M&T Bank Strengthens Commitment to Grassroots Work in University District

Lend a hand at one of the Tool Library's upcoming service events!
Lend a hand at one of the Tool Library’s upcoming service events!

Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the M&T Charitable Foundation, the Tool Library’s annual calendar of service days got a big boost!  As an organization that empowers individuals and neighborhoods by providing affordable access to tools, the Tool Library also puts its inventory of over 3,000 tools to work through hands-on community-based volunteer opportunities.

“We believe that a strong community is a civically engaged community. We put our tools to work on large-scale community projects such as neighborhood clean-ups, tree-plantings, community gardens, and public art installations. When communities come together, incredible things can happen!” said Darren Cotton, Founder and Volunteer at the Tool Library.

Beginning in 2017, the Tool Library and close to a dozen community partners scheduled regular service events during the spring and fall of each year. This calendar of service events included a concerted marketing effort – press releases, a social media campaign, and colorful calendars that could be hung up around the community.

Whether it was a park cleanup, planting and maintaining community flower beds, transforming vacant lots into community gardens, planting trees, or removing graffiti, these community-driven projects have not only helped beautify the neighborhood, but have also built collaboration and cooperation across University District’s many diverse neighborhoods. Students, residents, and businessmen have rolled up their sleeves and worked side by side to tackle many pressing quality of life issues.

By organizing a consistent calendar of over two dozen service events each year, the Tool Library and its partners have attracted more than 500 volunteers to the community since 2017.

Thanks to the support of M&T Bank, two walls at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and East Amherst were turned into canvases for public art.
Thanks to the support of M&T Bank, two walls at the intersection of Bailey Avenue and East Amherst Street were turned into canvases for public art through the Tool Library’s Bailey Fights Blight initiative.

M&T Bank has been no stranger in supporting these efforts. Whether through the work of its employees showing up to lend a hand during a service event or helping to directly fund beautification efforts, M&T’s support has been critical to sustaining these community-led efforts. With this additional commitment, the Tool Library will not only be able to continue to support civic engagement and volunteerism across University District,  but also offer these resources to block clubs and community organizations who are on the frontline of fighting issues like blight, vacancy, and disinvestment across the city. Funding will be used to purchase garbage bags, additional cleanup equipment, tools, and plantings.

For those looking to get more involved, RSVP to an upcoming service event on the Tool Library’s website, make a donation, or organize an event in your community!