The Sanctuary, a social enterprise event space operated by nonprofit organization Community Matters, makes the power of placemaking evident. Birthday parties, Scantuary wedding photoweddings, and special events are all reasons people come together, and The Sanctuary’s accommodations allow such events to come to life. What was originally St. Michael’s Church in 1847, The Sanctuary was a gift from the Archdiocese to Community Matters after the church’s closure in the 1990s. Following a series of renovations that began in 2014, The Sanctuary is now a picturesque space available for low-cost to community members who use it for celebratory purposes. Additionally, the proceeds earned from outside event rentals allow The Sanctuary to support the organization’s community-based programs, which aim to create a thriving Lower Price Hill neighborhood.

To operate as a social enterprise event space, however, the Sanctuary requires special-events equipment. Since the Cincinnati Community ToolBank opened its doors in 2012, Community Matters has recognized the importance of a partnership with their fellow nonprofit organization. “At The Sanctuary, we believe that your event matters. The ToolBank helps promote this tagline by providing necessary materials that allow us to host events at The Sanctuary,” said Patty Lee, Community Matter’s DirectoScantuary wedding photo 3r of Development and Communication.

In the seven years that The Sanctuary has worked with ToolBank, the organization has borrowed a variety of tools and materials for special events and beyond. From wheelbarrows and shovels to tables and chairs, all equipment borrowed has assisted Community Matters’ innumerable tasks. Patty joked, “I don’t think there’s a tool we haven’t checked out from ToolBank. If there is, we should borrow it just for fun!”. Patty affirmed that Community Matters will continue using the ToolBank’s services for their project and event needs, particularly with their upcoming affordable housing projects. These projects will break ground in Spring 2019 in the Lower Price Hill neighborhood where Community Matters resides.

ToolBank board appoints new members and bids farewell to outgoing veterans

Outgoing Board Members Cincinnati ToolBank 2017

The Cincinnati Community ToolBank is pleased to announce the addition of four members to its Board of Directors. While the start of 2018 introduces fresh talent to the board, it also means that the ToolBank will be bidding farewell to several board members including four founding members of the ToolBank.

The following individuals represent new additions to the ToolBank’s Board of Directors:

  • Brandon Black, Owner of Drawnversation- The ToolBank welcomes Brandon Black to our Board of Directors in 2018. Brandon first became involved with the ToolBank during his time as a Fellow in People’s Liberty Haile Fellowship Program. During the fellowship he explored intergeneration community building through DIY home improvement projects. As a believer in the saying, “Doing the job right requires having the right tools,” he is a huge advocate for the ToolBank and its mission to equip volunteers with tools of change. Brandon is also the Chief Illustration Officer of Drawnversation–a facilitation business specializing in real-time visual notation for group discussions, processes and presentations.
  • Mark Bruner, Rental Divisions Operations Executive at Messer Construction Co – The ToolBank is excited to welcome Mark Bruner, who has been with Messer Construction Company for 18 years. He started his career working as a co-op and became a full time employee working in the Rental Division department overseeing the equipment for the company. During his time with Messer Construction, Mark has led many initiatives during his career which include; lean daily management, GEMBA, management of equipment services, and two different software implementations. Mark was also a key leader in the facility move and designed the layout for the Rental Division’s new office.
  • Conrad Culbertson, Commercial Insurance Agent at Roeding Insurance Group -Conrad Culbertson joins the Cincinnati ToolBank with a strong background in risk management and business development. Conrad is a commercial insurance agent for Roeding Insurance Group in the Cincinnati Region with a focus on Construction and Manufacturing. He looks to leverage his network in the community to build upon the success of the ToolBank. Conrad resides in Ft Wright Kentucky with his wife Katie, and son Grayson.
  • Nate Strahm, Audit Manager at Grant Thornton LLP – Nate Strahm joins the Cincinnati ToolBank with a strong background in accounting and is the Audit Manager in the Cincinnati office of Grant Thornton. Nate has 8 years of full time experience in public accounting, providing business and accounting advice to public and private clients. Nate has been involved with the ToolBank in a volunteer capacity since 2017. Nate played an instrumental role to plan the agency’s annual Hammers & Ales fundraiser and was involved with Building On Our Community.

The following individuals represent board members whose terms have recently ended:

  • Mike Arnoult Jr., Regional Vice President at Jo-Ann Stores, will be stepping down after two years of service with the ToolBank.
  • Doug Brauch, Vice President, Treasury & Insurance at Macy’s Inc and Founding Board Member will be stepping down after 7 years of service.
  • Allison Kloos, Capital Analyst at Macy’s Inc and Founding Board Member will be stepping down after 7 years of service.
  • Michelle Rummel, Business Development Associate at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and founding Board Member will be stepping down after 6 years of service.
  • Mike Schneider, Vice President and CPO at Baker Concrete Construction, Inc. and Founding Board Member will be stepping down after 7 years of service.

“Our outgoing board members made tremendous contributions to our organization and has allowed the ToolBank to provide even more “tools of change” to the community. In 2017, the ToolBank celebrated its 5th year of operation which would not have been possible without the support of our Board of Directors. We sincerely thank them for their efforts over their combined 29 years of service,” says Kat Pepmeyer, Executive Director of the Cincinnati ToolBank. “We look forward to the potential of the incoming board members and we have several exciting initiatives planned for 2018.”

In addition to our incoming and outgoing board members, the Cincinnati ToolBank announces that Paul Stautberg, Operations Manager at Republic Services, will be stepping down as Board President and will be replaced with Stephen Burch, Vice President, Global Treasury Solutions Officer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The ToolBank would like to thank Paul for his dedication to the board during his time as President.

SELF helps put Cincinnati ToolBank to the test

The year was 2012. In Hamilton, a city just north of Cincinnati, an organization known as Supports to Encourage Low-income Families or SELF, had a problem that Housing Coordinator John Post described as “a logistical nightmare.” Two years prior, SELF piloted a “Blitz Week” where 100 volunteers would paint and repair 20 homes over the course of a week. The effort was so successful that SELF made it a permanent program and the number volunteers doubled to 200 in 2011. “We only had 10 ladders,” John confessed.

The effort would require another 75 more and numerous other tools. Since buying them was too costly of an option, they borrowed them from all over the community–friends, homeowners, other organizations, and even rented a few from local hardware stores. This also meant John had to come up with a system to keep track of every borrowed ladder, schedule pick ups and returns, and guaranteed that any broken or lost ladder would be replaced with a brand new one. The good news is they were able to pull it off and news spread about the great work that SELF was doing in Bulter County. Cue 2012: 300+ volunteers will be showing up this summer for Blitz week with a goal of serving 50 homes. What is John going to do now?

Meanwhile in the West End of Cincinnati, Kat Pepmeyer and her small but mighty squad of AmeriCorps volunteers were working hard in preparation of the impending August 8th, 2012 grand opening of the nation’s newest ToolBank affiliate. She was excited about the transformation of warehouse space, which a few short months ago had plants growing inside the building. By June, the space is shimmering thanks to the help of volunteers, The Home Depot and a huge donation of tools from Crossroads church. To Kat, the only thing better than having all the tools at the ToolBank is putting this stockpile to good use in the Greater Cincinnati area.

As John is working on rounding up tools for the next Blitz, he hears from a friend about this new organization that loans tools to non-profits. John contacts the ToolBank and puts in his order for some ladders (and a few other items) and the rest is history. When I met John, he was returning their latest tool order for this summer’s round of Blitz weeks–of which there are now three total camps. He agreed to meet with me and tell me more about how being a member of the ToolBank has been benefited their work. The first thing I noticed was how proud John is that SELF is the first client of the ToolBank. As he showed me around and introduced me to other members of the SELF staff he made sure to mention that “We are the first and oldest client of the ToolBank!”

In 2016, SELF had 1400 volunteers (22,500 volunteer hours) serve 140 homes while building 20 wheelchair ramps–the most ever. This year they are anticipating over 25,000 volunteer hours and closer to 150 homes served. Since being a client of The ToolBank, SELF has also launched a new property renovation program to buy and fix foreclosed homes. “To be honest with you, having resources like the ToolBank has helped our growth. We’d still be wallowing in the mire and doing one camp…trying to figure out how we are going to do that. This has enabled us to do more.” He said at one point during the interview.

One of the events even paid dividends for the Cincinnati ToolBank when an AmeriCorps volunteer took a photo that won a contest resulting in a $1000 prize for both organizations. It’s clear that SELF and ToolBank are natural allies and an impactful partnership. John has the last word on that sentiment.”The ToolBank has been a blessing. It can’t be overstated…For a small organization getting quality tools in a timely manner to do the jobs that we need to do is daunting. It has enabled us to triple our capacity…We have to do everything we can to keep things simple if we are going to be able to continue to grow…The ToolBank has been one of the primary groups that has helped us do that.”