In 1995, Dr. Edgar S. Cahn started to experiment with a new way to link untapped social capacity to unmet social needs. He created a practice known as “time banking”--a mode of exchange that lets people swap time and skill instead of money. The concept is simple: In joining a time bank, people agree to take part in a system that involves earning and spending “time credits.” When they spend an hour on an activity that helps others, they receive one time credit. When they need help from others, they can use the time credits that they have accumulated.

The supporters of time banking want to show that a different kind of currently could exist alongside the dollar. Money should not have a monopoly on the definition of value. The money-based market system fails to reward many types of critical work--the work of raising healthy children, building strong families, caring for the elderly, revitalizing neighborhoods, preserving the environment, advancing social justice and sustaining democracy--and there should be a way to honor and reward that kind of work. In short, time banking provides a medium of exchange that advances goals that money does not and cannot advance. A world increasingly dominated by a fixation on money requires a complementary, local tax-exempt currency that will open opportunities to weave (or reweave) social connections. [Dr. Edgar S. Cahn and Dr. Christine Gray, Summer 2015]

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Edgar S. Cahn Ph.D. District of Columbia (March 23, 1935 - ?) Community Health, Co-Production, Educator, Jewish, Juvenile Justice, Hunger, Law School, Legal Education, Native Americans, Scholar, Self-Help, Social Justice, Social Welfare, Speech Writer, TimeBanks, Time Dollars

Dr. Edgar S. Cahn is the originator of Time Dollars and the founder TimeBanks USA, as well as the co-founder of the National Legal Services Program and the Antioch School of Law (now the David A. Clarke School of Law). A compelling speaker, Dr. Cahn possesses the eloquence, passion, and sense of humor to inspire in his audiences a sense not only that social justice matters, but that it calls for immediate action.

Allan S. Kullen Maryland (February 20, 1942 - ?) Author, Businessman, Golfer, Inventor, Jewish, Marketing, Mergers-Acquisitions, Poland, Printer, Social Entrepreneur, Traveler

“Her name is Ester Baumgartner. Do you know her? She's a pretty Swiss girl who sings beautifully, and I think she lives near here." Allan had posed the question in a broken mixture of Hebrew and English to whoever would listen and could understand him. Allan had met Ester while on an archaeological dig at Masada in the Negev, Israel. All he knew by the time they parted ways was her name and that she was staying in Tel Aviv.