Kent’s TimeBank exchanges tasks for time

Kelli Fitzpatrick

Are you in need of a back rub? Do you want help moving out of your apartment? How about assistance with that Intermediate French homework?

These services are available in the Kent area for just the price of your time through the Kent Community TimeBank.

The TimeBank is a system of exchange in which time is literally money. TimeBank members exchange favors and odd jobs for Time Credits, which are then spent on other jobs.

Here are the basics of TimeBanking and how you can get involved.

What is a TimeBank?

According to, the mission of a TimeBank is “to nurture and expand a movement that promotes equality and builds caring community economies through inclusive exchange of time and talent.”

A TimeBank member fulfills another’s request by performing a task or favor, for which he or she receives a Time Credit. The member can then spend credit like cash on others’ tasks.

“It is not volunteering, and it is not bartering,” said Abby Greer, executive director and founder of the Kent Community TimeBank.

The first TimeBank was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1995. Greer, a 1987 Kent State alumna, founded the Kent Community group in April 2010.

Who is involved?

The local TimeBank has 300 members, including Kent residents, students, professors and organizations, Greer said. Thirty prospective members are awaiting orientation, after which they can join the group. Since its founding, the local TimeBank has exchanged more than 10,000 Time Credits.

Why should I join?

Karch Marhofer, senior general studies major, joined TimeBank at the beginning of the spring semester. He offers his car mechanic skills to fellow TimeBank members. Marhofer said joining the TimeBank allowed him to deviate from typical money-based employment systems.

“No matter what job you have or what your position is in the community, [the TimeBank] takes everyone’s time as equally valuable,” he said. “The thought of that concept was really, really appealing to me.”

Marhofer said TimeBanking is beneficial to those struggling financially.

“When so many students don’t really have a lot of money, this is a way they can acquire some of their needs without breaking the bank,” he said. “It’s a great way to supplement the tools they have available.”

Greer said students should understand part of the TimeBank commitment is earning Time Credits, not only spending them. Offering skills to others is an integral part of the TimeBank system.

“TimeBanking in Kent offers members services that they might not otherwise be able to afford,” Greer said. Among the 300 members are massage therapists, photographers, teachers, editors, cooks and resume builders. Greer said such professionals’ services “might be out of financial reach for some,” but come for the price of Time Credit.

Is it really “free?”

Most of the services offered through TimeBank only cost Time Credits, but some may require money for material costs, Greer said.

For example, an hour-and-a-half ride to the airport will cost 1.5 Time Credits plus gas money.

“Also, if you make a member your favorite lasagna, you earn the Time Credits equivalent to the time you took to make the dish and will be paid for the ingredients,” Greer said.

How can I join?

Students can begin memberships by creating an account and applying at Once they apply, the TimeBank will invite prospective members to attend a monthly informational meeting.

The next TimeBank informational meeting is at 3 p.m. April 15 at the Kent Free Library. Attendees will learn about the online TimeBank system where members post services and exchange Time Credits.

What kinds of skills can I offer to others?

Nearly any skill or odd job can be offered on TimeBank’s site.

Greer said babysitting, cutting grass, tutoring or even driving a member to an appointment are viable jobs to offer.

“It’s pretty limitless,” Marhofer said. “You can offer almost anything you can think of.”

Services you can offer include:

Facebook set-up

Computer help



Moving or lifting heavy objects


Essay editing

How do I know it’s safe?

Greer said TimeBank conducts a “lite” criminal background search on all member applicants, but is not liable for unforeseen incidents.

“Members must treat these exchanges just as they would exchang(e) services with a neighbor,” she said.

Greer said TimeBank plans to expand the ability to check on others’ services.

“We are hoping to install a great benefit on our software soon where members will see who else a particular member has transacted with and would be able to contact them for a reference,” she said.

Greer noted that TimeBanks across the country are not known for any criminal behavior in their groups. For certain services, such as child care, she recommends conducting a separate background check. Sign up for a free trial at to check on whom you’re hiring.

To get to know fellow members before hiring them for tasks, consider joining a monthly TimeBank potluck the first Friday of each month. Locations can be found at the group’s website.

Contact Kelli Fitzpatrick at [email protected].