Community Connection

Tool of the Month: Ladder

We carry 5 different types of ladders: 16 ft extension, 24 ft extension , 6 ft a-frame, 8 ft a-frame, and an 8-foot orchard ladder.IMG_4321 Ladders are used in standard style as well as to bookend aluminum poles for our DIY bike racking. In June 2017 alone, these ladders went out 70 times to empower Habitat for Humanity builds in Pennsylvania, arts projects in Baltimore through the Office of Promotions and the Arts and as bike racking for Baltimore Bike Party.

These blue tools get a lot of love in the hands of volunteers!


Welcome Sarah Bicknell

Sarah is a rising senior at UMBC majoring in Philosophy with a minor in Human Context of Science & Technology. She joins the ToolBank for the summer through the Walter Sondheim Jr. Maryland Nonprofit Leadership Program ( MNLP).

The MNLP introduces undergraduate and graduate students attending Maryland institutions to the nonprofit sector.  Students work full-time at nonprofit organizations, gaining deep exposure to community work while being mentored by senior level administrators.  

Here’s a little more about our new teammate:

Why did you want to participate in the SNLP?
I wanted to participate in the program to explore my interest in a career in the nonprofit sector.
What have you enjoyed so far about the program?  
I like that we get to learn about the theoretical aspects of nonprofit work as well as getting to experience what it’s like from the inside!
What drew you to the ToolBank?  
Out of all the organizations I could choose from, the ToolBank was the most relevant to my environmental interests, as well as having the most unique and interesting mission and style of operation.
What have you been working on so far during your internship? 
I have been designing a curriculum with activities to teach visiting groups about the ToolBank’s environmental features and projects – the rain gardens, stormwater factory, and floating wetlands!
What is your favorite tool?  
Electric drill!


Creating Safe Play Space for Youth with Stanley Black & Decker Tools

Every year, the Baltimore Community ToolBank empowers 5 – 8 playground builds in Baltimore & Washington, D.C. Stanley Black & Decker’s DeWALT line accounts for all of the power tools for each project.

Average DeWALT tool types & quantities per order:

18 drills, corded & cordless

3 mitre saw

2 jig saws

2 circular saws

DeWALT always brings the power! The ToolBank ensures that power rests in the hands of volunteers as they build safe place safe for youth in Baltimore & D.C.

Earth Day


Earth Day may officially fall on April 22nd, but we’ve been slinging tools for environmental benefit all spring! All throughout April, we supported partners in their clean and green efforts. We even hosted our own Carroll-Camden cleanup event as part of the Mayor’s Cleanup on April 29th.

During Earth Week alone, the ToolBank empowered 2,736 volunteers on 76 different projects. A retail value worth of $252,478.08 worth of tools flew out the door to deploy in communities across Baltimore and greater Maryland.

Here are just a few of the partners and projects empowered:

Volunteer Center For Anne Arundel County – Save the Bay Day, 205 volunteers

Baltimore Orchard Project – Earth Day work day, 78 volunteers  

Pigtown Main St – Bloom the Boulevard Festival, 75 volunteers

$5 million in Tools Lent in < 5 years!

We recently reached a milestone: $5 million worth of tools loaned to partners since we opened our door wide to the community. This comes as we eye our 5th anniversary next month.

As we celebrate, we understand it is simply the reflection of true need from our partners. We are proud to have met this need with every resource we have at our disposal.

We continue to grow in response to partner demand. For perspective, we are likely to loan $2 million worth of tools in 2017 alone. We are honored to come to work every day and humbled in service to our partners as we join hands to strengthen and celebrate our shared community.

Thank you for being part of our success in service to others. If you’re reading this, you are a friend who has helped us along the way. Please consider sharing this with another friend who might be able to use our resource.

$10 million, here we come! In fact, our goal is to be posting about $10 million by April 30th, 2019. So stay tuned!

AmeriCorps NCCC Gets Things Done

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps ( NCCC) is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18-24. With only five campuses across the country, we’re fortunate to have one based right here in Bmore!

On March 1st and 2nd, the ToolBank hosted both full units of the campus–102 total volunteers. Amazingly, more than 620 hours of service were logged at the ToolBank over these two days.

We crossed a ton of to-do items off our list thanks to our friends at NCCC. Among other things, corps members helped repair broken tables, refurbish wheelbarrows, construct portions of the floating wetlands, perform spring maintenance in our gardens, clean up trash throughout our neighborhood and weed hundreds of street trees we’ve planted in the past few years.

Here’s a photo log from their two amazing days of service:


Floating Wetlands Initiative at the ToolBank

FW axon pic

Early every year, the ToolBank buzzes with the sound of drills and staple guns as volunteers help us construct floating wetlands for launch in Baltimore Inner Harbor during Earth Week.

Floating wetlands are 4 x 8′ structures that create surface area for planting of native grasses such as spartina and marsh hibiscus. The root systems of these plants help filter toxins out of the water including nitrous and phosphates, which are commonly found in agricultural runoff. Floating wetlands mimic the benefit of natural wetlands, creating native habitat for a host of avian and marine wildlife while filtering micro toxins.

Each year since 2014, the ToolBank works with partners Biohabitats, Inc. and the Waterfront Partnership to construct, launch and maintain the wetlands at optimal capacity. 10 new wetlands will be launched during Earth Week this year.

The ToolBank hosts partners as volunteers for the construction of the wetlands, creating dozens of knowledgeable ambassadors as we build. This year, these groups helped us build the 10 new structures:

Americorps National Civilian Community Corps

Howard Community College

Johns Hopkins Theta Tau co-ed sorority

Johns Hopkins Sustainable Hopkins Infrastructure Program (SHIP)

Johns Hopkins Office of Sustainability

Towson University President’s Leadership Program

University of Delaware Alternative Spring Breakers









Tool of the Month: Orbital Sander

16142965_10107579853115528_7440910891992074834_nSanding Collage

The orbital sander is a corded, palm-grip sander used in wood finishing. It’s light-weight and versatile, lending itself to a range of community projects like those pictured above with partners The Mission Continues – DC and City Year. Our DeWalt brand sanders have gone out 39 times so far this year. With only 8 in inventory, you can see that these tiny but mighty machines see a lot of love from our partners.

Recently, The Mission Continues – DC service platoon used orbital sanders to refinishing a wooden stage in a school auditorium. City Year in DC also used our sanders in service to a school partner to refinish students lockers. Our friends at the Downtown Sailing Center also put our fleet to work refinishing the exterior on a number of their boats to prepare for the sailing season.

We’re proud of the work our partners are able to achieve in service to youth with our mighty little sanders!

Tool of the Month: Digging Bar


These well-loved digging bars are worth their weight in service! A simple design belies this tool’s versatility. These heavy steel bars can act as a lever to pack earth around fence poles, remove air while mixing cement and clear rubble when digging holes in harsh terrain. We carry lengths of 4 and 6 feet, both available to partners for just $0.96!

This month, our digging bars deployed with The 6th Branch, who used them to place boulders to mark new green space and to remove concrete from a vacant lot that will soon become a football practice feel for St. Francis Academy.

The humble digging bar: A simple tool with powerful potential!


ToolBank Empowers MLK Day of Service

On January 16, thousands of volunteers put blue tools to use in their community in honor of the MLK Day of Service.  Over $45,000 dollars worth of tools went out our door to assist partners with 96 different projects. All said, we empowered 1,925 volunteers over the MLK Day weekend.

Partners at The 6th Branch hosted over 450 volunteers for dozens of projects in east Baltimore City. Here are some pics of their volunteers hard at work with ToolBank tools.