The Tool Library to hire first staff member thanks to a $25,000 Challenge Grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation

The Tool Library Board of Directors announced an ambitious $25,000 capital campaign at its 10th Anniversary Fundraising event in August to support the organization’s first paid staff member. Now with more than 80% of the goal raised, The John R. Oishei Foundation has announced it will match the campaign dollar for dollar with a $25,000 challenge grant if the goal is reached by the end of the year. Funds raised through the campaign will help The Tool Library add a part-time Operations Manager by the end of 2021, grow its inventory, and continue to tackle quality of life issues across Western New York.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, The Tool Library’s membership base has swelled to 1,000 active members, more than double the amount at the start of 2020. And in 2020, these members saved  $223,000 on tools by borrowing rather than buying while the organization invested $300,000 into the community through volunteer projects such as tree plantings, community gardens, and park cleanups.

Keeping up with this growth as an all-volunteer organization has proven challenging. Individuals donate time for every email, tool loan, Instagram post, tool repair, storage upgrade, and more. Work is done by many talented, dedicated volunteers, but to ensure long term sustainability and avoid volunteer burnout, The Tool Library has identified paid staff as a top priority.

“In an era that working together as a community is more important than ever, the Tool Library is a key example of community building and neighborly support that keeps the motto of the “City of Good Neighbors” alive,” commented Lawrence H. Cook, II, Senior Vice President of Programs at The John R. Oishei Foundation.

“We’ve seen that when we share tools with our neighbors, not only do they save money, but they learn new skills, live more sustainably, and build stronger communities. We are incredibly grateful to The John R. Oishei Foundation for not only sustaining The Tool Library, but sustaining a movement that replaces commodity with community and prioritizes access, equity, and dignity for all” said Founder and Board President, Darren Cotton.

Individuals interested in supporting The Tool Library’s Capital Campaign can donate online: or stop by the shop located at 5 W. Northrup Place, Buffalo, NY 14214.

About the John R. Oishei Foundation
The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality of quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. For more information about The John R. Oishei Foundation, visit 

About The Tool Library
Over the past ten years, The Tool Library has grown from a small storefront helping neighbors fix up their homes, to a region-wide resource center helping individuals and organizations make a significant impact in their community with borrowed tools. For as little as $20/year, members can borrow from an inventory of over 4,000 tools from The Tool Library’s shop in Buffalo’s University Heights neighborhood. Learn more at