Education, Children and Literacy
Many local private and public early childhood development organizations in Houston benefit from the ToolBank.
Example: Many schools have gardens, greenspace, and playgrounds that need to be built and maintained.
Calvert Elementary partnered with KaBOOM on a playground build. By using over $5,000 in tools (at a handling cost to the PTO of $130) the entire playground was built in just 3 hours instead of 3 weekends (the average KaBOOM build). All 150 volunteers had a tool in hand and a job to complete. At the end, all volunteer participants left feeling like they made a difference for the school and felt the experience was worth sharing and repeating. The school saves money and time by not hiring outside labor, buying tools, or storing and maintaining tools. School funds can now be directed to focus on education, and the kids have an improved, safer environment.
More dots connected to impacting children
In addition to outfitting Boy Scouts troops for community projects to earn badges, we’ve hosted several Eagle Scout projects in our warehouse. Our youth programs teach young adults about local service, responsibility and life skills.
Low-income housing repairs (with our tools) improve life so that children and families have a safe home to live with limited at-home distractions. As a result, more focus can be put on children’s education.
Neighborhood Centers completed a massive project with the help of Comcast in Q2 of 2015. Volunteers put blue tools to work on the Cleveland-Ripley Neighborhood Center as part of Comcast Cares Day. More than 175 Comcast employees and Pasadena-area neighbors worked side-by-side on a variety of beautification projects: painting an indoor classroom and outside picnic tables, replacing the playground mulch, weeding and putting down new soil in the community garden, replacing the gravel on the walking trail, and replacing the two outdoor basketball goals.
The Roc Solid Foundation is an organization based in Virginia. Roc Solid builds hope for children all over the country with cancer by supplying those children with a release. They build playgrounds for these boys and girls to help take their mind off the daily battle. Roc Solid traveled 1,300 miles to support a child in Katy, TX. They borrowed the necessary tools for the build instead of paying to transport their own equipment that could amount to over $2,000 in fees. For less than $100 the organization was able to borrow our tools and help a young boy in our community.
Environmental & Sustainability
This is a major area where we impact the Houston community. Our tools are deployed in many different capacities and organizations such as home repair (Rebuilding Together – Houston; Habitat for Humanities, Vita-Living, Avenue Community Development Corporation), green space clean-up (Galveston Bay Foundation, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Memorial Park), tree planting (Memorial Park, Herman Park, neighborhood parks), playground builds (KaBOOM!),
Example: Avenue Community Development Corporation’s mission is to improve our community by developing affordable housing and increasing economic opportunities, while preserving our area’s cultural, economic, and historic diversity. This group of volunteers had a project where they repaired and painted an older home on the Northside of Houston. We loaned them truckloads of ladders, lawn mowers, rakes, shovels, paint rollers, buckets, tables, ice chests, caulk guns, water hoses, etc. This order is typical of a standard project request. Our support allows them to do projects faster, with more volunteers, and increase the number of homes/projects they do annually.
“The tools that we borrowed from ToolBank were a tremendous help to us in completing our urban farm project. Thanks again for your support.” Barry Weiner, Senior Vice President at Jones Lang LaSalle working with Urban Farm and CoreNet Global Houston.
Community Safety and Preparedness
We equip volunteer organizations that make our city public spaces beautiful and safe for all Houstonians.
Example: We have over 50 generators available to non-profit organizations on a daily basis and during disasters. We offer items such as fans, saws, mowers, weed eaters, demolition tools, shop-vacs, and clean-up tools to recover from disasters.
In a network-wide effort, the Toolbank has partnered with the American Red Cross and its affiliates to supply tools for the installation of fire safety equipment in homes across the country.
The Houston Toolbank was available to victims of the floods in May 2015 and provided blue tools for recovery efforts. The ToolBank worked closely with the ToolBank Disaster Service vehicle during this time. The Disaster recovery trailer was dispatched for over one month to one of the hardest hit areas in Texas, Wimberley.
In the first few days after hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the Houston ToolBank loaned $200,000 in FREE tools to first responder groups including Team Rubicon and many large church groups equipping over 6,000 volunteers with tools for recovery.
The AIDS Foundation of Houston is a member agency and utilizes the ToolBank to enhance its mission. The tools (ice chest, tents, tables, chairs, brooms, buckets, etc.) help with large scale events such as the AIDS Walk. The Foundation saves money on renting, buying and storing these items. Additionally, they now have the option to scale the activity, and frequency of efforts. The savings we offer them is redirected into other funding avenues within the organization.
Vita-Living provides housing to over 70 clients with mental disabilities in Houston and surrounding areas. These homes are in constant need of repair and ToolBank offers the organization a means of completing these repairs in a timely manner. Some of Vita-Living’s clients have even helped “blue” some tools! Vita-Living checks out tools nearly every single week and was our first nonprofit to sign up when we opened our doors.
Our efforts enabled Vita-Living to increase the number of volunteers on each project, do more projects and started projects they never would have taken on before with their limited onsite tools. Their experiences with corporations have improved through these increased touch points, and as direct result they have received more and larger donations from volunteers and corporations.
“We’re so appreciative that PDR selected Vita-Living, Inc. as the site for its company-wide day of giving back. This kind of support is very valuable to us and the homes where our clients have lived for many years. To date, this will be the largest volunteer experience to benefit Vita-Living, Inc. In addition, a project of this caliber wouldn’t be possible without the ability to get the necessary tools from the Houston Community Toolbank,”
Joseph Cooper, CEO of Vita-Living, Inc.
The Veterans Association borrowed 60 tables and 150 chairs for its gala event, saving them hundreds in rental fees.
The Mission Continues is a strong supporter of the Houston ToolBank. The Mission Continues empowers veterans adjusting to life at home to find new missions. We redeploy veterans so that their shared legacy will be one of action and service. The Mission Continues has helped thousands of post-9/11 veterans transition successfully by focusing their talents and energy on tackling challenges here at our home front.
The Mission Continues and ToolBank have partnered in two different areas of community service. First, the Fellowship program has benefited both the ToolBank as well as the Mission Continues program. The program has enabled a Veteran to give back to the community by volunteering service at the ToolBank. The second involvement deals with Service Platoons. The Mission Continues borrows tools from the ToolBank to outfit several groups of Veterans that have formed Service Platoons that embark on community projects ranging from disaster recovery to playground builds.
The ToolBank is partners with NextOp, a veteran organization that trains returning veterans for jobs. The ToolBank facility is used as a skills classroom for these veterans and classes are conducted by trained instructors from NextOp.
Corporate Days of service
Deloitte used the ToolBank to support a massive National Day of Service and borrowed a box truck full of tools to distribute to its employees at places like Regan High School, United Way, and Memorial Park.
NRG had the opportunity to give back to the community during the national Day of Service. Employees of the energy company volunteered with the ToolBank to promote the brand and ensure blue tools make their way into the hands of community volunteers.
USI enjoyed painting tools and ladders in the summer of 2015 as its first ever day of service project. They enjoyed it so much they came back a second time in one year at the ToolBank. The employees of USI have been huge supporters of the ToolBank mission and will now continue to give back to the Houston community.
Elevare International (Reach Youth Global) for 5K Run/Inflatable Obstacle Course event at the MET Church in Cypress borrowed 6 generators and 15 extension cords to keep the course inflated. If they were to purchase these items, they would pay close to $7,750. This tool handling came in at a grand total of $232.47. The ToolBank allows this organization to utilize the $7,500 in savings for other necessary projects within Elevare International.
The Houston ToolBank partners with local churches both big and small. Second Baptist of Houston utilizes ToolBank blue tools for community revitalization. Over 15 Sunday school classes from the church and various campuses team up to give back to those in need.
Member Agency Involvement
Before Harvey, Battle Cry Ministries was heavily focused on its evangelical mission trips and trainings on its Epicenter campus, with some smaller efforts for disaster relief during other Texas events. The storm was a game changer for the organization and their community, which shifted 85% of their focus to recovery efforts. For Battle Cry, the Houston Community ToolBank’s support has been essential to their efforts in the community.
Homer Allison, their lead minister, explained that the ToolBank is one of the forces that keeps Battle Cry going, day after day.
“It keeps us from having to spend funds on tools, so that we can spend funds on doorknobs, trash cans and getting people back in their homes,” he said. “When a team comes in and says, “Hey, I need a table saw”, I don’t have to run out and spend $300 or $400 on a tool that I might only use 3 or 4 times at most. If I have a team that needs to put up sheets and sheets and sheets of sheetrock, I can pick up 20 drills for that job.”
The ToolBank is proud to create opportunities for transformational organizations like Battle Cry. The beauty of the ToolBanks is in our scalable adaptability, which allows us to evolve and grow alongside our partners, lending the tools that are needed today and being ready to lend those that will be needed tomorrow.
For more stories of impact please contact Erika Hornsey.
Click to see a list of others served.