Edgar Cahn’s Legacy

seeds of change

Hear the personal stories of individuals whose life and work have been touched by Edgar and learn about their impact on others today.


When Edgar Cahn launched his Racial Justice Initiative in 2009 with support from the Kellogg Foundation, he called on Keri Nash to make it happen. Hear Keri share Edgar’s profound influence on her life and work today. 

Jerome Scriptunas

“Do something.” A conversation with Edgar Cahn inspired Jerome Scriptunas to build Youth Timebanking in New Jersey. His initiative is now reaching and empowering youth in Jamaica, Uganda, Cameroon, and Mongolia. Just phenomenal!

Stephanie Rearick

Stephanie Rearick was Edgar Cahn’s co-conspirator for so many years (just watch till the end of the video!) – always engaged in changing the world from a systems level. In a world of differences, Stephanie shares her most memorable moments with Edgar and how much he was a part of starting her organization, Humans United in Mutual Aid Networks.

Abby Greer

After reading Edgar Cahn’s “Time Dollars”, it changed Abby Greer’s life. She saw the vision and then went on to build it – a thriving community of people forging bonds using time as currency, AND getting their needs met!

How lucky are we at TimeBanks.Org that Abby is now on our team, bringing the richness of her experience to our global community.

Martin Simon and Reyaz Limalia

Martin Simon, Founder of Timebanking UK , remembers his old friend, Edgar Cahn, and shares this amazing story and tribute to Reyaz Limalia of the Fair Shares Time Banks in England.

Kathy Perlow

Kathy Perlow shares her journey from running the timebank at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania to taking on the reins from Edgar Cahn as Board Chair of TimeBanks.Org

We’re grateful to have Kathy lead our organization at such a pivotal time.

Philippe Granger

“Edgar’s energy won’t stop. We have to keep going.” If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with Edgar Cahn, Philippe Granger sums it up perfectly. Edgar lit up your own desire to take risks, to “just try it!” And see where that takes you.

Karla Ballard

Karla Ballard connected deeply with Edgar Cahn’s involvement with indigenous communities and built Ying on their shared values of reciprocity and living in abundance as a way of supporting each other in a powerful way.

A lot of what Edgar did with timebanking “really started with the fact that he recognized the power of indigenous economics and how we all come with this beautiful gift in the world whatever that skill might be,” Karla shares.

Arnold Murray

Friendships begin in safe spaces. Arnold Murray shares how Edgar Cahn inspired him to create the talk zone with the DC TimeBank.

“Like clean air and water, we have always taken family and neighborhood and community for granted. Increasingly, we are having to buy foster care and kinship care and elder care. And the systems providing that care are breaking down. We need to invest in rebuilding family, neighborhood, community, and civil society. Why wait for a dying, archaic system to fix itself? We have plenty of people, plenty of work to be done, and an equal time on this Earth. We can do better.”

– Edgar Cahn


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Edgar Cahn has been a presence throughout my entire career. I first met Edgar when I was 23 and a second-year law student at Columbia Law School. I am now 81, so knew Edgar for 58 years.”

Richard Granat, Esq.

I will miss him as a friend and a mentor. The fact that so many people considered Edgar a friend and a mentor tells you a lot about who he was as a person.

In law school, I had co-founded an organization called the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, whose purpose was to finance summer internships for law students with civil rights lawyers. Our law student organization came to Edgar’s attention. He invited our team to Washington, D.C, to participate in a national conference on Poverty and the Law. During this period, Edgar was Sargent Shriver’s primary speechwriter and helped create the Office of Economic Opportunity – the poverty program.

When I graduated from law school, Edgar helped me get a job as a lawyer in the Office of General Counsel of the Office of Economic Opportunity. During this first year, I also became counsel to the still-nascent Legal Services Program with Edgar’s support. This assignment has shaped my career ever since and my ideas about access to the legal system for all.

After leaving OEO, I was involved in some other job assignments that detoured me from legal services, but in 1975, I reconnected with Edgar when he and Jean Camper Cahn, his then-wife, were running Antioch Law School.

I helped them create a paralegal training program within the law school and developed a new Master’s degree program in Law for Non-Lawyers. Both programs were unprecedented innovations in legal education as no law school had sponsored such programs. At the time, the paralegal concept was new and unknown to most lawyers. Edgar saw these innovations as a pathway to access to justice.

During the years that followed, Edgar supported my activities in many ways. He was an advisor to me when I was the President of the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, one of the first paralegal training schools in the U.S.

In the mid-1990, Edgar recruited me to teach Computer Technology and the Law at the District of Columbia School of Law. I was teaching this course at several law schools and was hoping that I could mainstream this subject matter into the law school curriculum. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as law faculties then considered computer technology irrelevant to the practice of law and the Internet to be just a fad. I discussed my ideas with Edgar. He encouraged me to start a company to distribute legal applications over the Internet, which I did in 2000. These companies became very successful. Edgar was instrumental in pointing me in the right direction.

Whenever I needed career advice, I would turn to Edgar. Edgar would help me stay on the right track, pursuing a purposeful life and career in the law. I remember his kindness and capacity to listen with an open heart. I will never forget him.

I am so sad to hear of Dr. Edgar Cahn’s passing. He has been an inspiration to me. I started the West Seattle Timebank 7 years ago. I was able to do this with the assistance of the materials on the Timebanks USA website.

Tamsen Spengler

Edgar and his wife Chris came to Seattle and visited with members of our Timebank. Listening to him speak about Co-Production and how we can work with organizations and businesses in our commuity inspired us to reach out to them. We have 30 organization members now and are working towards putting Edgar’s dream of having relationships with organizations and businesses a reality. 

We will miss his wisdom and leadership tremendously.

The concepts of social justice, community health, co-production, neighborhood fostering, hunger management, Native Americans’ well-being, self-help, social welfare, equality, alternative currencies… Altogether, they are abiding concerns for the rights, welfare, and dignity of the disenfranchised. These ideas were fused together by Dr. Edgar S. Cahn and form the model for timebanking.

Jim Tate

A prolific writer and compelling speaker, Edgar Cahn possessed the eloquence, passion, and sense of humor to inspire in his audiences a sense not only that social justice matters, but that it calls for immediate action. For over four decades, his own life has stood as a model for action and as a testament to his concerns for those who are helpless, vulnerable, and destitute.

We in the timebanking community are deeply saddened by the huge loss of Dr. Cahn. He was one of a kind. He reimagined legal services, clinical education, systems change, racial justice, co-producing value; he envisioned, educated, and advocated for a better world and accomplished so much.

I met with Edgar face to face about 5 times. I was on conference calls with him 10 to 15 times, talked with him on the phone several times, exchanged emails with him, and discussed many things with him and Chris via the old TimeBanks USA Google Group. I remember providing advice and recommendations to him, the developers, and his TBUSA team about Community Weaver 1, 2, and the early stages of CW3. Now I help with the enhancement of Community Forge Hamlets.

When Edgar and Chris came to Los Angeles a few years ago, we discussed the Repair Cafe, along with YING staff, fellow OTB members like Zed Aquarian, and the Los Angeles area’s Arroyo S.E.C.O Network of Time Banks.

Dr. Cahn left a legacy that will live on. Edgar changed my life because of his care and concern for humankind, which he put into action through the various initiatives and core values of timebanking. I am a better person because of him!

He left us all better off through his insightful and loving concerns about our well-being and equality. He sprang into action and nurtured a worldwide movement. That movement is unstoppable and is helping to heal those that the money-society has left behind. Edgar Cahn, the world wasn’t ready for you to leave.

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