An organized way to “pay it forward” through a network of neighbors helping neighbors
If you need something done, you make a request to your neighbors for some of their time via the TimeBank. Other neighbors who are willing to help out respond to your request – and the circle of giving begins…
For every hour you invest doing something for someone, you receive a “TimeBank Credit” for one hour… You exchange your “credit hour” later for an hour of service from anyone else in the TimeBank (not just from the person for whom you did something). That person then receives an hour in their “TimeBank account” and the circle continues...
Services could be receiving help around the house, lessons, companionship, transportation, sharing of garden tools, etc. The possibilities are limited only by imagination!
Roots in Hospital and the London School of Economics
While modern TimeBanking was created over thirty years ago, it is a new concept to many of us. On the surface the premise seems simple, but when looked at more deeply, timebanking values time equally and increases access to wealth and community. In the end, we hope to achieve the rather large goal of reweaving community.
The roots of Time Banking extend back to the creation of Time Dollars™ in 1980 when Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, co-founder of the National Legal Services Program, author of “Our Brother’s Keeper,” and founder of the Antioch School of Law, suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 46. Recuperating in the hospital and “feeling useless,” he dreamed up Time Dollars as a new currency to provide a solution to massive cuts in government spending on social welfare. If there was not going to be enough of the old money to fix all the problems facing our country and our society, Edgar reasoned, why not make a new kind of money to pay people for what needs to be done? Time Dollars value everyone’s contributions equally. One hour equals one TimeDollar. Seven years later (in 1987) at the London School of Economics, Edgar developed his theoretical explanation for why the currency should work.
Expansion of this Alternative Currency
TimeBanks USA has been working ever since to expand the idea of this alternative economic system. There are also other organizations who champion the concept in similar ways. Timebanks are now active throughout the United States and internationally as well. Every Timebank is unique, however.