So, what is timebanking?

Timebanking was created over thirty years ago to provide a way to reweave relationships that were a tradition in this country for centuries using high-tech capabilities.  So, it’s not new; it’s merely a new way of making the connects in our busy lives. Many are familiar with the concept of Paying it Forward.  Now, you have a way of doing that and receiving in turn.  For every hour you invest doing something for someone in your timebank, you receive an hour that you can spend on any service offered by any other member of the timebank (not just the person you provided service to).  This simple idea is profound in its impacts.  While providing a service to a neighbor you are building a relationship, helping someone that has a need of your abilities, expanding your connections in the community, and earning credit so you may receive from another neighbor.  There are few other ways that enable you to feel valued and trusted all while you are strengthening the community and earning credits for yourself.

Professor Edgar Cahn founded timebanking in the United States based on Five Core Values:

  • We are all assets. We all have something valuable to give.  We have enough if, together, we use what each of us has.  Ninety percent of what you are able to do never appears on a resume but can be very valuable to someone else.
  • Some work is valuable beyond price – and that work needs to be recognized and rewarded. Everyone benefits when we work to raise healthy children, strengthen neighborhoods, build strong families, live sustainably, and foster social justice.
  • Helping works better as a two-way street. Sure, you can give – any do-gooder can do that.  When we create a reciprocal system, you have to learn to honor other’s value by receiving what they have to offer.  You create value by accepting the service of others.  Others can’t give unless someone receives.
  • We need each other. Networks are stronger than individuals. People helping each other reweaves communities of support, strength, and trust. Community is built upon establishing roots, building trust, and creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment to one another.
  • Every human being matters. There are no throw-away people. Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured.  In timebanking, an hour of a street-sweeper’s time is honored the same as an hour of a brain surgeon.