TimeBank Mahoning Watershed

Strengthening Communities – The Integrative Potential of Time Banking

Strengthening Communities
The Integrative Potential of Time Banking   ver8.18.13
A Guest Post by Marie Wilson Nelson

Time Bank Mahoning Watershed (http://tbmw.org/) is a community service exchange or “Time Bank,” a collection of people and organizations who connect unused resources with unmet needs. Time Bank Mahoning Watershed is part of an international social change movement grounded in five core values articulated by founder Edgar S. Cahn in No More Throwaway People: The Co-Production Imperative:

  • Assets: We are all assets. Every person has something of value to offer.
  • Redefining Work: Some work is beyond price.
  • Reciprocity: Helping works better as a two-way street.
  • Social Networks: We need each other. People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust.
  • Respect: Every human matters.  When respect is denied to any, all are injured.

Acting on these values our Time Bank fulfills its mission–promoting equality and building a caring, just and sustainable community economy through inclusive exchange of time and talent. The concept is simple. Members help someone for an hour, earn an hour of credit, and spend the credit on services offered by any other member. Reweaving community one exchange at a time, they document exchanges in an online database (http://sandbox.timebanks.org) and revitalize what Cahn calls “the core economy” on which the Market depends. The core economy includes:

  • Raising healthy children
  • Revitalizing neighborhoods
  • Making democracy work
  • Nurturing the spirit
  • Building strong families
  • Strengthening local economies
  • Advancing social justice
  • Making the planet sustainable

In the PBS documentary Fixing the Future, time bankers help each other weatherize homes, access medical care, eat healthier food and take sailing lessons (8-minute clip: http://video.pbs.org/video/1646871620/). They contribute to low-carbon lifestyles, reduce transportation costs and provide services within neighborhoods. They grow capacity for community groups, non-profits, small businesses, and government groups, serving schools, hospitals, churches, libraries, and court systems. They do so by

  • Offering groups an expanded pool of volunteers.
  • Providing something valuable groups can give back to volunteers.
  • Identifying and connecting unused community resources with unmet needs.
  • Incubating new businesses.
  • Facilitating restorative justice.
  • Lowering operational costs.
  • Keeping prices low for businesses, clients and customers.
  • Reducing medical expenses.
  • Helping elders age in place.
  • Mentoring & tutoring.
  • Offering internships and on-the-job training.
  • Reducing tax burdens.
  • Containing administrative costs.
  • Tracking volunteer hours for reporting in funding proposals.

Each of these benefits reverses the opportunity costs of not banking time.   In addition, paying volunteers in Time Bank Hours could support start-ups in underserved communities. A few potential examples come to mind:

  • Weatherization projects                        Solar installations
  • Urban farms                                            Plant nurseries
  • Food preparation and distribution    Canning and preserving
  • Water catchment                                   Backyard garden installation
  • Home building                                       Home repair

Any group aligned with the five core values may partner with a time bank:

In the spirit of reciprocity, Time Banking offers community partners:

  • A complementary currency, the Time Bank Hour, created by doing some work.
  • A means of rewarding unpaid work by converting it to goods and services.
  • A way to reactivate social capital that lies untapped within neighborhoods.
  • Proven models for co-producing each other’s operations.
  • A way to restore community values ignored by the market economy.

If you want to discuss the above ideas, Contact Tony Budak

Starting a Time Bank

Often I’m asked to mentor a new Time Bank somewhere is the USA and what follows is the core information packet that  I send to a new Coordinator to get them rolling. I’m sending this to you because you picked up on this so fast and I want you to have all the information.

Of course you should read through all the site pages at Time Bank Mahoning Watershed for a good foundational introduction.

In the above site at Time Banks Work there are practical suggestions and many files to consider in a Time Bank effort.
Just skim this archive, as it would be helpful down the road.

Again in the above site there is a section that focuses on Starting a Time Bank (Section 1 and Section 2) This is a must to read and follow up reading all the hyper links in the both article sections.

Also you should adsorb the general ideas at the hOurWorld web site, in particular this page on first steps.
Another point of view, rather more practical, but good none the less.

Oh yes, it would be a good idea to upload the free version of Skype on to your computer, coordinators and I Skype a lot.

And You will probably pick up a lot of learning take aways by participating
in the action on a Time Bank Coordinators group on Facebook;

Okay that’s it, please contact me for anything except a Federal money loan LOL.

If you want to discuss the above ideas, Contact Tony Budak

Time Banks for small businesses

On 06/04/13 7:09 AM, Elizabeth wrote:
Hi Tony! Do you know much about legal/tax issues for small (sole proprietor) businesses participating in time banks? Are any Mahoning Valley businesses doing this, to your knowledge? Thanks!

Hi Elizabeth,
Please know that I’m not a lawyer. The founder of TimeBanks USA is a lawyer and his writing is here: http://actionhub.timebanks.org/content/tax-issues

Basically the rule is that community service non-paid work time is documented as a time credit in an account when non-paid community service work is performed. There is no relation of any time unit to any Federal money unit so there is no tax.

Time Bank Mahoning Watershed is a 501 c(3), see our purpose at http://tbmw.org/about-tbmw/timebank-mahoning-watershed-our-vision-mission-values-statement

There is no fee and or no requirement to use our data base program. We do ask for yearly in kind work services or financial contributions from participating individuals, groups, for-profits and non-profits. Currently there are no Mahoning Valley business in our time bank. I love to talk about Time Banking,  See http://tbmw.org/contact-us/schedule-a-timebank-presentation-with-your-group-program-or-organization

Hope that the above helps,
Best Wishes,

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