About DC TimeBank
The DC TimeBank began with a group of dedicated residents who sought to build community and rethink the definition of “value” in economic relationships. Started in 2010, the group attracted hundreds of members who shared an interest in non-monetary exchange and the core values of the timebanking movement. Timebanking creates communities of generosity and mutual aid where everyone’s time is valued equally. Examples of one-to-one exchanges between individuals include car rides, child and pet care, and music, language, and art lessons. Incubated for five years by Impact Hub DC, a coworking space and community of social entrepreneurs, the DC TimeBank’s membership grew to include individuals, organizations, and neighborhood timebanks from across the DC metro area. Through word of mouth, online outreach, potlucks, community fairs, and workshops, the DC TimeBank built a strong platform for time and skill sharing.
Falling Away, and a New Beginning
When, at the close of 2017, the timebank's leadership transitioned to new roles, the timebank lost its momentum. With no effective leadership, timebank members made fewer and fewer exchanges until they stopped altogether. Even before the arrival of Covid, the timebank had "flatlined."
In mid 2021, a small group of members came together with plans for the TimeBank to regain its earlier spirit and energy. Learning from the past, it was decided that the leadership must be widely shared. Thus, a new format for the timebank was created based on the principle that the timebank will grow only as members are willing to share the responsibilities and tasks of leadership.
The core of the timebank's new structure hinges on biweekly Sharing Meetings. In-between are Action Meetings. Held thru Zoom, the Sharing Meetings are open to all who have an interest in timebanking in DC. Their aim is to build a sense of mutuality and trust through listening and sharing. In contrast, the members-only Action Meetings, held in the weeks between the Sharing Meetings, focus on putting ideas into action through decision-making, planning, and commitment to taking the actions needed to move things along.
By calling on all who join the meetings to actively engage, whether in the sharing or in the action needed for growth, the timebank is slowly but steadily regaining vibrancy and strength. The meetings have been engaging, fun and deeply meaningful. We have high hopes that this new format, alternating between sharing one week, taking action the next, and rooted in shared engagement and leadership, will create a resilient, long-lasting timebank that will over time act as a real force to achieve the DC TimeBank's mission: To build circles of reciprocity and mutual aid, nurturing community ties, community self-sufficiency, and resilience.
- September 2010: Founded by Allison Basile of Impact Hub DC and ONE DC.
- October 2010: Logo designed by Chris Zach with input from other members.
- April 2011: Featured in East of the River Magazine.
- June 2011: Community Meeting at MLK Library.
- 2012: Workshop at St. Stephen’s Church.
- February 2012: Mentioned in an article by The Washington Post.
- October 2013: Potluck at Allison’s home, featuring Stephanie Rearick, founder of the Dane County Time Bank in Madison, WI, to discuss cooperative economies and large-scale applications of timebanking.
- November 2013: Potluck to plan communications, a Knowledge Commons DC class, a regional fundraiser, and an online action hub.
- February 2014: Disco Soupe at St. Stephen’s Church to turn produce headed for the landfill into delicious meals, which were donated to Thrive DC to feed the homeless and individuals in need.
- May 2014: Wellness Day at Impact Hub DC, in collaboration with ONE DC, featuring workshops on abstract art, green smoothies, herbalism, intention setting, and yoga.
- June 2014: Disco Soupe at Bread for the City to turn fresh produce that would otherwise have been discarded into delicious meals for those who need them. The event also featured a potluck and local music.
- August 2014: Potluck at Impact Hub DC to strategize regarding outreach materials, newsletters, promotional stickers, and upcoming events. The DC TimeBank welcomed its first intern, Cierra McEachern!
- September 2014: Members volunteered at the 9/11 Unity Walk and held a table at the Interfaith and Community Organization Expo.
- September 2014: Meet-Up at Busboys and Poets (5th and K) with TimeBanks USA to connect and educate members about timebanking.
- October 2014: Social Justice Halloween with themed costumes and a potluck at Impact Hub DC.
- November 2014: DC TimeBank coordinators Cierra McEachern and Clara Knausenberger led a workshop about timebanking at the DC Urban Resiliency Weekend held at Common Good City Farm.
- November 2014: Disco Soupe with Bread for the City to help fill Holiday Helpings bags with traditional Thanksgiving food for local families. Attendees rotated between stations to chop produce for client meals, and participate in a workshop from Say No To Food Waste.
- December 2014: DC Solidarity Economy Summit hosted at Impact Hub DC.
- March 2015: New Year, New Economy Potluck at Impact Hub DC, with planning for a respite care initiative, the launch of the Community Weaver 3 website software, opportunities to get involved with a campaign to bring participatory budgeting and a public bank to DC, and future events.
- April 2015: DC TimeBank transitioned to the Community Weaver 3 website software designed by TimeBanks USA.
- May 2015: Anacostia River Watershed Trash Clean-Up near the Stadium Armory.
- July 2015: Planning Committee Meeting for New Volunteers to set organizational policies regarding membership and Community Weaver, and begin expanding capacity for future events.
- August 2015: Summer Potluck and Member Orientation held at the TimeBanks USA headquarters, for which coordinators piloted a new presentation for member orientation.
- September 2015: Meeting with the Silver Spring Timebank, Our Sharing Community at Bread for the City, Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Village Timebank, and the newly formed Piscataway Creek Cooperative Timebank.
- September 2015: Harvest Potluck and Member Orientation held at TimeBanks USA.
- November 2015: Stone Soup potluck and orientation for new and returning members held at TimeBanks USA.
- December 2015: Beyond the Store: Recycling and Eco-Chic Gift Wrapping Workshop at UDC, led by member Reena Kazmann and coordinator Caitlin Duffy.
- February 2016: Regional meeting with Silver Spring Timebank.
- March 2016: First Potluck and Member Orientation of the year, held at TimeBanks USA. The evening featured guest speaker Stephanie Rearick, who first visited the DC TimeBank in 2013!
- June 2016: Potluck and Member Orientation hosted at the TimeBanks USA headquarters, which featured the new Member Handbook.
- July 2016: Potluck and Member Orientation hosted at UDC Law School, which featured the new Member Handbook.
- July 2016: First Sandwich Making community project organized by member Keri Nash at the Potter's House. TimeBank members helped prepare 300 brown bag lunches for people experiencing homelessness in DC, distributed via Central Union Mission.
- July 2016: Walk & Talk community event hosted by Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Community Village TimeBank to benefit the Diverse City Fund.
- September 2016: Two concurrent potlucks hosted in Bethesda and SE DC.
- October 2016: The first Movement Makers Fair: Linking Our Time, Skills, and Knowledge held at St. Stephen's Church. The event hosted 30 attendees, including six community groups who tabled and shared about their work and upcoming events. The event featured a wall of offers and requests, and three skillshares on worker cooperatives, how to respond to street harrassment, and timebanking.
- November 2016: Toast to Timebanking Happy Hour at Shaw's Tavern.
- February 2017: Potluck and Member Orientation in Bloomingdale.
- June 2017: Resourcing Our Resistance, Nurturing Our Connections, the second DC TimeBank Movement Makers Fair, held at Crispus Attucks Park in Bloomingdale. Over 50 community members attended skillshares on bike repair, grassroots fundraising, worker cooperatives, yoga, screen printing, and more.
- December 2017: TimeBank coordinator Caitlin McDuffy steps back -- there is no-one willing to take on her leadership role.
- July 2021: A small group of DC TimeBank members meets to commit to re-energizing the timebank. It decides to use Zoom meetings and a model of shared leadership and decision-making.
- August 2021: The first Constant Contact invites go out to all the former 500 plus DCTB members inviting them to re-engage through bi-weekly Sharing Meetings with Action Meetings in between. A 25% open rate gives hope that a good core of members still has interest.
- September 2021 on....: Each Zoom-call meeting gains a couple of new people. The calls are marked by great energy, tons of ideas, and a felt dedication to the social justice and solidarity principles that have stood behind timebanking since it was founded by Edgar Cahn in 1980 and as spelled out in his book, No More Throw-Away People. We are hopeful that the calls and the energy they generate will translate into real, enduring growth and the achievement of the DC TimeBank mission.