create cleaner streets and beautify our metro. Time to #BlueItUp ATL!

Ready to Lead?

American Express Leadership Academy to be held right here in the ATL!

PointsfLightLogoIn conjunction with the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service in Atlanta, GA, Points of Light is pleased to offer the American Express Leadership Academy, which is developed and delivered by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). This program offers 24 emerging leaders an opportunity to participate in a marquis leadership development training program that includes a feedback-intensive learning environment and hands-on activities to enhance the leadership capacity of all the attendees.


1. Applicants must currently be in the volunteering and service sector and have an interest in advancing into positions with greater leadership responsibility during their career. Specifically, applicants must be managers expecting to assume executive-level roles within five to ten years.

2. Applicants must be willing to commit to the one-year initiative and have the support of their organization to participate.

3. Applicants must be complete all required pre-academy work; attend the entire academy and implement lessons learned during the academy at their organizations; and participate in all follow-up activities.

4. Applicants must be a citizen, a permanent resident of the U.S. or its territories, or a non-citizen who speaks English fluently.

5. Applicants must pay for travel-related costs. Travel related costs include the following items: meals, lodging, air travel, and ground transportation. Funds granted by American Express will cover costs to attend the Leadership Academy, a welcome dinner the night before the program starts, breakfast and lunch on day one, and breakfast on day two.


Applicants will be evaluated using the following criteria:

· Individual demonstrates a high potential for assuming leadership roles

· Demonstrates commitment to a career in the nonprofit sector

· Geography, ethnicity, gender and professional background are all factors that will be      weighted evenly during the review process

It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a complete and signed application and all the supporting documentation in one package. Incomplete applications or applications not in proper format will not be accepted. The decision of the selection committee is final and not subject to a review process.

Deadline: A complete application and supporting documentation must be sent to AmericanExpress@pointsoflight.org and received on or before Friday April 4, 2014. Applications received after the designated deadline will not be considered. No exceptions. Please submit any questions to Stephanie Armelin at sarmelin@pointsoflight.org.

Award Date:

Acceptance and declination notices will be distributed via email on Friday, April 11, 2014.


  • Copy of your resum
  • Letter of recommendation from a direct supervisor
  • 750-1000 word essay with the following questions answered in a comprehensive manner with complete sentences and in paragraph format:

o How would attending the American Express Leadership Academy benefit you/your organization?

o What are your organization’s current leadership challenges?

o Describe the nature of the work you manage and the challenges you have experienced as a leader.

American Express Leadership Academy Schedule:

Location: Atlanta, GA DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Downtown located at 160 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30303

American Express Leadership Academy Welcome Dinner

Wednesday, June 18, 2014  ~5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Training Schedule:

Day One – Thursday, June 19, 2014

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Breakfast & Lunch meals provided)

Day Two – Friday, June 20, 2014

7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Breakfast meal provided)