A Repair and Reuse grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality can be transformative for a small business or nonprofit.
“The DEQ was great to work with, I can say that,” said Willa Bauman, operations manager at the ToolBox Project in Eugene. The nonprofit runs a tool library, where members borrow tools instead of books. “If you are in a similar boat and you’re a grassroots, all-volunteer nonprofit and you need that step up to start to grow your organization and look to the future definitely apply for a DEQ grant.”
DEQ started taking applications from small businesses and nonprofits focused on repair and reuse earlier this spring. Applications for 2020 are due by June 5.
This year DEQ has $120,000 to award in grants up to $10,000 each. DEQ recently broadened eligible costs covered through the Repair and Reuse grant program to address the challenges faced by small businesses and nonprofits trying to retain employees during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The ToolBox Project earned a Repair and Reuse grant in 2017. The funding helped the nonprofit be open for another day each week, hire Bauman and add more tools to its collection.
“That made us more accessible to members,” Bauman said. “That meant that we could serve more people.”
Membership in the ToolBox Project went up by 42% during the grant window.More members means more revenue for the ToolBox Project. Members are asked to give an annual donation, with the suggested donation varying by household income. For example, members whose annual household income is more than $100,000 are asked to donate $100 per year and members whose household income is between $30,000 and $50,000 are asked to donate $30 per year.
The ToolBox Project now has a collection of about more than 1,500 tools, Bauman said.
To be eligible for a Repair and Reuse grant from DEQ, an Oregon business or nonprofit must repair, salvage, refurbish or resell common consumer goods such as clothing, electronics and furniture, or have a reuse focus. DEQ defines “reuse” as the return of a commodity into the economic stream for use in the same kind of application as originally intended.
Along with the ToolBox Project past grantees are JD’s Shoe Repair and Salvage Works in Portland, The Renewal Workshop in Cascade Locks and Garten Services in Salem.
“We encourage all repair and reuse businesses and nonprofits in Oregon to check out this grant opportunity and see if it’s a good fit for their business,” said Marie Diodati, DEQ Materials Management program analyst. “With so much uncertainly and turmoil affecting Oregon businesses right now, we hope this grant offers some relief and hope to those trying to stay afloat.”
For more information about the grants and for application material go to ordeq.org/RepairandReuseGrants .
– Dylan Darling, public affairs specialist