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Support 254 Growing Timebanks in the US and NZ

by Time Dollar Institute, Inc. dba TimeBanks USA
Support 254 Growing Timebanks in the US and NZ
LinkUp DC to host first Gathering in January 2020
LinkUp DC to host first Gathering in January 2020

Happy Holidays from TimeBanks USA! 

We can hardly believe we are wrapping up the year 2019.  What has 2019 been like for you? We’re writing to let you know how grateful we are for your support and give you great news on our progress this year.

First off, we’re excited to share that “Gathering With A Purpose” is happening! 

As the home of timebanking, we have seen timebanks go from the start-up phase to thriving, actively exchanging communities, transforming individual lives through real connection.  It’s magic when it happens - as many of the 50 Timebanking Stories in 50 Days illustrate. If you haven’t heard our founder Edgar Cahn’s podcast series on the 50 Stories yet, listen to this week’s story by clicking on the link below.

And yet, some timebank initiatives fail to gain traction in some communities.  One reason is that people feel strange when they do timebank exchanges for the first time — exchanging a time credit for an hour of help.  It’s not money. It’s not volunteering. It’s not barter. Just time for time. It is so intuitively attractive and fair. And yet, in practice, so new and often a bit unsettling.   

Getting going hinges on people being willing to step out of their comfort zones to do something they haven’t done before.  

That’s what Gathering With A Purpose was designed for: an opportunity to explore what timebanking is with a small group of neighbors or colleagues, then to jump into action to try it out, make a few exchanges to see how it feels, and, finally, to share stories about what felt good, what felt strange, what worked, what didn’t, and what was learned. Like the proverbial training wheels on a bike, it’s an opportunity to see how it feels and works before taking on the much bigger challenge of doing the real thing. 

This year, five timebanks held their first Gatherings in Indiana, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and in our hometown, Washington, DC.  It turns out that this new workshop, designed for new timebanks, also works wonders for timebanks that were once humming with activity and have lost energy when they lost their leadership. 

Here’s what we’ve learned so far--

  • In Indiana, CoThrive Timebank Network Founder Kathy was near burnout, overextended in her part-time coordinator role and feeling unsupported as members had previously not responded to her requests for help with leadership. After the first Gathering, more existing members (and new recruits) were drawn by a sense of shared purpose and more easily integrated into key functional leadership roles. The timebank experienced a surge in momentum as a result of this focus and bolstered support. 
  • In Pennsylvania, the 13-year old Neighbor-2-Neighbor Timebank transitioned from the Lehigh Valley Hospital to a new host, a Community Organization, last year.  Leading timebank members and organizational staff and management who attended the Gathering gave it a high five, saying that it gave them an opportunity to reconnect -- and to more deeply understand what was involved.  New ideas sprung up and an appreciation for what could be achieved was expressed at their first Gathering.  They are now seeking to get AmeriCorps personnel to help with organizational support.
  • In Florida, the Tampa Bay Time Bank used it to re-energize their leadership and have decided that they want to hold the next Gathering in the Spring.
  • In California, Sheryl is using the Gathering to reinvigorate the Sobrante Park TimeBank with a new sponsor, the Roots Community Clinic. The organization's coordination and recruitment of residents has been slower to get off the ground than was expected; however, the training of staff has been excellent -- and includes outreach strategies to reach the residents.
  • In Washington, DC, the 9-year old DC TimeBank has hosted several Gatherings. Some participants have been familiar with timebanking, and for some, it has been completely new.  Each of the Gatherings has led to rich exploring of possibilities.  One enthused participant said: "I just wish we could have more get-togethers like this." Four have been scheduled for January: one in Alexandria, VA, one in a neighborhood that sits right beside the United States Supreme Court, a third in a Jewish Congregation, and a fourth one at the University of the DC.

These are the seeds of a movement.  So often, the leadership role falls on one coordinator.  Gathering With A Purpose inspires people to jump in — and to trust that others will do it with them. As many coordinators will attest, it takes awhile for a group of people to get to the place where timebanking feels natural and comfortable, and it takes work by the timebank founding team to help the timebank get there.

With timebanking, there’s always something new to learn, as our founder Edgar Cahn shared, upon recently learning what a scoby is:


“Think of the TimeBank as an organizational scoby that produces a kind of social fermentation. And that timebank form of kombucha is rich with probiotics like empathy, empowerment, and a passion for justice.  The good news is you don’t have to buy a scoby to make kombucha. You can just combine the ingredients and let them ferment. There are do-it-yourself guides on the internet to create a scoby. And there are do-it-yourself instructions to create a timebank scoby.  Use them.” 

We look forward to what the Gatherings will open up for timebank communities in the new year.  

Leadership growth, new discoveries, a renewal of energy - it is truly magical to see what these seeds will create and what we can do for each other. 

Gathering With A Purpose - A Journey
Gathering With A Purpose - A Journey


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Timebanking in Spain
Timebanking in Spain

Greetings from Washington, DC!

It’s been a beautiful Spring this year over here, and we have exciting news to share with you since we last wrote in December.

Timebank Anniversaries

Just over a month ago, the Banco del Tiempo led the 20th anniversary celebration of timebanking in Spain.  Pictured above is Belen Alvarez, timebank coordinator, and timebanking founder Edgar Cahn at dinner in Madrid during the celebration.  Born almost blind, Belen is a timebank coordinator in love with timebanking and the way it has opened opportunities for her and so many others by valuing all that people have to give.  Timebanking was brought to Spain in 1999 by Elvira Mendez, initially as part of the women’s movement during a time when the country was recovering from Franco’s fascist government.  Elvira was inspired by timebanking’s emphasis on people’s strengths and its way of supporting families through community ties that grow through giving and receiving.  It’s exciting to see that 20 years later, the timebank is holding strong in the Spanish community. Go to our Instagram page by clicking on the link below to see more from the 20th year celebration.

After joining the celebration in Spain, TimeBanks USA’s Edgar Cahn and Christine Gray headed over to Southwest England, where the Fair Shares timebank, the oldest timebank in the UK, turned 21 years old! They met with friends, Martin Simon, who started Fair Shares and then went on to lead Timebanking UK, and Sarah Bird, who is now Timebanking UK’s CEO.  It was a sunny day with a chill April wind, a great time catching up in the “outdoor office” of Timebanking UK in Stroud, with its small garden, pictured below.  Edgar and Christine also had a chance to catch up with old friend, David Boyle, author of the book, “Funny Money”, who introduced timebanking to London 21 years ago as well.  Recently, David convened a meeting on Co-Production with students and clinicians at London South Bank University.

Closer to home, the Phoenixville Area Timebank proudly celebrated their 15th anniversary in April. Current board chair, Diana Baldi, celebrated the work of founders Joel Bartlett and Margo Ketchum, and thanked them for their dedicated leadership over the years. To date, the timebank has exchanged over 41,000 hours!

First Annual International Timebanking Day

With all that is happening with the timebank movement in different pockets of the world, the global movement held its first international timebanking day this year – a day that we all get to celebrate together worldwide – on March 23rd, birthday of timebanking founder Edgar Cahn. People everywhere shared their stories of how using time as currency has impacted their lives and redefined their understanding of the words, “stranger”, “work”, and “value”.  Lenore Eklund, who made the documentary film, “Time as Money”, shared:


"Today is the first International Timebanking Day! Timebanking was something I got involved in when I was living in Los Angeles. I loved the concept that everyone had something to offer no matter what. Services were traded for time dollars, a currency with no scarcity. I earned time dollars doing yard work, being a dog nanny and even jumping out of closets to surprise guests at a Halloween party. I spent time dollars to have someone watch my bird while I was away, getting rides to the airport and so many things to put together our wedding.
I was so fascinated by time banking and the awesome community around it, I put together a documentary about it. I often think about the core values of time banking being at home with a medically complex child over the last 2 and a half years. Not being able to work or give has been incredibly hard on me. But then I remind myself that the work that I do caring for, advocating and supporting Charlee has such a deeper value.
So much gratitude to everyone we met through this community and to founder, Edgar Cahn and Christine Gray and all their work they do with TimeBanks USA.

Edgar also celebrated #timebankingday by launching a weekly series of podcasts, reflecting on the 50 timebanking stories that TimeBanks USA collected from timebankers.  Listen to Edgar’s reflections by clicking on the link below.

So many stories shared, each one a reminder of why we do what we do at TimeBanks USA, supporting timebanks around the world, giving them the tools to create community and building a network of support for the worldwide movement.

We thank you again for helping us create limitless possibilities for communities in different parts of the world with your support. 

Thank you for being the kind of person who not only cares, but cares enough to take action. Your contribution puts in motion an intangible gift that speaks to the core of being human and of honoring each individual’s inherent value. Please take time to consider the depth and breadth of your contribution the next time you choose to contribute, and know that you are making an impactful difference in our world. We are eternally grateful for your support.

Timebanking in UK
Timebanking in UK


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Planting bulbs in the Fall
Planting bulbs in the Fall

Here we are at the end of the year.  This year went flying and just like that, winter is approaching in this northern hemisphere.  It’s a good time, we hope, to bring you this update on our progress.

First off, we hope you enjoy these photos from the garden of timebanking founder, Edgar Cahn.  For Edgar, it is so much more than “just a garden”. It is, every year, a story of investment, emergence, flowering, growth, and a gift from him to the community.  

The garden speaks so much of what timebanking is and how the year 2018 has unfolded for the timebank community.

This has been a fruitful year for TimeBanks USA.  We took big steps towards assuring the financial sustainability of the organization, so that the timebank movement would continue to grow and be supported.  

Your contributions helped us establish a new revenue stream to help pay for the costs of Community Weaver timebanking software - a shared resource provided by TimeBanks USA that facilitates the time exchanges and community building - through the new fee structure.

Implementing the New Fee Structure

Since 2015, we have provided timebanks with Community Weaver timebanking software at no charge -- and moving over to being fee-based in 2018 has been a significant change.  We implemented the new fee structure over the summer when we last wrote to you, and the show of support from timebanks has been uplifting. Here’s one of many supportive messages that came with payments:  "WITH LOVE! (Sent a check so you don't have to pay PayPal fees)", wrote Stacey, a longtime timebank leader.

As of today, 66 timebanks have sent $14,450 to help cover software costs for the last six months of 2018.  We are now preparing to send invoices for the next 6 months, continuing to move towards sustainability, and want to thank you for your support in making this possible.

Together, Building Caring Economies

The support coming from our timebank community through their payments is integral to keeping the infrastructure that timebanks rely upon to continue building local caring economies where everyone - across differences in income, race, religion, age, gender, or ideology - is valued.

We want to share with you an example of this great work, which comes from the West Seattle Timebank. When anti-semitism reared up in the community, timebank members stepped up in the true spirit of the core values of timebanking to organize a local community demonstration of unity, followed by scrubbing clean the defacing anti-semitic spray-painted messages.  Click on the link at the bottom of this email to read more.


To you our donor, thank you for making this work possible.  And to our timebank communities, a big thanks for making your CW payments and helping support the software.   If you are among the coordinators who made additional donations on your own, we are adding an extra thank you.  We appreciate the work you do every day, nurturing your communities like a garden.

From the home of timebanking, it is amazing to hear the stories of individual lives transformed, watch your timebanks grow, and see your communities bloom.

To quote TBUSA leader, Christine Gray, "What a great metaphor for Timebanking.  So often, so hard to predict. So often, so amazingly magical and transformative. It takes leadership. It takes work. It takes vision. But if the investment is true, the results are amazing."


The TimeBanks USA Team

Peonies in the Spring
Peonies in the Spring


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The Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank's Leadership Team
The Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank's Leadership Team

Happy August from the TimeBanks USA Team in sweltering Washington, DC! Summer is in full swing over here with the hot and humid air.

It’s now almost a year since we launched the crowdfund campaign in September 2017 – an effort to strengthen the supports for people and organizations who are rebuilding their communities with the use of time as currency.

So much has changed since then! We’re happy to report on our progress.

In-person connections that are at the heart of timebanking happen with the help of timebanking software. In today’s modern age, online software makes it that much easier to connect with the people in your community, find the help you need, let people know what you can give, and track the hours you have exchanged. Software provides so much value but it also costs money to maintain and improve for the continued use of timebanking communities across the US and New Zealand.

Your contribution to our GlobalGiving campaign has enabled TimeBanks USA to chart a path towards a sustainable future for the timebank movement, including the sustainability of Community Weaver (CW) software which is integral to running a timebank.

We reached out to the leaders of our community of timebanks through a survey and had several community-wide discussions over the phone to weigh the different options put forward for how timebank communities would help sustain the costs of CW timebanking software. The feedback from timebank coordinators was rich and extensive. This process has made one thing clear: to sustain the timebank community, we needed to make a change!

After all the voices were heard, we finally arrived at the community’s majority choice: timebanks would help pay for the costs of the software by paying fees based on the size of their membership. As one timebank coordinator expressed, “Set fees help timebanks plan for expenses and fold into their budgets.”

We are excited to share that we are now rolling out that change!

This summer, the first invoices will be going out to timebanks. Twelve timebanks have already sent their payments in advance! Abby, a longtime timebank leader who made the first payment and has always been on the forefront, wrote, “We can turn a drop into a stream.”

That stream is starting to build. We are heading towards a community-supported movement and it’s exciting for us to share this forward motion with you.

Thank you for being part of our journey by contributing to the infrastructure that timebanks rely upon to build their local communities.  We hope you will continue supporting our work.

We’d like to end again with the 5 core values that timebanking stands for, as we did in our last update to you, because they are such great reminders of the kind of world we want to live in and are creating:

  1. Everyone has something to give
  2. Family, community, and home are real work that counts
  3. Receiving is as powerful as giving: It’s a two-way street!
  4. We are not alone, we have each other, we are a community
  5. True respect builds decency, caring, and a passion for justice


The TimeBanks USA Team

P.S. Also we will soon be launching the first of a series of trainings called “Gathering With A Purpose” to help new timebanks find their footing faster. We’re looking forward to sharing more about that next time.


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DC TimeBank exchange with Caitlin Jan 2018
DC TimeBank exchange with Caitlin Jan 2018

Happy first day of Spring! 

Coming off our September 2017 Accelerator campaign to bring emergency funds to support TimeBank’s USA’s work building the infrastructure for the timebanking movement, we extended the project and raised the goal from $10,000 to $25,000 to secure funding for the first quarter of 2018.  Here we are towards the end of the first quarter!

Here’s an update on the campaign and the impact of your contribution.

We have raised to date $12,367 from members of our timebank community and from supporters who love the idea of timebanking, with an additional $1,064 in matching funds to be given by GlobalGiving.  The campaign has helped tremendously in bringing awareness about what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to support a growing movement that builds strong communities that value EVERY person by using time as currency.

We are using this time with the help of the funds you contributed to put in place a sustainable structure that will ensure that the movement is supported over time, including covering the costs to continue providing Community Weaver timebanking software that makes timebanking easy and accessible.  Our Board of Directors made a decision in December 2017 to seek out a reliable source of income to assure the software’s dependability, with community support as an integral part of the solution.

Community Weaver itself was shaped and designed by timebank coordinators who have guided its development with consistent feedback based on experience through the years.  It is an exciting time to be moving from Community Weaver’s creation and initial investment and development stage into a community-supported system.  As Edgar Cahn, Founder and Board Chair, has said, we are on the path “to assure the sustainability of Community Weaver for individual timebanks and the future of the timebank movement.”

In February, we took the first big step towards that goal by reaching out to our community of timebanks using Community Weaver software.

We sent out a survey to over 500 timebank coordinators to seek their feedback and held three conference calls to open the discussion community-wide.  85 people responded to the survey – some as individual timebank coordinators, and some on behalf of their timebank’s leadership.  It has been a pleasure hearing the voices of timebank coordinators in the US and New Zealand as together we have talked through the different options of:

  • how we can collectively support the infrastructure that timebanks depend on
  • what it’s worth to use good and easy-to-use timebanking software
  • how timebanks might contribute to its sustainability now and into the future

The feedback from our timebank community has been so valuable. The TimeBanks USA Sustainability Team is carefully considering all the feedback and will be making a recommendation to our Board.

Thank you so much again for the resources you have given to help the timebank community move forward towards a sustainable future, and for helping timebanks create healthy and happy communities with the practice of the 5 core values of timebanking:

  1. Everyone has something to give
  2. Family, community, and home are real work that counts
  3. Receiving is as powerful as giving: It’s a two-way street!
  4. We are not alone, we have each other, we are a community
  5. True respect builds decency, caring, and a passion for justice

 We will keep you posted on our progress!



The TimeBanks USA Team


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Organization Information

Time Dollar Institute, Inc. dba TimeBanks USA

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TimeBanksUSA
Project Leader:
Pam de Ocampo
Washington, DC United States
$19,367 raised of $30,000 goal
211 donations
$10,633 to go
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