The ToolBank is a member-based service organization. There are no membership fees to become a ToolBank member, but your organization must complete a membership application before borrowing tools, which can be completed online at http://www.chicagotoolbank.org/borrow-tools/first-time-borrowers/.

If there’s no membership fee, why does my organization have to apply for a membership?

The application process captures your organization’s information so we know who is responsible for borrowed tools. The application process also captures documentation of your organization’s nonprofit status proving your agency’s eligibility while creating a user account for you in our online tool ordering system, which is how you will order tools and manage your account.

Who is eligible for a ToolBank membership?

ToolBank tools are available solely to nonprofit organizations. ToolBank tools are not available to individuals and are not to be used for personal benefit or profit. Nonprofits, charitable/tax exempt organizations, schools, PTAs/PTOs, neighborhood associations, faithbased groups, civic organizations, and government agencies are eligible to become ToolBank members and borrow ToolBank tools.

Proof of your organization’s nonprofit status is required in order to be approved for ToolBank membership, and tools may not be borrowed until documentation is received and confirmed by ToolBank staff. Only one (1) form is documentation is required. ToolBank staff reserves the right to request additional documentation. Examples of acceptable documentation are listed below. A 501(c)(3) determination letter is not a requirement for ToolBank membership.

Type of Organization & Acceptable Documentation 

  • Nonprofit/Charitable/Tax Exempt
    • Tax exempt determination letter
  • Neighborhood association, Civic organizations, PTAs/PTOs
    • Organization charter
    • Brochure
    • Meeting minutes
    • Registration with local government
  • Faith-based groups
    • Worship schedule
    • Tax exempt determination letter
  • Schools, Government agencies
    • Letter briefly outlining the purpose of the school or agency (on school or department letterhead)

How do I submit documentation?

You can upload documentation during the online application process. You may also email it to our Executive Director, Kimberly Grigsby, at Kimberly.grigsby@toolbank.org, or mail it to the Chicago Community ToolBank at 1500 S Western Ave, Suite 1CS1, Chicago, IL  60608. Please note that your membership will not be approved until the documentation is received.

Who in my organization should sign up?

Your organization is responsible for tools borrowed and fees incurred. The ToolBank charges a small handling fee for tools borrowed and fees may be incurred for late or unreturned tools. Visit our website at http://www.chicagotoolbank.org/borrow-tools/tools-and-fees/ to learn more about our fees.

My organization is a subsidiary or affiliate of another organization. Can I have them sign up and use their account?

That is your discretion, but the organization that holds the account will held responsible for tools borrowed and fees incurred. The primary account holder will also be the one who receives notifications, updates, and other pertinent information from the ToolBank. We strongly recommend that each agency operating under the organizational umbrella of another organization obtain its own ToolBank membership.

We also recommend that each local branch of a national organization obtain its own ToolBank membership. This ensures that the party responsible for borrowed tools is clearly identified and communications are received by the appropriate person.

That’s it.

The application is brief and, so long as proper documentation is received immediately, staff can usually approve membership applications within 24 hours. Upon verification of nonprofit status, eligible organizations are granted immediate access to ToolBank resources and the expertise of ToolBank staff. We look forward to equipping your next project. Welcome to the ToolBank! If you have any questions about your agency’s eligibility, documentation, or the application process, please contact Kimberly Grigsby, Executive Director, at (773) 620-6076 or Kimberly.grigsby@toolbank.org.