Milwaukee Area Time Exchange

Time Exchange Launches in the Riverwest by Debbie Davis

Start with any three block area in the Riverwest. Take an inventory of all the human resources. You will most likely find carpenters, chefs, childcare providers, website designers, artists, medics, gardeners, teachers, community organizers, writers, people who sew, who drive, who will pick up the phone, who will shelter your cat, who will play basketball with your kids, who will visit your grandparents.


The Book That Started a Movement

No MoreThrow Away People by Edgar Cahn encourages us to recognize oursocial value outside the limits of the market economy. Encourages us to formcooperative, reciprocal, equitable relationships with neighbors. And promisesus this: “We have all that we need when we use all that we have.”

His recommendation: a complementary currency that shifts the exchangeunit from the dollar to time. Time, we all have it. If we recognize that allpeople have social value, we value everyone’s time equally and encouragereciprocity, then non-traditional volunteers step forward, social servicerecipients become empowered contributors to their communities, people make moreenvironmentally sound choices and the social/ecological fabric is slowlyrewoven.

The mechanism for facilitating these exchanges? A community bankregistering resources and brokering time. This bank has just come to theMilwaukee and is launching (of course) in Riverwest: Milwaukee (Area) TimeExchange (

A New Bank for a New Currency

The Milwaukee (Area) Time Exchange quietly “opened doors” in the late summer.

The process is simple: individuals or organizations register theirinterest on-line, by phone or buy attending an orientation. A time bank“volunteer” then meets with the new member for a brief orientation andinterview, offerings and needs are entered on-line, background check iscompleted and the new member has access to the directory.

Members can register neighborhoods and organizational affiliations. Thisprovides the opportunity to exchange locally and build social/economicrelations within your religious, educational, social or civic organization, aswell as sharing specialized skills across the county. Currently members fromseven neighborhoods and seven organizations have registered.

After completing exchanges, the receiver enters hours on-line and theappropriate accounts are credited and debited. Members are invited to attendgroup work projects, potlucks, meetings and fund raisers to build familiarity. Attendanceat events and organizing/volunteering for the time bank also earns the membercredit (“time dollars”). There are currently 30 individual and two organizationalmembers of the Mke TE.

Neighborhood Visions for Mke TE

Father Jerry Hessel wants visitors for elderly home-bound neighbors.

Anita Reed would like to see a Riverwest Childcare Coop.

Small business people Marc Rassbach (IT support) and Spike Bandy(painter) want to spread awareness of quality local services.

“Transitions” organizer Gretchen Mead would like to see DIY urbanhomesteading skills shared across the neighborhood.

Kenli Harmon and Debbie Davis would like to extend learningopportunities and reward parent involvement for MPS students and home schoolers.

Sally Kuzma would like social/economic integration opportunities forrefugees and immigrants. We all want to see a safer, more vibrant neighborhood.

Across the County

County-wide, Mke TE founders would like to see time banking integratedinto neighborhood associations, religious and educational institutions and socialservice agencies. Dane County Time Bank, a national leader in the timebankingmovement, currently serves 1,300 individual members and 93 organizationalmembers.

The Mke TE board members will seek funding for professional staff andoffice space to match the impact of their Madison mentors. Volunteers areavailable to present to any organization in Milwaukee County. Bring yourvision, resources and time to the Milwaukee (Area) Time Exchange.

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