Local tool bank named best in nation

Greater Cincinnati’s nonprofit tool bank has been given its national network’s highest honor.

The Cincinnati ToolBank was named “ToolBank of the Year” by ToolBank USA at the national network’s annual awards program held at the Cincinnati tool bank on Nov. 17. 

The Cincinnati ToolBank launched in 2012, the fourth affiliate of ToolBank USA.

Staff from ToolBank USA and the Cincinnati ToolBank hosted the in-person awards event along with a live broadcast of the program to the eight tool banks across the U.S. Watch parties were hosted at several of the affiliates’ locations.

Emcee WARM 98’s Amanda Orlando, ToolBank USA’s Patty Russart and Cincinnati ToolBank’s Taylor Brown, Kat Pepmeyer and Karen D’Agostino.

The annual award, called the Golden Hammer, was created to recognize outstanding performance and/or accomplishments of an affiliate who exemplified the mission of ToolBank USA by supporting their member agencies and partners. 

One of the determining factors for winning the award comes in the form of testimonials from the winner’s member agencies. Jerome Wright, director of the Reds Youth Academy, provided one of the testimonials for the local tool bank, commenting on the annual Reds Community Makeover.

 “The Makeover couldn’t happen without extraordinary support from local corporate and community leaders, and Cincinnati ToolBank is at the forefront of getting this process organized,” Wright said. “Over 500 volunteers use ToolBank tools to plant 168 trees, 1,714 shrubs, 6,753 perennials, and 3,000 annuals, which make up roughly 600 plant varieties in the garden. We are so thankful for the organization and preparation of the Cincinnati ToolBank over the last eight years. Their support has streamlined our volunteer process to ensure that corporate staff can get to work rather than worrying about the logistics of tool management.”

The 2022 ToolBank USA national awards program can be viewed at https://toolbank.org/2022-national-awards-live-stream/ or on the ToolBank USA YouTube page, https://youtu.be/sznHbdY4Kek.

Since opening in 2012, the Cincinnati ToolBank has helped more than 600 nonprofit agencies in Greater Cincinnati equip over 320,000 volunteers with more than $11.1 million worth of tools and equipment. Tool bank affiliates are modeled after Atlanta ToolBank, which has served Greater Atlanta’s charitable sector for 27 years. The Charlotte ToolBank was the first affiliate to join the network in 2011, followed by Baltimore and Cincinnati in 2012. By 2015, the network had doubled in size with tool banks opening in Richmond, Va., Houston and Phoenix. 

As a member of the network, the Cincinnati ToolBank benefits from the sharing of resources and best practices among affiliates. Though an affiliate of the network, the Cincinnati ToolBank is independently operated, governed by a local board of directors and relies solely on local funding to fulfill its mission.

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