Skip to Content

Community members start local alternative currency

by Sean O. Morgan

State College, Pa–Dec. 4, 2012–Charlie Kain needs a bicycle repair. Sean Morgan wants to share his love of photography.  In the conventional economy each one of them would find a way to charge for services rendered or pay for services received.

Charlie Kain and Sean Morgan of State College have created another option for exchanging services. They have spearheaded an alternative monetary system for the Centre county region.

Spring Creek Homesteading, a local education organization, has donated the funds for the first year of the time bank.  New Leaf Initiative, a local incubator, facilitated the planning process.

Time banking is a pattern of reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency. It is an example of an alternative monetary system. A time bank, also known as a service exchange, is a community that practices time banking. Time banking is primarily used to provide incentives and rewards for work such as mentoring children, caring for the elderly, being neighborly—work usually done on a volunteer basis.

Essentially, the “time” a participant spends providing these types of community services earns “time” that can be spent to receive services. As well as gaining credits, participant can potentially gain confidence, social contact and skills through giving to others.

 Time Banking is on an upward trend.Today, 26 countries have active Time Banks. There are 250 Time Banks active in the U.K.and 53 officially recognized Time Banks in the U.S.