Our Charity. Our Community.

Tool Lending Program

The heart of Chicago Community Tools (CT) is our tool lending program. Nonprofit organizations have year-round access to CT’s inventory of tools and equipment for a nominal fee. Our tools are only available to nonprofit organizations, community groups, and organizations, such as:

Nonprofit/Charitable/Tax-exempt organizations
Schools and PTAs/PTOs
Neighborhood associations
Faith-based groups
Civic organizations
Government agencies

CT tools are inexpensive, convenient, and fully functional, maximizing agencies’ financial and human resources and empowering them to improve community engagement and to achieve greater impact for those they serve.

How It Works

  1. Become a Chicago Community Tools Member Agency: First-time borrowers must complete our brief online membership application before they can borrow tools. There is currently no membership fee. This process captures documentation of their not-for-profit status and creates a user account for the agency contact in our online tool ordering system.  Please note that you must have a credit card on file in your account with Stripe, our payment processor, before you can reserve tools.
  2. Submit a Tool Order: Agency logs in to their Chicago Community Tools account and submits a tool order online.
  3. Pick Up Tools: Agency picks up their tool order at Chicago Community Tools at their scheduled pickup time.  CT staff and volunteers have already prepared the order in advance and help the agency load tools and equipment into their vehicles¹. CT staff provides the agency with usage and care guidelines and an itemized receipt.
  4. Return Tools: After the completion of the project, the agency returns borrowed tools at the scheduled return time. CT staff and volunteers assist the agency in unloading tools and check tools back into inventory¹.

¹ Due to current COVID-19 Pandemic, we will be maintaining proper social distancing and cannot help load or unload tools from members’ vehicles.  We hope you understand these temporary measures.

Fee Structure

Agencies are required to pay a tool handling fee to borrow CT tools and equipment.  The fees are based on returning the tools within one week.  Returning the tools as early as possible within the week helps us serve more agencies.

Tool Handling Fee = 8% of the retail value of each tool borrowed x # of weeks borrowed

For example, an agency borrows 30 rakes for one week. Assuming the replacement value for the item in our tool ordering system is $9.98, the tool handling fee for one rake is $0.80 per week. The total tool handling fee is $23.95.

$23.95 = 0.08 x 9.98 x 30

In addition to tool handling fees, agencies may also incur late fees, replacement fees, and cleaning fees – all of which are easily avoidable. To learn more about our fees and other policies specific to our tool lending program, click on the button below to enter our lending platform.

Please note that we are working on getting our entire inventory added to the lending platform.  We are only about 1/3 done.  If you are familiar with our inventory, and you want to borrow a tool not listed, please call or put it in the comments for your reservation.