Column: ToolBank nails another $1 million Stanley Black & Decker gift

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 24, 2015

Atlanta-based ToolBank USA’s top donor — Stanley Black & Decker — has just renewed its support for a second $1 million gift.

The gift will be fulfilled over the next three years. The first $1 million gift was fulfilled over five years, which makes the current gift the largest ever received since ToolBank USA was founded in 2008 to provide tools used by charities.

The gift will support ToolBank’s existing operations, expansion in strategic markets and ToolBank Disaster Services, a mobile tool lending truck that travels to communities impacted by disasters.

ToolBank USA is developing a national network that aims to change the “way Americans build, strengthen and revitalize communities by providing reliable access to critically-needed tools,” according to the organization.

Charities, schools and faith-based organizations have been able to borrow ladders, rakes, drills and dozens of additional tools from their local ToolBanks to equip volunteers and perform service projects while reducing their expenses.

In 2014, ToolBanks loaned nearly $4 million worth of tools to charitable organization — equipping about 142,000 volunteers.

Tim Perra, vice president of communications for Stanley Black & Decker, said his company wants to be wherever volunteers are committed to bettering their community.

“Whether it’s in one of the ToolBanks in major metropolitan areas across the U.S., or in a community impacted by a natural disaster, we are proud to continue our tradition of providing the best tools to those who are helping to strengthen their communities,” Perra said.

Dan Webber, president of ToolBank USA’s board and vice president of Technology for UST Global, said the gift would offer the nonprofit an opportunity to focus on its strategic investments.

“Our vision to ‘end tool scarcity for America’s volunteers’ has made a quantum leap forward, thanks to our partnership with Stanley Black & Decker,” Webber said.

Publix and United Way

Publix Super Markets decided to spend its 85th anniversary with a day of giving back. It had 4,000 associates across the six Southern states where it has stores working on about 125 community projects on April 17.

In Atlanta, hundreds of associates worked on 11 community service projects, continuing the tone set by the late founder of Publix, George Jenkins.

“Giving back is a part of the Publix culture and mission statement of being involved as responsible citizens in our communities,” said Brenda Reid, media and community relations manager for Publix’s Atlanta Division.

It just so happens that the United Way of Greater Atlanta has a special relationship with Publix as well. Publix has been the top donor in Atlanta for several years.

So it was fitting that Ed Crenshaw, CEO of Publix Super Markets, was a special guest of the Tocqueville Society (donors who give $10,000 or more each year to United Way) at a Commerce Club luncheon on April 7.

“We believe in giving — of time, of money, of resources,” Crenshaw said. “It’s an investment; a responsibility; a privilege. We have learned it’s rewarding; it unites us; it inspires us ­­­– and it makes us appreciate our blessings.”

Publix has participated in a United Way campaign for 35 years. In 2014, its associates contributed $31.1 million nationally, and Publix Charities added $23.3 million to that contribution for a total of $54.4 million — making the grocer the fourth-largest worldwide donor.

In metro Atlanta, Publix was the top donor with $6.9 million in total contributions in 2014.

“Needless to say, I’m proud of the ‘giving spirit’ of our company,” Crenshaw said. “I’m sure many of you can relate to a question George Jenkins was asked late in life when the question was posed to him: ‘If you hadn’t given away so much, how much do you think you’d be worth today?’ His response was without hesitation, ‘Probably nothing.’ ”

Latin American Association

The 26th Annual Companeros Awards Luncheon on April 16 at the Georgia Aquarium had a bittersweet taste.

State Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin (D-Duluth) said the good news was that Latinos were able to defeat — at least for this year — a bill that would have denied drivers licenses for undocumented residents.

The sad part, Marin said, was that the Latin American Association would be saying good-bye to its executive director, Jeffrey Tapia, who will be retiring this summer to live in Ellijay.

Tapia, who was overcome with emotion, said that from the beginning, the LAA has “bridged immigrants with opportunities… We bring opportunities so they might reach their goals. Opportunity is the great equalizer.”

Delta Air Lines received the Corporate Leadership Award for its commitment to immigration reform; Elizabeth Aleman received the Community Service and Leadership Award; and Andrew Young received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Public Service and Leadership.

“If you look at what’s going on around the world, there’s hell all over the place,” Young said. “There’s fear. Half of Congress brags about not having passports.”

Young said people needed to learn from Atlanta, and we need to export that vision around the world.

“People don’t fight when they’re drinking Coca-Cola,” Young said. “It’s about public-purpose capitalism.”

Teodoro Maus

Former Mexican Consul General Teodoro Maus in Atlanta was honored April 22 by large group of admirers in Atlanta’s international community.

Maus, an architect by training, joined the Mexican foreign service and he became one the most active and vocal leaders seeking to open up Georgia’s doors to Latin Americans and other immigrants.

The luncheon event, called: “Arquitecto: Celebrating the Work and Leadership of Teodoro Maus,” was held at the Holiday Inn Atlanta/Perimeter on Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Maus continues to live in Atlanta.

Heroes Saints & Legends

The 2015 Heroes, Saints & Legends benefit dinner for the Wesley Woods Foundation was held April 16. The funds raised support Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease Care and Research at Emory. But the underlying tone of the evening is how Americans are getting older and what impact that is having on society.

“We are a mission-driven nonprofit for people to age with grace,” said Tracy Crump, executive director of the foundation. “With people living longer and with aging baby boomers, our senior population will double by 2030.”

The top awards of the night went to former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Bill Bolling, founder of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

After being introduced by her long-time friend and 2014 honoree, retired Coca-Cola executive Ingrid Saunders Jones, Franklin said that a civilization can be judged by how it treats its children and its aged. She said she had been lucky to learn from her mentors — Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young — and she shared two lessons she had learned about life.

“One, stay humble,” Franklin said. “Two, be really clear, we are really not about here and now, but about what our contributions will mean 50 years from now.”

Bolling, who was introduced by Coxe Curry & Associates’ David Eidson, said it was not about what a difference one man can make.

“I have not done a single thing in my life alone,” said Bolling, who went on to thank his earliest mentor — Brad Currey. “I have found that meaningful relationships have made me a better person. There’s a saying that life is a team sport.”

EarthShare

At the 13th Annual Earth Day Leadership Breakfast on April 17, the woman of the hour was Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Permanente Georgia.

She and her company had just announced that they would be locating a new information technology center in Midtown employing 900 people.

The company, which had won the Corporate Green Day Challenge Award in 2014 before Miller-Phipps had become president, has a policy to promote wellness among its employees.

“We believe in the power of prevention,” she told the group gathered at the 200 Peachtree event facility. “We want to reduce our carbon footprint.”

EarthShare raises money from local companies and entities (serving like a United Way for environmental organizations), and then it distributes those funds to nearly 60 member groups around the state.

More than $5.5 million have been raised through EarthShare of Georgia, according to Madeline Reamy, EarthShare’s executive director in the state.

Three new member groups were added as recipients this year — the Georgia River Network, Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

EarthShare also held its 20th annual Earth Day Party on April 22, one of its top fundraisers, on the roof of the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel.

 

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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