A Legacy

 J o i n   E d g a r ‘ s   L e g a c y

Plant Seeds of Change!

Edgar’s lifelong commitment to social justice, his wisdom and kindness, and his untiring energy inspired so many others to invest their own hearts, minds and hands in creating a world where “we are all leaders for change”.

  • Share YOUR OWN STORY of Edgar’s impact on your life.
  • Spread Edgar’s Legacy of making change with your community.  This has powerful ripple effects!

March 23, 2022 is declared as Edgar Cahn Day in Washington, DC.  Read the ceremonial resolution.

“There is a value in just ‘being’ who you are that systems do not create, cannot define or control, and may not necessarily satisfy what one wants.  The freedom ‘to be’ is at the heart of those so-called inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Exercising those rights may need protection.  But ‘to be’ means that one matters, that one’s existence makes a difference.”

-Edgar Cahn


Edgar Cahn would always ask, “Is there something that you’d like to make happen?  What do you want to create?  Where do we go from here?” 

This will sound familiar to many of us who have crossed paths with him.  Every day, Edgar made the conscious decision to pursue his passion for justice, and he recognized the same yearning for justice in those he met, their own desire to take action for a better world.  One of his favorite sayings was that the way to radical transformation is by setting in motion things you do not control. With that visionary spirit, he has either “set in motion” or, at the very least, was an active force in the following, in chronological order:

  • a federally funded national system of legal services for the poor called the Legal Services Corporation
  • fundamental reforms to a costly federal food program that left hunger blooming, untouched, while the coffers of well-connected farmers grew fat
  • the push by Native American tribes to hold on to their sovereignty as nations within the nation
  • a whole new approach to legal education by law schools nationwide first implemented by the Antioch School of Law, the school Edgar co-founded that is now the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
  • Timebanking, a new way of linking untapped social capacity to unmet social needs and for communities to come together to help promote trust, reciprocity, and citizen engagement
  • and yes, a magical garden, that was more than “just a garden.”  It was, every year, a story.  It’s a story of investment, emergence, flowering, and growth. 

Edgar Cahn passed away on the morning of January 23, 2022 at age 86, leaving behind an immense legacy of making revolutionary change by planting seeds wherever his heart, mind, and soul were invested.

He embodied the highest ideals of mobilizing communities to come together to express their strengths and to restore mutual care, and build lives of joy and dignity for all.

Edgar changed the world of law in the United States, and created timebanking as a beautiful expression of his passion for justice, which has now been adopted worldwide in 42 countries.

If timebanking is the part of Edgar’s Legacy that you know and love — let us introduce you to his other amazing accomplishments in the world of law. These are the rich earth out of which timebanking grew.

If you’re a lawyer who was inspired by Edgar’s vision of law’s possibilities, here is a glimpse into the future that Edgar tirelessly promoted and worked for – where anyone could help change the world for the better, and where the law is there for all of us, not just a few.

In the spirit of Edgar Cahn, we wish to carry on his legacy by helping you plant your own seeds of change.

“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

LEARN ABOUT EDGAR’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. Send us your dream project to “plant seeds” in your community.  Share Edgar’s Legacy with your community to show what’s possible.  Pitch in by donating. The funds we raise will be dedicated as seed funding for the project that is selected to receive the “SEEDS OF CHANGE” Legacy Award.

This is our way of supporting change makers like you make lasting impact through Edgar’s Legacy.

Dr. Artika Tyner

Founder of Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute and TimeBanks.Org Board Member


Throughout your life, you’ve dedicated yourself to instilling a commitment to justice in your students and to expanding possibility for people across our country.  I hope you take pride in the difference you have made and in all you have achieved, and I trust you and the people you have taught and inspired will continue reaching for the future we both know is possible.”

President Barack Obama

Mashi Blech

Timebank Director, HealthFirst, New York

Philippe Granger

CEO, Rushey Green Time Bank, London

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Martin Simon

Founder of Timebanking UK

“Today the Legal Services Corporation is the country’s single largest funder of civil legal aid programs. We fund 134 independent legal aid programs with more than 800 offices serving every county in every state, and the American territories as well. No matter where you are in the United States, there is an LSC‐funded legal aid program serving low‐income people. Edgar did that.

What explains Edgar’s success? Why has he had such a profound influence?

The answer starts, I think, with Edgar’s brilliance. This holder of three graduate degrees from Yale – an M.A., a Ph.D., and a J.D. – is scary smart. But I believe his impact is even more the result of his personal character and the values that infuse his work. There has always been complete consistency between who Edgar is as a person and what he does for a living. He has a passion for justice and a personal commitment to redressing injustice. He has a deep faith in the dignity, value, and virtue of  every person. He looks for and finds the good in people, and he motivates positively, not negatively. He has an approach to the law that is rooted in respect for the client, every client, no matter what his or her station in life. And he has a generosity of spirit that pervades everything he does. READ MORE.

James J. Sandman

President, Legal Services Corporation


Choose one or more of seven ways to take action below.


    • Spread awareness of Edgar Cahn’s Life and Legacy with your friends, family, colleagues, and fellow changemakers and dreammakers.  This has powerful ripple effects!
    • Share YOUR OWN STORY of how Edgar touched your life by submitting the form below or tag us on social media with #edgarcahnlegacy
    • Share YOUR IMPACT on others through your work if Edgar inspired you by submitting the form below or tag us on social media with #edgarcahnlegacy
    • Join your local timebank, or start one in your community. 
    • Plant a thousand more seeds of change through your own initiative, with support from the matching funds campaign.  In 500 words or less, give us a brief description of your project, who you hope to impact, and what kind of support would help you make it a reality. Send it to community@timebanks.org by April 30, 2022.  After review, we will send you an application to apply for Edgar’s Legacy “Seeds of Change” Award.
    • Share Edgar’s Legacy with your friends and anyone who might be moved.  It bears repeating that sharing on your social media channels is a really simple but effective way of helping get the word out that planting seeds touches lives.