About the ToolBox Project
Our Mission: The ToolBox Project shares home and garden tools with our community so we can all build and grow together.
How we do it: The ToolBox Project serves Lane County by providing members with low-cost access to building repair and garden tools to transform their homes, businesses and neighborhoods. We are open Saturday mornings from 9 AM-12 PM and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 PM-7 PM at 2235 Adams Street in Eugene. Tool and financial donations help keep our doors open, and we are grateful for every hammer and every penny! Contributions to the ToolBox Project are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Co-founders Anya Dobrowolski and Beth Sweeney dreamed up the ToolBox Project in November 2013, started spreading the word and meeting with our invaluable advisors, and a year later launched a short-term fiscal sponsorship partnership with the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) to help get our new organization off the ground. We were looking for a home for our future tool library, when at the Friendly Area Neighbor's 2014 summer picnic we met the Friendly Street Church of God's pastor, whose congregation generously offered to donate space for us to build a welcoming tool library and garden. In Fall 2014, we became an Oregon Domestic Nonprofit and in Spring 2015, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
We didn't want to make our loyal fans wait any longer, so before we even had a building, Beth & Anya set up a mobile tool library using a borrowed pickup truck and then a large cargo van in the Friendly Street Church parking lot every Saturday, rain or shine, for more than a year. Lucky for us, good friends and neighbors brought us popsicles and lattes, as needed.
In January 2016, a tireless group of volunteers, supported by generous local businesspeople and grant funding, began building our beautiful blue tool library. In 56 days of construction spread out over four months, we created our new home and its surrounding gardens. In May 2016, we held our grand opening event and celebrated the vision and dedication of everyone involved.
We continue to add new tools and new members every week and look forward to growing and providing even more services to our community in the years to come. Our 2018 Board of Directors consists of six members: Babe O'Sullivan, President; Melanie Martin, Treasurer; Paul Wilson, Secretary; Laura Keir and Celeste Peterson. In 2018, through grant funds we were able to hire Anya as our first operations manager. We also have a three committees that provide guidance and support for our organization: Operations, Communications & Outreach, and Fundraising. Please send us an email if you are interested in volunteering on a committee.
About Tool Libraries
Tool libraries are brick and mortar places where members borrow tools for a low fee. The formal tool library concept has been around since the 1970s and more than 40 exist today in American cities. One of the first tool libraries in the United States was opened in 1979 in Berkeley, CA. This video gives a brief introduction to the Berkeley Tool Library and to tool libraries in general. Other nearby tool libraries include the Northeast Portland Tool Library, North Portland and the Southeast Portland Tool Library.
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