Cincinnati ToolBank cuts ribbon on $600K training center

The Cincinnati ToolBank has debuted a new training center it considers crucial to expanding its work supporting regional nonprofits and strengthening local communities.

A ribbon-cutting for the 25,000 square-foot facility on Seymour Avenue took place Monday, Dec. 11. Attendees got to tour the training rooms, workshop areas, co-working space and meeting rooms, which are available to the ToolBank’s nonprofit partners.

The nearly $600,000 project is a result of support from nearly three dozen project partners. Monetary donations totaling roughly $135,000 came from local foundations and $400,000 in-kind donations from construction companies and nonprofits came in the form of labor and building supplies. Students from Woodward High School, Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy and Easterseals Redwood’s Fast Trac program assisted the ToolBank’s construction partners on some parts of the project.

Kat Pepmeyer, the ToolBank’s executive director, sang the praises of Turner Construction for its on-site construction services.

The ToolBank – a nonprofit tool lending program – invested $55,000 from its reserves as well.

“Our partners have been beyond generous with their time, donations and guidance throughout this entire process,” Pepmeyer said. “We truly can’t thank them enough.”

Working to ‘build’ a better Cincinnati

Cincinnati ToolBank offers its tools, training and other resources to fellow nonprofits for use in volunteer projects, special events, facility repairs and grounds maintenance. It has more than 220 different types of tools and equipment available in large enough volumes to equip thousands of volunteers at a time.

Access to these tools aims to eliminate some costs for tools and repairs so they can spend their limited funding on their mission, Pepmeyer said.

Previously, the ToolBank operated out of a facility in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood. Pepmeyer described the move to the Roselawn and Bond Hill border as a way to “more fully live” the organization’s mission.

Pepmeyer noted that this new, larger space allows more revenue-generating programming for the ToolBank, increasing its overall sustainability. However, it also allows for the development of partnerships to provide valuable programming in the trade industries that will have a reach far beyond our current footprint

Recently, the ToolBank started implementing enhanced programming, including workforce development for individuals looking to pursue a career in a skilled trade. Pepmeyer noted a gap in this type of training at the local level, in part because of lack of appropriate training spaces.

The ToolBank plans to use its newly expanded headquarters to host things like skill-building workshops and apprenticeship programs. The facility has the potential to be “multiplicative in nature,” Pepmeyer said.

“This new space takes this proven model and creates even more opportunities to create a citywide impact,” she said. “(It allows us) to reach so many more nonprofits and create opportunities for the community to grow.”

Project partners

Major funders: Haile Foundation, 513 Fund, Thomas Emery Memorial, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Fifth Third Bank

Nonprofit partners: Allied Construction Industries, Easterseals Redwood

Construction and trades partners: Valley Interior Systems; Turner Construction Co.; WALTEK Company, LTD; ClarkDietrich; Performance Contracting Inc.; Partners in Projects; Kraft Electrical & Telecom Services; Perfection Group; Baker Concrete; Lithko Restoration Technologies; RTF Fire Protection; The Home Depot; CertainTeed; California Closets; Craftsmen by Design; Elevar Design Group; BC Flooring; The PLI Group; Professional Sealants; Midwestern Plumbing; cHc Manufacturing, Inc.; River City Furniture; Lithko Contracting, LLC; Professional Sealants Inc.

Cincinnati ToolBank Training Center

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