Three Community Currencies

Ithaca Hours is a local currency in Ithaca New York in the United States.  It is described on their website as “money that makes Ithaca strong by building wealth and strengthening relationships among neighbors”. Participants get Ithaca Hours from the local Credit Union and from participating businesses in the community. People buy into the currency in denominations in hours rather than dollars, with ten federal hours able equaling 1 Ithaca Hour.  There are many participating businesses that accept the Ithaca Hour and is also accepted by many individuals in the community.  

The goal of the Detroit Cheer is to support “a small local economy”. With the backing of three local businesses the Detroit Cheer hopes to promote users to think more locally with their purchases and keep the stalling economy going.  There is a hope that it will not only help to build connections between individuals, but also build relationships between small business owners to create a community of local businesses culture. 

 Berkshares are a local currency in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts in the United States. There are according to their website over 2.7 Million Berkshare notes in circulation and over 400 participating businesses and the partnership of 5 local banks. The goal of Berkshares is not to replace National currency, but to supplement it locally and promote. According to the Bershares website community currencies where common in the early part of the 1900’s as a way of stimulating local sustainable growth, and these local currencies are making a resurgence as they not only help local businesses but also promote grater connections and relationships between individuals and businesses.

Compiled by Erin Jack

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