Communities that make money : the interdependence of community currencies and cooperative community

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Southern New Hampshire University
As stated in the thesis project, "WOMANSHARE was conceived of by Jane Wilson and myself and founded in November of 1991 in New York City. We invited twelve women to be the first members. WOMANSHARE has grown (and been limited to) a vital community of 100. We are a women's cooperative skill bank whose members offer over 200 skills to each other.Time is our currency. A l work time is valued equally no matter what the nature of the work is and whether the skills are professional or life skills. Members report time worked to a "bank" and may spend "credits" from their bank account on the services of any other WOMANSHARE member. On joining each member makes a list of skills, interests and resources she has to share and what she needs and wants. These lists are provided to all members, and are the basis of a directory of WOMANSHARE offerings. In addition to one-to-one exchanges, WOMANSHARE members offer workshops to other interested members on all types of subjects, share resources (from books to tools to use of apartments), and participate in "barn raisings" in which several members work together to accomplish larger projects for a member (paint a room, build a bookcase, or make a wedding). WOMANSHARE members have often created a support system for someone in trouble, providing, according to the need, food, alternative healing sessions, advocacy, and help with housework. Members may also attend monthly potlucks to socialize and network. Women hear of the organization from friends or from one of the many media stories about the organization. WOMANSHARE caps the membership at 100 inviting new members from the waiting list approximately once a year to fill the spaces opened by other members leaving. Although there are members that live in all five boroughs, new applicants are told that the exchange system works best when members live near each other. Members must renew annually by paying $50 dues (there are scholarships for low income people) and pledging six hours work for the cooperative during that year. New members are accepted on a first come first served basis. WOMANSHARE is a financially self-sufficient organization, cooperatively administered. The council, which meets monthly, is open to all members. Decisions are made by consensus. There has been extensive media coverage of WOMANSHARE throughout the country." (Library-derived description)