Heart for Fire Prevention…

Red Cross Tool Load OutWith a goal to install 6,500 new fire alarms across Georgia by July 1, 2016, the Atlanta Red Cross knew exactly who to call – your favorite, friendly tool lenders!

The Home Fire Prevention Campaign is a nation-wide Red Cross effort to educate communities about fire safety, install smoke detectors, and practice fire drills. And, thanks to a partnership with our national headquarters, ToolBank USA, every ToolBank affiliate across the country is collaborating to ensure their local Red Cross can equip volunteers with ample safety gear and the tools needed to get the jobs done right.

This Valentine’s weekend, your Atlanta Community ToolBank kicked off the fun with a big tool load-out of drills and ladders to help install almost 300 new fire alarms in homes across Decatur’s Battle Forest neighborhood.

In 2015 alone, The Red Cross responded to 1,643 home fires across metro Atlanta, resulting in 1,128 residents needing immediate relocation and support services. With 420 of those fires occurring in Dekalb County, volunteers were eager to install new smoke detectors and provide replacement batteries, in addition to great safety plan tips.

The ambitious prevention campaign aims to reduce home fires by 25% and safety events are scheduled through the Fall. Volunteers are still needed to help install fire alarms, complete fire safety checklists and help families develop evacuation plans.

So, come on! Put some ATL ToolBank tools to great use as a Red Cross volunteer.  Sign up for an event date listed below by contacting  shana.lightfoot@redcross.org.

Home Fire Prevention Volunteer Dates

  • February 13, 2016 – DeKalb – COMPLETED with ToolBank tools in hand!
  • February 27, 2016 – DeKalb
  • March 5, 2016 – Cherokee
  • March 12, 2016 – Rockdale
  • March 19, 2016 – Gwinnett
  • March 19, 2016 – Fulton

Help even more volunteers support the causes you care about!
Click to DONATE NOW. 

All About Our Vets…

VEO Award

ATL ToolBank accepting a service award from long-term ToolBank member agency VEO!

As the original ToolBank, your local Atlanta Community ToolBank is proud to have essentially birthed its own parent nonprofit, ToolBank USA.  With a mission to replicate the tool lending model in the top 150 urban American hubs – ToolBank USA is planting a national powerhouse dedicated to wiping tool scarcity off the map!

This collective impact is transforming the way communities leverage volunteer labor and fostering a collaborative blueprint for sustainable self-efficiency. And, that impact touches every cause you care about. Check out how our network is actively working to serve those who gave all – our military veterans…

SPECIAL REPORT COURTESY OF TOOLBANK USA 

ToolBanks loaned out nearly a half million dollars’ worth of blue tools to organizations that engage veterans in a meaningful way. They include Veteran’s Empowerment Organization (VEO) in Atlanta,  The Mission Continues in Atlanta and Houston, The 6th Branch in Baltimore, Lone Star Veterans Organization in Houston, Team Rubicon with ToolBank Disaster Services, Purple Heart Homes in Charlotte, and Team Depot, which is active in nearly every ToolBank city.

IMG_0460

Dobbins Air Force Base puttin’ the blue tools to great use, revitalizing a historic cemetery.

Some of the agencies look to returning veterans as their source of volunteers, while others regard veterans as their clients. For most, it’s a mixture of both, assisting veterans in need and leveraging volunteerism as a healthful way for service men and women to transition back to civilian life. Ramps, home repairs, home retrofitting, and weatherization are among the most popular projects fueled by ToolBank tools in support of veterans. Tools are de rigueur to conduct these projects, and ToolBanks from coast to coast are proud to aid these organizations in their inspiring call of duty.

Want to keep even more volunteers working hard for us all? Click to Donate NOW!

Blue-Tooled 25…

Decatur Preservation Alliance 2016 MLK DayYour Atlanta Community ToolBank is officially saluting 25 YEARS of fabulous blue tool lending! And, we’re celebrating by making the first 25 of this New Year shine with service. Cheers to the dedicated volunteers making it happen across our state!

First 25 Of 2016:
175 Service Projects Completed
4,062 blue-tooled volunteers
16,428 hours of service given
Over $73,000 worth of ToolBank tools put to great use

Blue Tool Powered:
22 park and greenspace improvements
75 home and facility repairs 
1 historic cemetery gravestone installation (Clay Cemetery in Kirkwood – go check them out!)

Touching every cause you care about. It’s what your ATL ToolBank is all about!

Many thanks to the wonderful service partners putting the blue tools to great work this month:

Action Not Words Project Incorporated, The Lithonia City Farmers Market Construction, After School All Stars, Atlanta City Council: District 12, Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Captain Planet Foundation, Central Atlanta Progress, Change to Humanity, CHRIS Kids, Concrete Jungle, Covenant House Georgia, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, Georgia Conservancy, Good Shepherd Community Church, Grant Park Conservancy, HouseProud Atlanta, Kirkwood Neighbors Organization, Lifecycle Building Center, Panola Mt. State Park, Park Pride, Raising Expectations Inc., Trees Atlanta, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, West Atlanta Watershed, Youth Villages at Inner Harbour

Ready to keep even more service teams equipped for action?
Simply CLICK to DONATE NOW!

 

 

Tools Can Build…

A really big bridge!

We love to brag on the blue tools and all the great things our member agencies and their incredibly dedicated volunteers can do. For this posting, let’s hear it straight from the park’s mouth! Check out the fun as our pals from Park Pride review thier incredible adventure at Jennie Drake Park. **Recap totally stolen from http://www.facebook.com/parkpride.

Blue Can Build…

Value of tool borrowed: $19,479
Cost to charitable agency: $705.46 Yep, all this for only $705.46!
Tools utilized: power drills and saws, shovels and spades, weed wrenched and McLeod tools, wheelbarrows, measuring tapes, hammers, sledgehammers, tarps, trashgrabbers, generators, work gloves, socket sets, folding tables and more…

Amazing Feats Accomplished: 

On Thursday, October 29th, 150 volunteers from Bennett Thrasher descended on Jennie Drake Park in the northwest Atlanta neighborhood of Collier Heights.

Jennie Drake Park was an undeveloped park (aside from the beautiful park entrance that was dedicated in May of this year, and the City of Atlanta park sign). There were a number of branch lined paths that meandered through the wooded greenspace, and neighborhood children liked to jump back and forth between the banks of the small creek that runs through the center.

On this Bennett Thrasher workday, however, the park was transformed! Volunteers installed 2 bridges to cross the creek, 2 benches built and installed, cleared land and installed plantings and created a new cobblestone park entrance, build a stone switchback path leading into the park, created about 750 of trail through the park (about 1/2 a raised gravel trail and the other half a mulch trail), and planted almost 400 native plants … WHEW!

It was quite a day and so much was accomplished! We’re proud to have been part of such a great partnership.

Thank you Friends of Jennie Drake Park for your passion for this space and for inviting us out for a transformative day.

Thank you Bennett Thrasher for your enthusiasm for hard-work, community and parks!

And thank you Councilmember Felicia Moore for the role you played in bringing this park to fruition and joining us as we turn the dream into reality!

We look forward to our next workday with you both.

We all invite you out to Jennie Drake Park to enjoy this amazing greenspace!

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Blue Tooled Gwinnett…

Your friendly tool lenders love supporting the annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service weekend. 2015 marked our 5th year staffing a 7-day temporary lending location in Lawrenceville, GA. Thanks to our sponsors Nordson Corporation Foundation and Maltbie Street Associates, truckloads of blue tools trucked up the highway to serve a diverse range of projects including: installation of birdhouses and specialty bat caves, school campus landscaping, community garden fencing, city cleanups, nonprofit pressure washing and more!

Impact At A Glance
18 projects sites tooled up.
672 volunteers equipped with ATL ToolBank tools.
90 service projects completed. Done. Finito!
Way too many smiles to count.

Katie Morris of The Gwinnett Daily Post enjoyed the weekend at Duluth’s Glancy Rehab Center – check out her recap below, along with great pics of the entire weekend! And, don’ t forget to CLICK NOW and keep even more volunteers working hard for us all.

Blue Tooled Gwinnett

DULUTH — With clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine, volunteer Patricia Parker said Friday morning was a lovely day to work in the garden.

Gwinnett Great Days“This was perfect weather,” Parker said. “It’s almost identical to last year.”

Parker was part of a group of volunteers from WEG Electric Corp., along with a few community volunteers, who got out their gardening gloves and went to work sprucing up the Glancy Rehabilitation Center gardens.

The project is one of hundreds taking place across the county Friday and Saturday during the 16th annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service. Organized by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, the two-day volunteer event benefits local nonprofit agencies that provide goods and services to community members struggling financially or emotionally.

This is the second year WEG Electric volunteers have donated their time to Glancy, a nonprofit rehabilitation center specializing in helping people with neurological and orthopedic impairments in Duluth. With the help of $150 in supplies donated by Buck Jones Nursery, volunteers pruned rose bushes, pulled up spring flowers and planted fall flowers, weeded gardening boxes and more.

Parker said it was great to return and see their work from last year, including a stone wall they built in the Glancy garden, as well as the familiar faces of the center’s staff. Mary Anne Lomma was also happy to return this year.

“The staff is just so welcoming and kind and seem excited to have volunteers,” Lomma said.

According to Kelly Dunham, Glancy Center’s Community Relations Coordinator, the nonprofit depends on the help, and the gardens play an important role in the patient’s rehabilitation. In addition to providing a therapeutic atmosphere, the gardens help patients re-learn gardening skills that they can carry with them when they leave, Dunham said.

Parker has become attached to the project over the past two years and plans to return to the facility in the spring with some of her co-workers to help with planting and maintenance.

“You feel like it becomes yours and you want to come back and help maintain what you started,” Parker said.

Gwinnett Great Days of Service 2015Gwinnett Great Days of Service 2015 4Gwinnett Great Daysof Service 2015 2

Ready to keep the blue tools serving across GA? DONATE NOW.

Real Tools Bringin’ Real Progress…

RiverwalkAtlanta

Better Together…

Great Friday of service as Youth Villages Americorps, Friends of Riverside Park and Park Pride put the blue tool magic to work transforming a former incinerator site on Atlanta’s West Side into a 100-acre park. OK, the vision was not completed in one work day. BUT… the plan is in motion and great progress abounds. Volunteers removed invasive overgrowth and construced new trails – all in preparation for the future Riverwalk Atlanta. This amazing park space is located close to the Chattahoochee River and will offer local residents and vistors alike ample opportunity to get active, enjoy nature or maybe even relax with a real book or two! Stay tuned for exciting updates.

Park Pride Atlanta, GAFriends in Service…

We love supporting local parks and working with the Park Pride team. And, special thanks to our photo “model” John, for always keeping the blue tools so organized! Nonprofits like Park Pride and all of their affiliated Friends of Parks teams are THE reason we can stay active, enjoy nature and gasp – maybe even crack open a real book under a balmy sky. This year alone, more than 1,000 volunteers have already put almost $50,000 worth of ‪#‎ATLToolBank‬ tools to work under the direction of dedicated coordinators like John. So, go enjoy those safe and pretty parks. And, when you get a chance, support a nonprofit fundraiser, high-five a volunteer and be sure to hug up on a nonprofit staffer. We can all make an impact, in our own unique way!

Ready to keep even more volunteers working hard for us all?
CLICK and Donate a buck to your Atlanta Community ToolBank today!

Save The Ducks… One ToolBank Booted Foot At A Time!

Zonolite4No one wants to swim in the muckety-muck. And now, thanks to some seriously adventurous volunteers, local ducks can wade free and clear. It was all hands on tools at Zonolite Park in Druid Hills this weekend, as Park Pride, South Fork Conservancy and Community Bucket joined forces to tackle the great cattails invasion.

Clearly, fun was the order of the day. But, the hard work addressed a serious issue, as the spikey and often pesky cattail is competitively superior under stable water conditions. A hostile takeover pro, this crazy plant blocks wildlife and reduces plant bio-diversity – and that’s just not good.

Kudos to all the brave souls who leapt in to save the pond, and kept on smiling even when a little water made it through those ToolBank rubber boots!

ToolBank Tools At Work: 10 Loppers, 30 Rubber Boots, 30 Rubber Gloves

 Ready to keep even more volunteers tooled up to serve? Click and DONATE NOW!
*Photos stolen — err, borrowed from Park Pride

Sound the Alarm…

Photo: Grace Lee Photography

Photo: Grace Lee Photography

It’s another volunteer victory in the big city ya’ll!  A whooping 625 Atlanta volunteers hit the streets this simmering June 11th-14th weekend, donating 2,500 hours of service to pretty much every cause you can imagine. And the one thing they all have in common? Blue tools. Lots of blue tools. $26,450 worth of blue tools, to be exact. And just what did all those ToolBank tools do? Check it out:

  • Weeding and Mulching in the Old 4th Ward along the Atlanta BeltLine
  • Facility repair and fresh paint for Heart to Nourish Hope’s DORM program, a transitional housing service for adult males
  • Neighborhood clean-up with the Camelot Condo Association
  • Awesome art exhibit with Dashboard Co-op
  • Community fair with E.L. Connally Elementary
  • Greenspace improvement at Lindsay St. Park with Greening Youth Foundation
  • Fundraising race for Midtown Assistance Center
  • Repair work for Risla Institutes’s farm building
  • Plantings with Trees Atlanta
  • Landscaping for Historic Oakland Cemetery
  • Painting across Gould Street with SEED
  • Neighbor helping neighbor home improvements with Cabbagetown Initiative Community Development Corp
  • Atlanta Bicycle Coaltion raising funds for the Atlanta BeltLine via the Tour de BeltLine
  • Community Bucket all-stars improving the Atlanta Community ToolBank warehouse

AND THE BEST PART?
Total tool use cost to the charitable sector for all this fun – Only $795.00. 

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Special thanks to Grace Lee Photography for the awesome pics of Community Bucket in action.

Ready to keep even more volunteers working hard for us all? Click and Donate Now – every dollar given puts even more blue tools in volunteer hands. 

Game On! #WithMyToolBank

So, how do you build an entire playground in just one day? Laurel Ridge Elementary knows just how to get it done!

1) Align with top-notch, community lovin’ sponsors.

2) Organize 600+ awesome volunteers.

3) Purchase $17,713 worth of tools… Oh, wait… spend $3,500 to rent enough tools.
OH, WAIT… Stop the sledgehammer – there’s a ToolBank in town! OK, Whew; borrow all the tools you need for just $531.67, and keep them for up to 7 days. That was a close one, folks. 

4) Have a great day building camaraderie and one heck of an amazing play space.

Congrats to the children, volunteers and staff of Laurel Ridge Elementary. Dreams do come true!

LaurelRidgePlaygroundSponsorsLaurelRidgePlayground

LaurelRidgePlayground2

Ready to keep kids playing hard for a brighter future? Click to DONATE NOW!

Why Play?

We’ve all heard it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a ToolBank to build that village and keep it safe, sustainable and strong. When it comes to keeping kids on the move, your Atlanta Community ToolBank is dedicated to supporting local efforts to keep our youth engaged in serious fun. Check out why it benefits us all: 

Developing Leadership and complex problem solving: It all starts on a playground. Right now, future leaders are learning to delegate monkey bar rotation, developing slide rules and even negotiating terms for swing use. Lifting a friend after a fall, sharing gummy bears from a lunch sack, working past a spat – all good stuff!

Enhancing concentration and focus: We all want future drivers in our community to stay on point, right? Those cherubic faces on the playground will be sweet sixteen in a blink. Today, they are learning to stay on task thanks to organized play and games. Learning to follow, and when to break, those basic rules of play that will ultimately govern society for a lifetime.

Building imagination and creative spark: Let’s face it. Most dreams started at recess. It’s where you don that first super-hero cape, the first time you really believe you can fly, that initial inkling of what you just might want to become. Not to mention, all the mud pies you can make.

Maintaining overall health: Stronger immune systems, higher vitamin D absorption, lower obesity rates and all the associated chronic health issues – play is preventative medicine at its best.

Transformative Collaboration…

When most of us talk about “tools for transformation” these days, we’re usually referring to software as a service or specific types of business or operational strategies. At the Atlanta Community ToolBank, we certainly use digital and conceptual “tools” to help us serve our clients. But our client touch point is physical tools. We are America’s largest tool-lending organization. We maintain an inventory of physical tools that we lend to other nonprofits to enable community-based service projects.

IBM Corporate Citizenship Managers Christian Schoen (center) and LaTjuan Dogan (right) receive Atlanta ToolBank’s Corporate Partner of the Year from Board Chairman Brad Sand

IBM Corporate Citizenship Managers Christian Schoen (center) and LaTjuan Dogan (right) receive Atlanta ToolBank’s Corporate Partner of the Year from Board Chairman Brad Sand

We began our partnership with IBM during their Centennial Celebration of Service in 2011. Since that time, IBM experts have helped us develop strategies for efficiency, growth and collaboration with other nonprofits so that we can continue to provide our essential service. IBM and the Atlanta ToolBank eventually entered into a partnership that involves an annual consulting grant to help us refine operations and expand our impact across Atlanta. This critical strategic “tool” has been made possible by an IBM Impact Grant.

The IBM Impact Grant, and skills-based volunteer service of IBM experts, has helped us with numerous key initiatives. Among them:

  • Development of a Technology Roadmap to help us identify short- and long-term strategies for the use of technology in serving our clients
  • Delivery of a three-year Strategic Plan for capacity growth
  • Creation of a digital marketing template for replication across our nationwide
    affiliate network

ToolBank relies on pro bono support for a wide range of services, and a standout feature of our partnership with IBM has been the attentiveness of their staff’s contributions to our efforts. IBMers always treat our staff as clients, not “beneficiaries.” And IBM consultants listen, collaborate, dig deep and deliver. To put it simply, when IBM says they will get something done, it gets done!

Atlanta ToolBank recently gave IBM our 2014 Corporate Partner of the Year Award in recognition of their tremendous and ongoing support of our organization and its mission. Since then, our lead IBM consultant addressed the 2015 National Tool Bank Summit on the importance of measuring qualitative as well as quantitative outcomes of service. With all nonprofits caught in the squeeze between increasing demands and diminishing resources, our relationship with IBM has been essential in helping us sustain an organization that enables so many others to serve.

Patty Russart is Executive Director of the Atlanta ToolBank. IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Managers Tjuan Dogan and Christian Schoen manage the relationship and provide consulting services to Atlanta ToolBank, where Mr. Schoen also serves on the Board of Directors.

 Article reposted courtesy of CitizenIBM.com