Edgar Cahn: Timebank Founder

By Grace Maselli


Combining compassion with creative thinking, Edgar Cahn linked currency with “social care networks” in 1995 when he founded TimeBanks USA, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit headquartered in Washington, D.C. A law professor and speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy, Cahn’s sense of community consciousness and collaboration has long been established. Respect and reciprocity underpin Cahn’s system of exchange: where an hour of work to assist a neighbor with a taskwhether it’s donating time to help clean out a garage or cook and deliver a mealis exchanged and the doer receives and a hour of timebank credit for each hour of work completed. Paying it forward, being available to community members in need. Such notions began with an idea from Cahn who formalized it into timebanking and who continues to care about building connections between people and advancing social justice causes, including his work on behalf of Native Americans and defending their civil rights. Keep your eyesopen. More to come on the history of timebanks and Cahn.