Transition Cotati Launches a Time Bank

An update from Judith Newton of Transition Cotati in California on the recent launch of their Time Bank pilot project.

No one needs to tell you our economy is foundering, with high unemployment, the mortgage crisis, and other woes.  And our society faces challenging social problems as well, which lead to a tragic loss of human potential.

Children, minorities in poverty, and the elderly are especially hard hit. In these and other areas of social and economic need, Time Banking offers a powerful new tool for social and systems change. 

Several of us in Sonoma County (Northern California) came to the idea of a Time Bank at about the same moment. In a confluence of energy and intention, Transition Cotati has launched a pilot Time Bank initiative in partnership with GoLocal, our local BALLE chapter, as well as some faculty and staff at Sonoma State University.    
Time Banks are based on the simplest math imaginable: one hour = one hour. This means that for every hour that you perform a service for me, you are owed one.  For instance, you could cut my hair, and you could use the Time Dollar you earned to have someone update your website.   It’s fundamentally a pay-it-forward way to do things, and it is easy to keep track of all the Time Dollars earned and spent, as well as service offers and requests, via the Community Weaver software that comes with the trial membership.
There are never any monetary values attached to anyone’s time, and this really levels the playing field. A lawyer's hour is valued the same as a housekeeper's.  Imagine that!  And it also means that Time Banking is officially outside of IRS oversight.
We are enthused about the Time Bank as a means to increase resilience in our community across many sectors.  Not only will people get economic benefit from being part of an economy which operates without dollars, but they can also gain resilience implicit in the trades they set up, as well as reaping the greater interpersonal connectedness which comes from engaging in Time Banking.  
This has been a great collaborative effort so far, with lots of potential that has yet to be explored. Stay tuned for more updates as the Sonoma County Time Bank grows and evolves!

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