13 years and counting

We hope you enjoy our 13 years of stories and our looking into the future! Happy 13th Anniversary to us!

Looking into the future 

 Here we are in 2024, celebrating 13 years of Charlotte ToolBank! We have come along way and we aren’t stopping now!  

The time has come to reveal our new ToolBank tshirts! Thanks to a referral from our friends at Charlotte is Creative, we met artist Julia Rojas of SALT + LIGHT Creative Co. Julia took our very rough idea and created an amazing image for us! You can buy your very own ToolBank Skyline tshirt today! All proceeds from your purchase go directly to the Charlotte ToolBank! 

Thank you for all your support over our first 13 years! We look forward to your support for our next 13 years and beyond! 

Chapter 13

2023 saw a huge change for all ToolBank affiliates with a brand new ordering system! The Charlotte and Atlanta ToolBanks led the charge by test driving the new Tool Order Manager (TOM) created by ToolBank USA before it rolled out. The previous ordering system, LFNt, had some significant shortcomings like only working on Internet Explorer. 

Needless to say, our new system TOM has been well-received by our member agencies. It’s easier to order, mobile-friendly, and much more versatile. It was a huge adjustment and a lot of work, but we’re certainly glad to have this new system in place. Our work piloting TOM won us ToolBank USA’s Bobby Mason Technology award together with the Atlanta ToolBank! 

We honored Dave Peterson, former ToolBank Warehouse Manager and long-time ToolBank volunteer, with our second ToolBanker of the Year award. Dave’s humor, wisdom, and guidance during his three years on staff and more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time at the ToolBank since his retirement helped get us to where we are today! 

Our Board Vice President, Carley Rossi, joined us on one of our first Working Toolgether – our project to grow our relationships with our member agencies by bringing our tools and volunteers to help them complete a project. “One of my favorite memories from the ToolBank is the park clean-up we did last spring.  This was one of my first experiences being so close to the mission of the ToolBank, in serving community based organizations that help make Charlotte better.  We used ToolBank supplies to spend a Saturday outside, beautifying the area, while spending time with ToolBank staff, Board Members, and their families.  It was a terrific day, and gave me purpose knowing that I was giving back to such a wonderful city.” 

In Spring 2023 we went EPIC with our Tool Rush Sale. Once again, our former Special Projects Manager John Luebke led the charge, but this time on a three day sale extravaganza! We transformed our warehouse into a 100% retail space for Friday evening, Saturday, and Monday morning sales. 316 customers found great deals on tools & accessories! 

Dave Molinaro with the Burtonwood Neighborhood Association shared why the ToolBank matters to his neighborhood association. “Over many years, it has been a pleasure to partner with ToolBank staff on community projects. Having access to such a variety of tools, tables, gloves, and the like, all provided in such an economical, helpful and friendly fashion has been a boon to our community service projects.” One of those projects is invasive plant removal from Mason Wallace Park where neighbors use ToolBank pruners and loppers.  

The golden hammer made its way back to Charlotte in the fall when we won ToolBank of the Year for the second time! Our watch party at Edifice brought together our board, volunteers, and representatives of member agencies. We were so grateful they got to celebrate our win with us because they are the reason we won. What an amazing night! 

We loved getting to walk down memory lane with everyone, and we can’t wait to see what 2024 and the future brings. Join us tomorrow when we look forward and unveil our new tshirts! Don’t forget to support our 13th Anniversary campaign as a monthly donor!

– Welcome TOM our new tool order manager
– Dave wins our 2023 ToolBanker of the Year Award
– ToolBank of the Year, again! 

Chapter 12

We awarded our first “ToolBanker of the Year” award to Jon Wilson of Wilson’s World in 2022! The ToolBanker of the Year is presented to a steadfast supporter and advocate for the ToolBank and the Charlotte charitable community. Through this advocacy, partnership, awareness and financial support, the ToolBanker of the Year makes a positive and lasting impact on the ToolBank and the Charlotte charitable community. We were honored to present this inaugural award to Wilson. We are grateful for the countless early mornings he spent sharing our mission with his viewers, connecting us with amazing organizations and very generous donors.  

Wilson continued to share his talents with us when he made our ToolBank USA National Awards video featuring E2D! E2D borrows safety cones, tents and tables from the ToolBank for their laptop distributions. Check out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2B-iZ71xAA We loved checking out Catawba Lands Conservancy’s new office as they hosted our watch party! Our favorite moment of the night was our then Board President Dan Stewart winning The Rupert Barkoff Exemplary Affiliate Director Award from ToolBank USA! This award was established to honor a board member who has demonstrated outstanding and dedicated leadership and service to their affiliate ToolBank. Our nomination included a few of the highlights of Dan’s dedication to the ToolBank. Dan’s leadership touches all aspects of our organization. He is the first to volunteer when we need extra hands. It doesn’t matter if it is data work creating a tracking system so we can manage a tablecloth laundry scheduled or the messiest job like the night an agency left a full gas can in the back of their truck along with our canvas tent weight bags or serving in a leadership role for Hammers & Ales. The Charlotte ToolBank is better because of Dan’s support of our work.  

 We ended the year with our most successful Tool Rush sale ever! Our former Special Projects Manager, John Luebke, planned and organized everything – from volunteers to acquiring new donations for sale to marketing. He even contacted Santa who was able to come down from the North Pole to spend the day with us! We transformed our warehouse into a full shopping experience of new and gently used tools for the public to purchase. We had folks lining up literally at the crack of dawn to get their hands on some discounted tools! While we love a big Tool Rush, we also love helping you find deals all year round. Come shop our mini Tool Rush every weekday between 10am and 4pm at our South End warehouse! 

SHARE Charlotte has been borrowing from the ToolBank since 2016 and has been an important partner to us and the Charlotte nonprofit community even longer. Amanda Wise, Director of Nonprofit Partnerships for SHARE, has been working with us for years and is a big ToolBank supporter! “SHARE Charlotte is so thankful for the Charlotte ToolBank for event rentals that are used at our 20+ events we have every year. Supporting your organization helps us save lots of money so we can use those funds towards more programming for our 650+ nonprofit partners in the Charlotte – Mecklenburg community.” 

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year twelve at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year thirteen and a look towards the future! 


  • Wilson, Our ToolBanker of the Year with then Board President Dan Stewart and Executive Director Maureen Krueger
  • E2D & Wilson 
  • Dan Stewart, The Rupert Barkoff Exemplary Affiliate Director Award Winner

Chapter 11

In honor of our 10th anniversary in 2021, we retired our second tool from inventory, a battery powered drill. In its years of service, here are some highlights of how this drill was used! 

  • Our Pinewood Derby Build Day 
  • Elevation Church building fences at Shining Hope Farms 
  • Little Theatre striking the set of Saturday Night Fever 
  • Habitat Charlotte building a pallet park 
  • YWCA BB&T Lighthouse project 
  • Hope Haven KABOOM Playground Build   
  • Out Teach Big Dig Walter G Byers Elementary 
  • Veterans Bridge Home courtyard walkway rehab 
  • Ebenezer Baptist Church Hurricane Florence Disaster response 
  • Beds for Kids Bunk bed builds  

Our friend Wilson also helped us celebrate our 10th Anniversary with a week of shows featuring our donors and member agencies. https://www.wccbcharlotte.com/2021/03/01/wilsons-world-the-charlotte-community-toolbank-celebrates-10-years-of-service/ Our donors embraced our anniversary too! Stanley Black & Decker donated 10 DeWalt drills for our inventory. Adapting to the changing needs of our member agencies was easier thanks to IKEA Charlotte’s donation of 10 ANFALLSZON protective desk screens! Clancy & Theys donated $1,000 and pledged 100 volunteer hours to the ToolBank… a number they exceeded!  

2021 brought our biggest COVID response order, which was checked out by Atrium Health for 16 weeks. Three hundred of our chairs and ten of our tables were used to set up the largest vaccination clinics in our area at Bank of America Stadium Vaccine Clinics which vaccinated thousands of people.  

MoRA (Monroe Road Advocate)’s Kathy Hill has been using the ToolBank since 2016 for their annual Tree Lighting and their Thursday Live events. Like everyone else, they took a bit of a break during COVID, but they were able to bring back their events in the summer of 2021! 

Kathy says: “Having ToolBank as a resource allowed us to decide what items were worth buying and storing, and which were not. ToolBank’s existence allowed us to be wise stewards of our nonprofit’s funds. We have had many, many community gatherings since our first 2016 rental, almost all of which used ToolBank’s resources. And one last word: while we couldn’t be more appreciative of Toolbank as a fellow community nonprofit, the heart and soul of Charlotte’s ToolBank is its indefatigable staff, the center of which is Maureen. It’s a well-run organization with excellent people and MoRA would not — could not — have experienced much of our success without ToolBank Charlotte.” We’re so grateful to be able to work with amazing community members like Kathy Hill! 

We had two more awesome reviews from 2021 that stood out to us:  

  • August 2021: “Maureen, John, and their volunteer team have always been extremely helpful. So thankful for how they serve Beds for Kids and the rest of the community.“ 
  • September 2021: “Maureen and her team of volunteers/staff are amazing every time. So thankful for how the ToolBank serves Charlotte in so many ways.” 

 Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year eleven at the ToolBank!  Come back tomorrow to read about year twelve! 


  • Parkinson Association’s “Because of the ToolBank” post (pictured above)
  • Chairs in use at Bank of America stadium Atrium vaccination clinics (pictured above)
  • MoRA using our items at their tree lighting event (pictured above)

 Chapter 10

Like everyone else, we certainly didn’t expect all the “pivots” and “unprecedented times” 2020 and COVID would bring. We expanded our inventory to include PPE, distributing more than 5,000 of those items, while serving as a drop off and storage location for other PPE items.  We bought 50 new storage totes so Promising Pages could transport books to students learning at home. When Crisis Assistance moved their case management services outdoors, we purchased every fan within a 30 mile radius to keep their staff cool. Heal Charlotte used our tables and tents to assist with food distribution events. Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital was able to borrow our tents, tables and chairs to support their on-site COVID-19 pre-operative testing.  

Of course, the ToolBank itself had to pivot to continue our own operations. Former Board President Beth Bjorlo recalls when board meetings turned into Zoom calls:  

“I was honored to serve on the ToolBank board (2019-2021) and to lead the board in 2021. I have many great memories:   

  • Hosted our first virtual board meeting at the start of COVID in March 2020.  
  • Meaningful project: loaned tables and chairs to the vaccine locations throughout Charlotte– at no cost to support our community.   
  • Wrote our first annual report.  
  • Documented our strategy/purpose pillars plan to guide each of our sub-committees for 2021.   

I continue to support because of the great people involved in this organization, especially Maureen.” 

One of those board Zoom calls included special guest Eric Law from Promising Pages. He gave our Mission Moment talking about book distribution using ToolBank totes. When students were learning from home with even less access to books and resources, Promising Pages used ToolBank safety cones, storage totes, and tents to distribute 70,824 books to children who attended 28 schools. 

2020 had other positives! These two anonymous reviews from the year highlight our impact even in the face of a global pandemic:  

  • “All staff were very helpful and understanding and knowledgeable to the task at hand and gave insight on what I may encounter and made useful suggestions.” 
  • “Maureen and Charlotte’s ToolBank is something I proudly share in our community. Maureen’s leadership and servant heart are difference makers in how the Charlotte area views the ToolBank. I can’t say thank you enough!” 

 Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year ten at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year eleven! 


  • Heal Charlotte’s food distribution  (pictured above)
  • Zoom Board Meeting April 2020 (pictured above)
  • Promising Pages book distribution (pictured above)
  • 2020 Impact Report 

Chapter 9

2019 started off with a WOW! We welcomed two Trinity Episcopal School WOW Week teams to the ToolBank. Without Walls allows 5th through 8th graders to take teacher created mini-courses to stretch their imaginations and step outside of their comfort zones (and classrooms). The ToolBank hosted Get to the Point and How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Our staff taught safety first before letting the students drill holes and build Lowe’s Kid Kit Birdhouses! When it came to surviving the zombie apocalypse, coming to the ToolBank was the best decision possible. With our inventory of 10,400 items, there were plenty of supply options available to ensure survival!

We can’t say that the UNCC Master of Public Administration (MPA) students heard about the Zombie Apocalypse at the ToolBank… but something made them think we would be a good partner for a capstone project on creating an Emergency Planning Guide. Throughout the fall semester, we worked with six MPA students who assessed every part of the ToolBank and our operations. After conducting a risk identification and assessment, the team developed a series of recommendations to mitigate risk, respond to, and recover from damaging events. We still use their templates and analysis today!

Big changes came to the ToolBank USA Network in 2019! We announced a new logo! The rollout announcement helped us share the news. “The ToolBank has come a long way! From humble beginnings in 1991 providing home repairs to low-income seniors in Atlanta, to the innovative tool-lending program it is today, the ToolBank engenders a spirit of collaboration and community engagement. As we move forward, expanding our services and reach, we thought it was time for a fresh new look.” We might be partial but we still think it is a great logo!

No matter the year, our goal is to serve our member agencies at a high level. We appreciate hearing that our suggestions matter when we receive survey responses like these! “I always feel that the ToolBank is looking out for me and making helpful suggestions!” “The great support from the ToolBank team helps make our program a success!”

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year nine at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year ten!


  • Tools & Supplies needed to survive the Zombie Apocalypse (pictured above)
  • Our new logos
  • Get to the Point with Trinity Students (pictured above

Chapter 8

Spring 2018 brought us our first ToolBank of the Year award! We have been told that Maureen was speechless when Charlotte’s name was called at the ToolBank USA Rally in Atlanta. The Houston ToolBank’s nomination of Charlotte included some impressive stats including a 50% increase in new member agencies, a 63% increase in volunteers equipped with tools, and a 50% increase in values of tools loaned. (Come back on Saturday to hear about our next ToolBank of the Year award!)

2018’s next biggest event was certainly our disaster response to Hurricane Florence. Florence was a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in September 2018 and caused an estimated $17 billion dollars in damage in the state of North Carolina. For the next three months, the Charlotte ToolBank provided tools to Team Rubicon, Ebenezer Baptist Church, All Hands and Hearts, Washington Conservation Corps, and Utah Conservation Corps so they could help with disaster response and relief – all at no charge.

The ToolBank worked extensively with Team Rubicon during Hurricane Florence. Our special event items, like tables and chairs, were used to set up their Charlotte Forward Operating Base at Camp North End and our tools were deployed to the coast/inland impacted areas with their volunteers to muck & gut (clean out impacted homes).  We had learned a great deal about disaster response through our work remotely supporting the Houston Community ToolBank after Hurricane Harvey. Their support of our team during Hurricane Florence was invaluable.

One of our most important connections was made because of Hurricane Florence. We met Rahkmon (Roc) Curbeam and his transportation company Integrity First Carolina. Roc works closely with his church, Ebenezer Baptist, and helped transport tools for them and their Florence relief projects: “… we ended up needing tools to go down to the coast every week to deal with the damage. We ended up making 19 trips in total. We would get our tools to help from the ToolBank, so I was going to ToolBank every week to get tools”. Now, Roc regularly transports orders for our member agencies that borrow from us and picks up donations for the ToolBank.

Referrals are the number one way new organizations learn about the ToolBank. We are grateful that a new agency from July 2018 started referring organizations right away: “This was my first rental using ToolBank and everything was ready and on time for pickup. Great customer service. I am already recommending the organization to others. Great job!!!”

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year eight at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year nine!


  • Maureen with our Golden Hammer (pictured above)
  • Team Rubicon Response Team (pictured above)
  • Ebenezer Church volunteers (pictured above)

Chapter 7

We were off to the races in 2017! The Pinewood Derby Race that is. Each year, Cub Scouts build wooden derby cars to exacting specifications and enter it into a Derby race. The ToolBank saw a need to help Scouts with their cars and so we turned our warehouse into a car-building workshop! Scouts and their parents/guardians had access to car design templates, skilled volunteers who cut their cars for them (safety first!), sanding tools, a paint station, and a final weight station!  The ToolBank even built our own Derby car to thank our first Pinewood Derby Build Day sponsor Google Fiber! The success of our first build led us to host seven more in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Because we added so many new tools by the end of 2020, our warehouse couldn’t hold Build Days anymore. We modified our support of the Derby build to what we do best – providing tools for Packs to create their own build days! 

 We had such a good time hosting scouts and their families, and we got great feedback about the experience from them too!  

  • “I was very impressed with the organization and the tools available, and particularly the volunteers.” 
  • “Your volunteers were fabulous and made this so much fun for the boys!” 
  • “As the parent, I enjoyed getting my scout some hands-on-time. My scout’s favorite part was probably the painting!” 

Former board member Sarah Crews remembers doing builds at the ToolBank: “The Pinewood Derby builds were some of my favorite days at the ToolBank. Seeing the kids and parents so excited to have everything that they’d need made me incredibly proud to be a part of it all. It was evident that Maureen and all of our volunteers were creating a special memory for the families; what’s better than that.” Thanks to Sarah, we had many skilled volunteers from Turner Construction helping the Scouts! 

 In 2017, we also celebrated our 5 year anniversary (a bit late, but who’s counting?) by hosting an open house and retiring a shovel from our inventory! In its 5 years of life at the ToolBank, that shovel planted trees with Catawba Lands Conservancy, completed LOVE week projects with Elevation Church, built a wheelchair ramp with Team Depot, helped Hands on Charlotte at Morehead STEM Academy, and of course many more projects! Thinking about how much one tool has done makes the full impact of our warehouse of tools feel even bigger and better.  

 Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year seven at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year eight! 


Chapter 6

In 2016, the Charlotte ToolBank took a big step in increasing our special event inventory, thanks to a grant from Mecklenburg County South Rotary Club. Using that grant, we bought our first 10 pop-up tents in September 2016, which were immediately used for the Beds for Kids annual BMOF Golf Tournament. Fast forward to today, we have over 150 tents in inventory!

Lori Krzeszewski, former executive director of Behailu Academy remembers using the ToolBank many times over the years: “In Summer of 2016, we worked with the ToolBank to borrow needed supplies for our ‘Can you hear me now? Project’. This youth led project empowered teens with the support of volunteers and community partners to soundproof the large area room where the band practiced. Teens installed carpeting and built baffles with tools from the ToolBank. Reducing the sound made it kinder, quieter, more conducive space for teens year round!…I have long loved the ToolBank because the mission elevates the power of the community working together to accomplish great things! And the staff is pretty awesome as well. With a limited budget, the ToolBank made it possible for teens to make lasting, meaningful change in their community by providing resources to drive countless projects from murals, to neighborhood clean up days, to improvements in our building. Love the ToolBank and all that we accomplished in partnership with ya’ll!!”

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year six at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year seven!

Check out some of the images and stats from our sixth year.

– Bed for Kids BMOF Golf Tournament (pictured above)
– Celebrating when we passed $900k in loaned tools (pictured above)
– Behailu Academy student using ToolBank tools (pictured above)

Chapter 5

Well, well, well, we’ve officially made it to a VERY important year in Charlotte ToolBank history. 2015 is when we brought on our current Executive Director, Maureen Krueger! If you’ve interacted with the ToolBank at all in the last 9 years, you’ve met Maureen and know her passion for and commitment to Charlotte’s nonprofit community. Maureen was a founding board member of the Charlotte ToolBank so you know her love for the ToolBank runs deep!

Christy Baker from Hope Haven has been working with Maureen and the ToolBank for years, and summed up exactly what it’s like to work with Maureen: “After working with the ToolBank for more than ten years planning FUN events to engage the community in our work, when disaster struck in the form of a campus flood in 2021, I knew exactly who to call. When Maureen answered the phone, all I had to say was, “FLOOD!” and she sprang into action! She not only gathered up all the emergency supplies we needed, but reached out to partners like Lowe’s who jumped in alongside us to help. I honestly don’t know how the nonprofit community could do all that it does without the support of the ToolBank and its incredible leader, Maureen Krueger.” We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without her!

The other big news of 2015 was the opening of the Phoenix ToolBank! Volunteering at Wells Fargo Day of Caring in Charlotte inspired Iain Hamp to begin the push to start a ToolBank in Phoenix. Iain even did a TEDx Talk about the ToolBank called Equipping Volunteerism (we’ve linked it on our website)! In his talk, Iain recalled his time working at Wells Fargo in Phoenix and coming to Charlotte to do volunteer work that heavily involved the Charlotte ToolBank. He went home to Phoenix inspired by what he had experienced and knew that their community could use the same resource. He became the first founding board member and worked with Mark Brodbeck of ToolBank USA to make Phoenix ToolBank a reality!

“My favorite thing about ToolBank as a concept is how much it can adapt to meet the needs of the communities it serves. In Phoenix alone I remember when portable dental equipment came forth as a need and we got our hands on some, and when we got a pile of laptops donated and they became a solution for organizations hosting classes for teachers. More recently we’ve seen PPE stockpiles come and go, the inventory of both Charlotte and Phoenix is heavily used for special events now (tables, chairs, linens, etc.)…when an organization can shift as nimbly as ToolBank does to meet the needs of today, it becomes an ever-increasingly important asset to a community. So thanks to the Charlotte ToolBank for inspiring me for the last 13 years, and I can’t wait to see what you all do to lift our communities up next.” The Phoenix ToolBank opened on April 23, 2015, and they are now one of the busiest ToolBanks in the US.

Over the years, special events items have become an increasingly large portion of our inventory, and this review from November 2015 highlights that: “I think this is one of the most wonderful and beneficial organizations in Charlotte. It helps us out tremendously to be able to rent tables at a busy time of year for such a great price!”

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year five at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year six!

Check out some of the images and press release from our fifth year.

Chapter 4

In 2014, we grew our tool inventory by over 1,000 new tools to 3,807! Our new tools included gas string trimmers, hand sanders, cordless pole saws, more ladder types and sizes, bigger generators, 100 foot extension cords, and air compressors! We were upping our game to better serve our member agencies.  

Thanks to the generosity of PNC Bank, we were able to offer a “Free For All” month! From August 15 to September 15, 2014, all tool handling fees for our member agencies were covered by PNC. During that month, member agencies completed 90 projects and 1,395 volunteers were equipped with ToolBank tools. The tools provided by PNC’s support totaled $68,393 retail value, which is $1,913 in savings to our member agencies! These projects included repairing playgrounds, tending learning gardens, readying rooms for the homeless in need of shelter, cleaning up our trails and rivers, and more! It was an awesome opportunity to be able to offer these tools to our member agencies for free for the month.  

Sarah Degnan, former board member, shared a few pictures that she had from way back when, including one of her son hanging out at the ToolBank and another of a ToolBank news segment sighting! She said “You know my favorite memory – sharing the ToolBank with friends and family 🙂 How was that picture 8 years ago! My favorite ToolBank event was Tool Rush 😊 

We had another fun review from May of 2014: “We are so thankful for the ToolBank. It’s been remarkable how we can help Charlotte more because of the blessing you guys have been. Thank you!”  

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year four at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year five! 

Check out some of the images and stats from our fourth year.

Chapter 3

2013 was a HUGE year for us in multiple ways. First, we moved from our original location on Kingston to our current location on South Tryon, which meant relocating our entire warehouse of 9,000 tools…in a snow & ice storm! Secondly, we hired our first ever Program Manager, Sheri Osborne, now the Co-Owner and Chief Financial & Operations Officer of Wool Tribe. 

 It is a big deal for a small nonprofit to increase staff, and we were excited to add Sheri as our first Program Manager! For Sheri, the best part was the people she met and worked with: “… the greatest memories of my time working at Charlotte Community ToolBank are definitely centered on my interactions with all the people who were part of the ToolBank community while I was there.  It was our donors, organizations to whom we lent tools, and the countless volunteers I worked with who made the job rewarding. One group in particular I loved working with was a team of students from Davidson College who spent a couple of months studying our operations to find more efficient ways to set up our warehouse space and pull tools to fulfill orders.  Their enthusiasm and dedication were inspiring.  They seriously brought a spreadsheet to life using their brilliant mathematical minds!  I also have such great memories of working with volunteers creating the piece of artwork we made from palette wood, that was hung on the wall in the conference room.” That piece is still in the conference room today! Thanks Sheri for furthering our Tool Lending Program! 

The other big part of 2013 was our warehouse move. Our original building was sold and turned into multi-family housing, so we needed a new home! It feels a little like déjà vu as we’re currently in the same boat and looking for a new home today. This was obviously a massive undertaking, and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of UPS and their volunteers. They moved truckloads full of items and did it all in the span of ONE DAY! Absolutely incredible.  

Looking back at another anonymous feedback from June of 2013 makes us smile! “I really appreciate the friendly staff and the professional knowledge of all the equipment that was given to me.” We still love teaching our member agencies all about the items they are borrowing. Making sure an organization has the right item is a key part of our mission!  

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year three at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year four! 

Check out some of the images and stats from our third year.

Chapter 2

In 2012, the Charlotte ToolBank settled into a routine. We started receiving repeat orders and meeting new folks and growing our partner numbers. We sent out 235 orders in 2012 that supplied 446 projects and equipped 11,127 volunteers. Not bad for our second year serving the Charlotte Community!

One partner that has been with us from the early days is Anne Springs Close Greenway. Mina McLean MacDonald remembers: “…2011 would have been when I started there [Anne Springs Close Greenway], and we ordered so much from y’all over the years.  Everything from events/festivals to trail work days, support for big volunteer projects and construction activities, the Charlotte ToolBank has been such an amazing partner agency.  I know I have told multiple volunteer organizations and groups about the ToolBank—preaching the good word of what y’all do to support area agencies, non-profits, churches and local governments! Nothing but LOVE LOVE LOVE for the ToolBank! ❤” Even after moving to the Fort Mill Stormwater Department, Mina still uses the ToolBank for cleanups and projects with the city.

2012 was our second year supplying the Wells Fargo Day of Caring! On June 2nd, Wells Fargo employees completed projects with First Ward Creative Arts Academy, Crisis Assistance, and the YWCA of the Central Carolinas. Kirsten Sikkelee, current CEO of YWCA was there that day: “On a beautiful, sunny Saturday in June, YWCA Central Carolinas welcomed scores of Wells Fargo team members to tackle campus beautification projects. From mulching to fence staining to picnic table assembling, equipped with wheelbarrows and shovels and more on loan from Charlotte ToolBank, volunteers put serious sweat equity into a Day of Caring.” We have hundreds of awesome photos from that day, but pulled some of our favorites to share along with this post.

We knew the ToolBank was going to be essential to the Charlotte charitable community and we had big dreams for our growth. With growth in mind, we were excited to be chosen for the first Social Venture Partners SEED20 cohort! While our pitch didn’t win us a prize, it helped grow our exposure and provided us 12 years of Alumni opportunities with SVP. SEED20 is still going strong! This year’s cohort will present their pitches on Tuesday, March 26, at Central Piedmont’s New Theater.

Check out some of the images and stats about our second year!

Thanks for hanging with us as we recount year two at the ToolBank! Come back tomorrow to read about year three!

Chapter 1

Charlotte ToolBank’s first year of operation might have been 2011, but it all really began in 2008 when our Foundation Committee began meeting. The ToolBank originated in Atlanta, GA, and our founders knew Charlotte would benefit from the same concept.  

Founding board member Leslie Rink remembers it well: “The day that Mark Brodbeck, founder of ToolBank USA, called me and asked if me if Charlotte would like to be the first expansion city, I about fell off my chair.  I think my first words were “where have you been all my life?”  I was so excited because I knew what a ToolBank would mean not only to my work at United Way, no more tool shopping before a project and schlepping tools in and out of the UW auditorium, but also for the nonprofits in the greater Charlotte area.  I can remember that call so vividly.”  

In late 2009, we incorporated in the state of North Carolina and the real work began. The first hurdle? Securing space and $150,000 of funding to stock a warehouse full of tools for nonprofits and community groups to borrow.  Leslie says, “Raj Natarajan, McGuireWoods, [and I] would become the first two board members as we began working to secure a location, [recruit] board members, an executive director, sponsorships and of course, our nonprofit members.  Home Depot was on board shortly after when John Reinke joined the board.” Bryan Manges, one of our founding board members, remembers opening our first bank account, which is still our bank account! 

Mark Brodbeck shares “I have a vivid memory sitting in the basement of the United Way of Central Carolinas office with Leslie Rink in 2008, drinking coffee and daydreaming about the Charlotte ToolBank. The economy was in a very dark place after the Great Recession, but the leaders on the Charlotte ToolBank formation team championed the effort to stand up this organization almost like a raison d’etre and never wavered for a minute in its resolve…At the grand opening of the Charlotte ToolBank, a luminary of the Charlotte community told me that he had seen countless nonprofits fail at replication, and that we had basically ‘achieved the impossible’ by standing up the Charlotte TooBank. The founding board’s grit and determination set the tone for all the ToolBanks that followed, and ToolBank USA carried the bright light of Charlotte’s success to Baltimore, Cincinnati and Houston.”  

If you know the ToolBank, you know we go big! That is why we have two “first” tool orders! The “official” first order we sent out built a Learning Garden at Ashley Park Elementary in March of 2011. 70 tools, including drills, shovels, post-hole diggers, wheelbarrows, rakes, and ladders, were used for three weeks! Their cost to borrow from the ToolBank was only $52.86! 

The “unofficial” first order went out before we were even open! Bob Young was a part of that first project. “If I’m not mistaken, the very first tool order placed at the ToolBank was made before it officially opened. Hands On Charlotte was organizing several projects at Turning Point Academy on January 17, 2011 – including the building of an outdoor learning space, interior painting in the gym, creating a ropes course – as part of HOC’s MLK Week of Service.” Bob, now with United Way of Greater Charlotte, still regularly uses the ToolBank for United Way projects and events, making him the longest-running partner of the Charlotte ToolBank!   

When we opened, the original system our member agencies used for placing orders was called LFNt (pronounced Elephant). It included a way for agencies to provide anonymous feedback, and we’ll be sharing some agency feedback as we look back. Here’s one of our first reviews from August of 2011: “This project definitely wouldn’t have been possible without the ToolBank!” That was great encouragement to keep going! 

Check out some of the media, images, and stats about our first year!

It’s been amazing recapping our founding and first year of service in Charlotte.