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Column: ToolBank USA launching mobile disaster unit from Atlanta

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 07, 2014

Atlanta-based ToolBank USA — and its nine ToolBanks across the country — is now ready within 72 hours to help any community in the United States struck by disaster.

The Atlanta nonprofit unveiled its new mobile disaster unit on Feb. 6 that it will be able to deploy to any community that has been ravaged by storms or hurricanes or earthquakes or any catastrophe requiring large-scale volunteer response teams working on the ground.

The new disaster recovery unit was made possible thanks to a $200,000 investment from the UPS Foundation. Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. also has provided professional logistical services to the effort, and it has committed to move the trailer anywhere it is needed. The mobile unit also has been equipped with tools from several other major corporations. DeWALT, Stanley and Ames True Temper each have donated more than $100,000 of tools to the disaster relief mobile unit. Also Duke Realty Corp. has donated industrial space in southwest Atlanta to ToolBank USA for the initiative.

The launch of ToolBank Disaster Services was scheduled to coincide with the nonprofit’s annual ToolBank Summit Feb. 5 to Feb. 8.

“ToolBanks have exemplified effective and efficient collaboration among nonprofit organizations, helping them to better protect and enhance green spaces, build affordable housing and equip service projects large and small,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation. “UPS and the UPS Foundation have invested human, intellectual and financial capital in the ToolBank for many years. We’re thrilled that ToolBank USA is applying its model to America’s disaster response and recovery infrastructure.”

The UPS Foundation has invested more than $850,000 in ToolBank USA and its national network since 2009. Eight of its executives serve in leadership roles at ToolBanks across the United States, including Nick Costides, who serves as president of ToolBank USA; Bob Burman, who serves on the ToolBank USA Advisory Council; and Brad Sand, who is a director of the Atlanta ToolBank.

The ToolBank model of lending tools and equipment to nonprofit organizations allows America’s charities to focus on their mission.

“Ours is a nation in which there is an almost limitless capacity to serve others and recover in the times of greatest need,” said Mark Brodbeck, CEO of ToolBank USA. “For two decades the ToolBank has helped in a localized capacity, and now with the support of UPS and others, we are gearing up to expand our reach to anywhere disaster strikes.”

Existing ToolBanks currently lend tools in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte and Cincinnati.

CDC Foundation wins grants

The Atlanta-based CDC Foundation recently received three grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation totaling $13.5 million to improve the lives of millions worldwide.

The grants will enable CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases to work in collaboration with partners to advance the implementation of meningitis and rotavirus vaccines, ensuring global disease protection.

“The Gates Foundation funding will allow CDC to work together with countries and international partners to assure that a strong science base is available to sustain prevention efforts,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.” “Policy makers need this type of information to justify their own investments in life-saving vaccine programs.”

The first grant provides $10 million for a five-year project in which the CDC and its partners will ensure the availability of high-quality case-based meningitis surveillance data in the sub-Saharan Africa region known as the meningitis belt.

The Gates Foundation also is providing a $1.9 million four-year grant to study the rotavirus in South Africa in children over the next four years.

Lastly, a $1.5 million, two-year grant will seek to improve the diagnostic tools to allow for the detection of common rotavirus strains and how to make vaccines most effective in the treatment of children.

“We are very appreciative of the generous investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in these critical programs that will protect people and save lives,” said Charlie Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “With the experts at CDC and partners in Africa, we will advance the prevention of disease, disability and death through immunization.

One America event

Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, a graduate of Spelman College, will be in Atlanta Feb. 11 to join Points of Light and JPMorgan Chase at a “One America” event to provide students and their families with information about job preparedness.

The “One America” campaign includes a yearlong national volunteer service tour that is inspiring millions to unite in service to their communities. Atlanta is the seventh stop on the tour, and it is unique on its focus on job preparedness and college accessibility.

The event will take place at the New Schools at Carver beginning with registration at 4 p.m. and a speaking program at 5:30 p.m. Dennis Bega, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Education, will speak at the event.

Atlanta Women’s Foundation

Thanks to Portfolios with Purpose’s international stock picking contest, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation is the beneficiary of a $16,000 gift.

A total of 416 players from eight countries competed in the fantasy stock-picking portfolio contest. The players with the best returns on their portfolios won prize money that they were able to designate to their favorite charities.

One of those players was Emily Sanders, managing director of United Capital Financial Advisors LLC.

The players competed for a total of $198,700 in prizes.

“We are incredibly honored to be Emily’s designated recipient,” said Kelly Dolan, executive director of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. “This gift will help provide access to critical services and skills that promote economic self-sufficiency for the women and girls of Greater Atlanta.“

Portfolios with Purpose, a nonprofit founded in 2011, unites the general public with some of the world’s most renowned investors to bring global awareness to impactful philanthropic causes.

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.

1 reply
  1. George Burgan says:

    ToolBank is a tremendous organization providing a meaningful service to neighborhood groups and small organizations. A logical and noteworthy addition to their work. Kudos.Report

    Reply

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