About Timebanks.org 

TimeBanks.org, a registered 501c3 headquartered in Washington D.C., was formed in 1995 by Dr. Edgar S. Cahn to expand the knowledge and field of timebanking and its impact on individuals, youth, families, communities, the environment, and the world.

TimeBanks.org is committed to supporting timebanks and our partners to advance timebanking, offering keynotes and presentations by timebanking founder and Timebanks.org CEO Edgar Cahn; timebank training; individualized consultation; teleconference calls; and access to numerous resources and research in the field of timebanking.

TimeBanking’s Beginnings

In 1980, Edgar Cahn created TimeBanking (which he first called service credits) as a medium of exchange aimed at encouraging and rewarding the work needed to build strong, resilient communities. As Edgar explains: “Ronald Reagan was withdrawing funding for social programs. They were closing down. I thought that if there was going to be no more of the old money to support communities, we should create a new one.” 

The Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis, MO was the first organization to use service credits. The Settlement House had formed the MORE (Member Organization Resource Exchange) program in 1981. By adding service credits to the MORE program in 1984, Grace Hill expanded the breadth and depth of clients’ activities in MORE and in doing so, provided strong evidence to Edgar that his brainchild could really work.

Service credits were later named Time Dollars, and later still they took on other names as well, such as time credits and timebank hours. The term “timebanking” was coined in the UK around 1999, because the term “time dollar” was a poor fit for countries whose currencies, like the British Pound, didn’t use the word “dollar.” Being neutral, it quickly became the preferred term, even in the United States.  

The Mission of TimeBanks.org

The mission of TimeBanks.org is: Building the timebanking movement, where time is currency, accessing the untapped assets, while fostering care, respect, and justice in our communities.

TimeBanks.org Brief History and Accomplishments

As the home of TimeBanking, TimeBanks.org  laid the foundations for an expanding network of independent TimeBanks. Since it was founded in 1995, Timebanks.org has fostered the spread of TimeBanking by providing presentations, courses, manuals, guide-books and materials, workshops, conferences, strategic planning, and mentoring for communities and organizations at grass-roots, professional, academic and policy levels. We created and now host and provide technical support for Community Weaver software, which is used to manage TimeBank activities such as listing TimeBank participants, showing their availability, logging their TimeBank activities, and providing extensive reports on levels of activity in the TimeBank.

TimeBanks.org has worked closely with organizations applying timebanking on many different fronts. Here’s a quick list:

  • young children in elementary schools, (Chicago School District)
  • teens in juvenile justice systems, (DC Superior Court, Dane County Timebank)
  • families coping with emotional disorder, (Blended Funding, King County, Washington)
  • seniors wanting to stay at home, and needing to feel they matter, (Onion River Exchange)
  • artists and musicians sharing the costs of daily living, (Arroyo Seco Timebank)
  • patients in hospice and their loved ones, (Community Exchange, LeHigh Valley Hospital, PA)
  • prisoners in and returning from jail, (The Homecomers Initiative, Phelps Stokes, DC)
  • refugees and asylum seekers seeking to rebuild community, (Holy Cross Center, London, UK)
  • social workers redefining their role from providers to co-producers, (University of Utah, Graduate School of Social Work)
  • regular, everyday people seeking to make bridges, not walls, between people, (Hundreds of timebanks)