About Timebanks

The Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks is an umbrella organization linking and supporting TimeBanks across the state. We help individuals, organizations and communities establish and run TimeBanks.

What Is A Timebank?

The roots of TimeBanking extend back to the creation of TimeBank hours™ in 1980 when Dr. Edgar S. Cahn, co-founder of the National Legal Services Program, author of “Our Brother’s Keeper,” and founder of the Antioch School of Law, suffered a massive heart attack. He was 46. Recuperating in the hospital and “feeling useless,” he dreamed up TimeBank hours as a new currency to provide a solution to massive cuts in government spending on social welfare. If there was not going to be enough of the old money to fix all the problems facing our country and our society, Edgar reasoned, why not make a new kind of money to pay people for what needs to be done? TimeBank hours value everyone’s contributions equally. One hour equals one service credit. Seven years later (in 1987) at the London School of Economics, Edgar developed his theoretical explanation for why the currency should work. He came back to the US and started putting service credits (not yet called TimeBank hours) into operation.

In the nineteen years since, the currency has traveled a journey of twists and turns. After initial enthusiasm by foundations, funding for TimeBank hour Exchanges dried up in the mid 1990’s, and a period of struggle to keep afloat followed. This struggle turned into a time to dig in and to determine what made TimeBank hours and TimeBanking unique tools for social change. In 1997, a TimeBank hour convention helped new and surviving groups identify “what works.” TimeBank hours became the backbone of a successful cross-age peer tutoring program in Chicago, a Maine TimeBanks Network, and a TimeBank hour Youth Court in Washington, D.C. TimeBanks USA became the hub of a small network of independent TimeBank Exchanges around the country.

The deepened understanding that evolved in the following years led to new ways of using and speaking about TimeBank hours and TimeBanking as a tool for social change. Perhaps the most important shift involved the development of the theory of Co-Production outlined in Edgar’s book, “No More Throw Away People” (published in 2000 and re-issued in 2004), which emerged as the overarching framework for TimeBank hours.

How It Works

At its most basic level, TimeBanking is simply about spending an hour doing something for somebody in your community. That hour goes into the TimeBank as a TimeBank hour. Then you have a Time dollar to spend on having someone doing something for you. It’s a simple idea, but it has powerful ripple effects in building community connections.

Each TimeBank has a website where you list what you would like to do for other members. You look up TimeBank services online or call a community coordinator to do it for you. You earn TimeBank hours after each service you perform and then you get to spend it on whatever you want from the listings.

With TimeBanking, you will be working with a small group of committed individuals who are joined together for a common good. It connects you to the best in people because it creates a system that connects unmet needs with untapped resources. To see what happens each week when you are part of TimeBank is deeply fulfilling, especially if you are helping to make it run.


Good Morning America story with Diane Sawyer and Louisville, KY TimeBank

Career Day At Webber Media Arts Academy 2014

Restorative Justice — Dane County Peer Youth Court, WI

TimeBanking in Oakland County

Good Morning America

Solar paneling in rural West Virginia

United Kingdom

Rushey Green TimeBank, London England

TEDx at Ashoka U – Edgar Cahn

Associated Press TV, June 2010

The Big Lunch, London, England


MI Alliance of TimeBanks Press

Alternet [August 8, 2017] – Are You Tired of Banks, Credit Cards, and Debt? Consider a System of Trading Time Instead of Money
Michigan Radio [February 9, 2017] – Using time as the currency, Michigan communities exchange skills, strengthen bonds
Detroit Legal News [January 20, 2016] – Together through ‘TimeBank’ readily apparent at annual auction
Blog Talk Radio [October 23, 2014] – Time – The Original Source of Money
C and G News [April 15, 2013] – Local TimeBank aims to bring community together
Michigan Daily [April 13, 2013] DEBTx spurs discussion on debt
HAP LiveWell Mid-Life Newsletter [Fall 2012] TimeBanks: Paying it Forward
The Observer Eccentric [April 22, 2012] – Bank pays dividends by building community
AARP [February 3, 2012] – Time is money – saving like clockwork
AARP [October 21, 2011] – Kim Hodge Wins First Gools Award
C and G News [August 31, 2011] – Royal Oak TimeBank looking for new members
C and G News [June 16, 2011] – Ferndale TimeBank seeks new members from around the community
Capital News Service [April 29, 2011] – Got time, skills? Open time bank account
C and G News [April 20, 2011] – Neighbors Swap Skills Through Sterling Heights TimeBank
City’s Best Detroit [April 18, 2011] – Paying It Forward Pays Off For Metro Detroit TimeBanks
World Magazine [March 26, 2011] – Time as Money: Communities and mutual service
Royal Oak Patch [March 19, 2011] – Royal Oak TimeBank Makes it Simple to Pay it Forward
C and G News [February 16, 2011] – Resident Seeks to Start Madison Heights TimeBank
News Radio WJR [January 26, 2011] – Interview with Kim Hodge, Josh McManus and Rory Neuner
Michigan Radio [January 18, 2010] – Interview with MI TimeBanks Executive Director Kim Hodge
The Macomb Daily [March 29, 2010] – Article about TimeBanking around Michigan: “Residents maximize resources and grow friendships through TimeBank”
Michigan Radio – Three Things [January 25, 2010] – Take a listen to former Free Press writer Desiree Cooper talking about TimeBanking as part of Michigan Radio’s “Three Things” series.

Lathrup Village TimeBank Press

Michigan Municipal League [August 2010] – Lathrup Village TimeBank Has Residents Working Together
C and G News [May 19, 2010] – Lathrup Village TimeBank honors Volunteer of the Year
Detroit Free Press page 1 [October 27, 2009] – A recent article about TimeBanks in Metro Detroit
Detroit Free Press page 7 [October 27, 2009] – Article continued
Detroit Free Press [February 25, 2009] – an article written for the Detroit Free Press

Other TimeBanks Press

The Washington Post [April 26, 2019] – ‘I like giving the gift of time’: Time banks build economies — and communities — without the almighty dollar
The Guardian [February 5, 2019] – ‘It’s like the light’s come back on’: connecting care service users with their communities
Freakonomics [January 9, 2019] – Why Is This Man Running for President? (TimeBanking is mentioned at about 37:12 into the program)
Forbes [December 6, 2018] – There Are Not Enough Personal Care Aides To Care For Frail Seniors. What Will We Do? What could TimeBanking do to fill the void?
ioby [December 4, 2018] – Bring Unity to Our Community with TimeBanking
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland [May, 2017] – Celebrating 90 Years of Caring
Metromode [April 20, 2017] – Pontiac SUN TimeBank pays unexpected dividends
Oakland Press [December 25, 2016] – Program seeks to improve seniors’ health, way of life
New York Times [December 22, 2016] – How social isolation is killing us
Washington Post [October 18, 2016] – What if doctors could prescribe something to treat social isolation in seniors: It’s happening now in Silicon Valley
C and G News [April 6, 2016] – Madison Heights mayor looking into volunteer Time Bank
The Morning Call [June 5, 2015] – Lehigh Valley partnership finds hope for cutting medical costs
Stanford Social Innovation Review [Summer, 2015] – The TimeBank Solution
Oakland County One-Fifteen [May 14, 2014] – Community Gardens Bloom in Oak Park and Huntington Woods
Al Jazeera America [February 9, 2014] – Forget Bitcoins, What About Time As Currency?
ABC News [January 15, 2014] – Saving Money, Helping Others With Timebanking, with Diane Sawyer
New York Magazine [December 15, 2013] – TimeBanking in New York
Huntington Woods-Berkley Patch [April 4, 2013] TimeBank Program Shares Skills, Creates Bonds in Huntington Woods, Royal Oak
The Philly Post [March 14, 2013] Will clean for food. Are you ready for TimeBanking?
WKAR – Michigan Public Radio [March 12, 2013] TimeBanks Foster Community Building
U.S. News [October 23, 2012] Time Banks Provide New Way to ‘Spend’ an Hour
Wall Street Journal [August 27, 2012] For Spain’s Jobless, Time Equals Money
The County Press [April 25, 2012] – TimeBank Coalition seeks more participants
C and G News [January 25, 2012] – TimeBank members help woman clean up after fire
NBC Nightly News [December 27, 2011] – Hour Exchange Portland (search for Portland to find video)
The Huffington Post [November 2, 2011] – An American Tradition Is Reborn As Economy Weakens
NPR [September 26, 2011] – Bartering for TimeBank hours at True North Health Center
New York Times [September 20, 2011] – The Health Payoffs of Time Banks
New York Times [September 15, 2011] – Where All Work Is Created Equal
Brooklyn Daily Eagle – [January, 2011] One Small Solution to the Coming Funding Crisis
Brooklyn Daily Eagle – [December 9, 2010] VNSNY & Lutheran Team Up To Expand Services
PBS News Hour
[November 17, 2010] – Service Time Swapped to Help Stretch Dollars in Recession
The Observer-Eccentric [October 17, 2010] Diversity group touts gains, eyes good 2nd year
The Observer-Eccentric [October 7, 2010] TimeBank plan in Plymouth Canton
Living for Change Newsletter [August 8, 2010] Grace Lee Bogg writes about the future of Detroit
Sage Publications [August 4, 2010] Community Currency Organization Enhancing Well-Being
My Fox Detroit [August 2, 2010] People earning help with TimeBanking
Detroit Free Press [May 9, 2010] – Read this article about volunteering in Detroit
New York Post – [April, 2010] TRADE BALANCE – City’s Slowdown Brings Bump in Bartering