Richmond to Establish Tool Lending Library (Part 1)

Don Gosney


The City of Richmond plans to emulate the success of the tool lending libraries of Berkeley and Oakland by offering residents the opportunity to borrow the kinds of tools they might need to maintain their homes.

Before going into the details of the Lending Library, let’s go back to February when the City was awarded $30,000 in grant funds to help our community rehabilitate their homes:


Richmond One of Seven Cities to Win City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA “Love Your Block” Award of $30,000 and Human Capital; Additional Cities to Join New Cohort of "Love Your Block" Cities Using Impact Volunteering

FEBRUARY 11, 2015 – Cities of Service today announced grants to seven U.S. cities as part of its new “City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block” program. Through a competitive process, Richmond was one of the seven cities selected to receive $30,000 and dedicated full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to support neighborhood revitalization projects fueled by “impact volunteering” – Cities of Services’ signature approach for harnessing volunteers to deliver measurable community impact.

The Cities of Service "City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block" program incentivizes local governments to engage communities in neighborhood revitalization efforts benefiting low-income areas. Using the Cities of Service Love Your Block blueprint, mayors and city executives are equipped with the tools to engage citizen volunteers and local nonprofits in co-creating solutions to urban blight. Cities of Service will administer the grant program, made possible with support from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). 

"We’ve seen great success in cities already using impact volunteering and the Love Your Block model, and were excited to see promising city-led programs that thoughtfully engage residents in revitalizing their communities." said Myung J. Lee, Executive Director of Cities of Service. "Thanks to our partners at the Corporation for National and Community Service, we get to see what happens when cities build on that initiative with human capital support from AmeriCorps VISTAs.”

“This partnership is an outstanding example of how city leaders are increasingly turning to national service and volunteering as a cost-effective strategy to tackle local challenges and make their cities better places to work and live,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “The City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block program is a win all-around: it improves health and public safety, strengthens neighborhoods, expands economic opportunity, and brings city residents closer together.  We thank Cities of Service for leading this initiative and congratulate the cities selected for recognizing the power of citizen service to solve local problems.”   


Richmond, Calif. Mayor Tom Butt and city staff will organize and host collaborative engagement and planning sessions, focusing on the North Richmond and Parchester neighborhoods serving public housing residents and multi-generational families living below the city’s median income level. The City of Richmond will use Love Your Block to further support improvement of Richmond’s inner city, and to build on the success of the neighborhood 

Cities of Service is a national nonprofit that supports mayors and city executives to design and implement high-impact volunteering initiatives that can apply to multiple issues from supporting youth and education to sustainability. It provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources, and funding opportunities. Founded by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, Cities of Service is a nonpartisan coalition which currently supports a coalition of 205 cities in the U.S. and UK whose mayors are committed to engaging citizen volunteers to solve local pressing challenges. Cities of Service helps coalition cities share solutions, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as spreads awareness about meaningful work happening in cities. Visit to get involved, and follow @citiesofservice on Twitter.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

Richmond, Calif. Mayor Tom Butt said: “I am thrilled Richmond is one of seven cities selected by Cities of Service to be a part of its new Love Your Block cohort. As newly elected mayor, this award of funding and a dedicated AmeriCorps member supports two of my administration’s priority areas:  quality of life and environment and sustainability.  The program supports our efforts to engage Richmond citizens and groups in our underserved communities and to scale existing neighborhood revitalization projects.”

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