Salt Spring Dollars / Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation

Local Currency Groups in Canada


Calgary Dollars

c/o The Arusha Centre
106, 233 12th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 0G9 Canada
(403) 270-8002
Gerald Wheatley
1st Issue: January 2002
Currency: Calgary Dollars are issued in denominations of 1, 5, and 10. Calgary Dollars are scrip pegged to the federal currency.
Participation: Calgary Dollars has over 400 members, 150 businesses, and 1100 listings. A partnership with the City of Calgary allows for the use of 100% Calgary Dollars to purchase city transit tickets and passes to use city pools and recreation facilities. Participating businesses include video rental, restaurant, grocery store, theater company, mechanic, dry cleaner, etc. Other participants include a car-sharing program, accepting 100% local currency for car use, and a 60 unit housing co-op which accepts local currency for a percentage of rent.
Outreach: Calgary Dollars is a grassroots currency system that brings together local talents and resources to strengthen our local economy and build community. It believes a community's true wealth lies in the skills, talents and capabilities of its members, and every single person has something of value to offer to his/her neighbours. By encouraging local production and consumption, it is committed to creating a healthy economy that is rooted in a healthy society and a healthy ecosystem. Outreach includes a monthly potluck, numerous community events, bi-monthly newspaper insert, print listings, web page and email list.
Background: The Calgary Dollars program was formerly the "Bow Chinook Barter Community," using the "Bow Chinook Hours" as currency. In 2002, the project was reformulated as "Calgary Dollars." Calgary Dollars has five part-time staff, and two community animators. Operations are funded by the local United Way, the municipal government's charitable funding agency (FCSS), the Alberta Lottery Fund, and membership and advertising generated revenue.

Information last updated 12/05


Tamworth Hours

Background: Tamworth Hours are a usuryfree time currency initiated by Tom J. Kennedy and issued into circulation 13.11.2004. They were issued on behalf of the participating time-traders who live in the village of Tamworth, in rural eastern Ontario, CANADA in the Township of Stone Mills and/or beyond its borders. Approximately 80 'time-traders' are currently participating with this Tamworth Hours project. Many participating time-traders are willingly accepting other local currencies at par with Tamworth Hours as this action helps to build a larger, loyal database of community-minded consumers.

Toronto Dollar Community Project Inc.

P.O. Box 6523
Station "A"
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1
(416) 361-0466
1st Issue: December 1998
Currency: The Toronto Dollar trades at par with the Canadian dollar and is backed by Canadian dollars. Initially, consumers can exchange their Canadian dollars for an equal amount of Toronto Dollars. Each time a Toronto Dollar is purchased from Toronto Dollar Inc., 90 cents is deposited in a reserve fund and 10 cents goes to the Toronto Dollar Community Projects Fund. Participating businesses have agreed to accept Toronto Dollars on-par with Canadian dollars. A business can continue to spend at par the Toronto Dollars it receives or it can redeem its Toronto Dollars for Canadian dollars at 90 cents on the dollar. Money for these redemption is drawn from the Toronto Dollar reserve fund. The bills have a 3 year expiry term, with the expectation that 12% of the Toronto Dollars sold will never be redeemed so that the total new money created is about 22%. The main challenges experienced with this program were 1) getting supporters to purchase Toronto Dollars because of the potential inconvenience and 2) dealing with inherent risks involved with a system tied to cash — i.e. having tight controls as one expands.
Participation: Approximately 150 businesses in the St. Lawrence Market and Riverdale areas have agreed to accept Toronto Dollars. There is a $25 registration fee for new members.
Outreach: Toronto Dollars supports a merchant directory through its website. It also has an informational booth in the St. Lawrence Market where dollars are bought and information is distributed. The Toronto Dollar Supper Club sponsers a lecture series which brings speakers of interest to th earea. Toronto Dollar Community Projects has made over $86,000 in grants to local organizations.
Background: Organized by a volunteer group, the Toronto Dollar Community Project Inc., the Toronto Dollar was launched December 5, 1998. Originally located in the St. Lawrence Market area, circulation has recently expanded to include businesses in the Riverdale area of Toronto. Overhead for the program is covered by interest on the Reserve Fund and donations. The Toronto Dollar Community Projects Fund is used to give Toronto Dollars to people as "thank-you honorariums" for volunteer work with a focus on supporting those who need more income. One of the main benefits reported by Toronto Dollars organizers is the synergy created between the participating community groups through this "Spirit At Work" project and the way it fosters support for caring services — see this section on the Toronto Dollar web site.

Information last updated 11/05

Unity Dollars

Participation: There are participating traders in various towns and villages in the Madawaska Valley such as: Killaloe, Eganville, Golden Lake, Combermere, Bancroft and Barry's Bay. This network of Unity traders are unique as they solicited supporting businesses to advertise on the back of the paper notes thereby raising the federal cash to print the Unity dollars.
There are approximately 70 Unity traders who are active within this Unity Dollar network. Other communities in Ontario and Quebec
are currently organizing businesses so that they can copy this Unity
model. Many Unity traders are willingly accepting other usuryfree
community currencies at par.
Background: The usuryfree dollar currency commonly referred to as the Unity was launched in the spring of 2006 in the Madawaska Valley area of Eastern Ontario, CANADA.

Local Currency Groups in the United States


Humboldt Exchange

Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
P.O. Box 858
Eureka, CA 95502
First issue: January 2003
Currency: "Humboldt Community Currency," a paper currency with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50.
Participation: 150 individuals, 9 businesses.
Information updated February 26, 2007

Mendocino Moola (Local Smart Money)



REAL Dollars

Lawrence Trade Organization
P.O. Box 1542
Lawrence, KS 66044
Boog Highberger: (785) 843-0095
Steve McFarland: (785) 841-8796
1st Issue: September 2000
Currency: REAL dollars are issued on par with federal dollars, in denominations of $1, $3, and $10. An estimated 8000 REAL dollars are currently in circulation.
Participation: 88 participating businesses. While most will accept at least 20% of a total purchase in REAL dollars, almost 40 will accept 100%.
Outreach: Newsletter (available on-line) and web site.
Background: The "REAL dollar system" is modeled on the system put in place on the Isle of Man in the early 1800s.

Information last updated 7/01



BerkShares, Inc.
Asa Hardcastle, President of board
Susan Witt, Administrator
P.O. Box 125
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-1737
First issue: September 29, 2006
Currency: BerkShares are a paper currency printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 and are traded in the southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. They are distributed by local banks and are backed by federal dollars. They are purchased at $0.90 per BerkShare from the bank, spent at a value of $1 per BerkShare with participating individuals or businesses, and traded back for federal currency at $0.90 per BerkShare, providing a financial incentive for both individuals to get and spend them in the first place and for someone who has recieved BerkShares in a transaction to spend them again rather than return them for federal currency.
Participation: Approximately 240 regional businesses participating; issued through 7 branches of four local banks; approximately 135,000 BerkShares are currently in circulation.
Information updated March 9, 2007.


Bay Bucks

Stephanie Mills, President
Bill Palladino, Vice President
P.O. Box 1951
Traverse City, MI 49685-1951
(231) 995-9680
1st issue: November 7, 2005. $300 "limited edition" issue at the Great
Lakes Bioneers Conference in Traverse City on October 14-16th 2005.
Currency: Bay Bucks are paper scrip tied to the dollar, in denominations of BB1, BB5, BB10 and BB20. Approximately $13,000 disbursed as of January 1, 2007. Six Membership levels (individual, nonprofit, government, biz I, II & III) are available, with Membership fees range from $20 to $150. All members but individuals receive 2:1 Bay Bucks.
Participation: Bay Bucks has 125 members, including 95 businesses.
Outreach: Bay Bucks has a quarterly newsletter, and is hoping to fund a part-time outreach director.
Background: Bay Bucks are a project of the Traverse Area Community Currency Corporation, a non profit created for the purpose of providing trustworthy tools for local exchange. A team of volunteers worked for four years before seeing the first bill come off the press.

Information last updated March 9, 2007

New York

Ithaca HOURS

Steve Burke
P.O. Box 6731
Ithaca, NY 14851
(607) 272-3738
1st Issue: October 1991
Currency: The "original" Hour-based scrip, one Hour is the equivalent to $10. To date, approximately $100,000 in Ithaca Hours have been put into circulation, facilitating several million dollars worth in transactions.
Participation: Ithaca Hours has approximately 600 members (among a county population of 50,000), mostly individuals, but also large local businesses(such as food co-op, credit union, public library, hospital, bookstores, CD shop, farmer's market, beer retailer, wine shop, bowling alley, computer store, clothing stores, health club, internet service providers, graphicdesigners, landscapers, office supplies, printers, photographers, and many restaurants and coffeehouses). Membership costs $10 annually. Benefits include a listing in the annual Directory (10,000 copies circulated county-wide throughout the year) and an annual disbursement of two Ithaca Hours.
Outreach: 5000 copies of annual directory, with 1500+ listings, web site, festivals, personal visits, media coverage. Outreach programs include a grants program to community organizations and interest-free loans to businesses.
Background: Ithaca Hours is one of oldest and largest local currency systems in the world. It is recognized and utilized as an information resource byacademics, journalists, and currency organizations worldwide.

Information last updated March 9, 2007.


Cascadia Hours

Portland Cascadia Hour Exchange
John Poling
P.O. Box 8608
Portland, OR 97207
(503) 810-8382
1st Issue: 1994
Participation: 100+ members (professional/business/hobbyists). Each new participant is issued 5 CHE hours.
Outreach: Monthly directory for members only, 100+ listings; monthly events such as auctions; and a web site, updated almost daily, which provides a copy of the CHE Directory and calendar of events.
Background: Cascadia Hours originated as barter-club in Eugene in 1993, branches developed and have operated independently in 3 different areas, including Portland. Portland acts as a cooperative, and has developed and expanded with no Federal Reserve cash budget.

Corvallis HOUR Exchange

Christina Calkins, Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 1534
Corvallis, OR 97339
(541) 753-0595
1st issue: May 2002
2nd issue: May 2004
Currency: HOURS come in four denominations: 1 HOUR = $10, 1/2 HOUR = $5,
1/4 HOUR = $2.5, 1/8 HOUR = $1.25. Over 1,122 HOURS are in circulation as
of Spring 2007. Each member is issued two HOURS for listing (in a quarterly
newspaper directory), plus one HOURS for an annual renewal.
Participation: HOUR Exchange has 110 members, including 10 storefront businesses, 19 home businesses, and 6 farms.
Outreach: HOUR Exchange holds quarterly potluck gatherings and events and
uses word of mouth and media coverage to spread the word.
Background: The HOUR Exchange is an Oregon Non-profit organization
operated by a member elected Board of Trustees.

Information last updated March 12, 2007

Gorge Local Currency Cooperative (GLCC)

Theresa North, Steering Committee
993 Tucker Road, Suite A
Hood River, OR 97031
(541) 387-3956
1st Issue: September 2004
Currency: RiverHOURS are primarily based on the Ithaca Hours system, and have three denominations: 1 HOUR = $10, 1/2 HOUR = $5, 1/10 HOUR = $1. The GLCC chose the Hours system for its local currency to emphasize the value of a person's time. The GLCC focuses on the Columbia River Gorge region within a 35-mile radius from the center of the Hood River (Oregon) bridge. It contains portions of five counties in two states.
Outreach: The GLCC provides informational presentations for interested community groups and booths at numerous community festivals. Hispanic outreach is a top priority. There have already been articles in several local media outlets, both print and broadcast. In 2005 GLCC published its first trade directory with listings of all paid members.
Background: RiverHOURS began in fits and starts in 2001, and finally became a group dedicated enough to meet week after week and hammer out all the details beginning in August, 2003. By the spring of 2004, the GLCC had written and adopted its bylaws and began soliciting members of the community to participate. RiverHOURS will be officially launched as soon as the GLCC reaches at least 100 members. The GLCC's mission statement is, "The Gorge Local Currency Cooperative (GLCC) seeks to create and sustain a local currency system in order to build community, promote regional economic independence, support local business and trade, encourage entrepreneurship, honor diversity and enhance the local minimum wage in the Mid-Columbia region."

Information last updated 11/05.


Equal Dollars

Vanessa Williams and Jonathan Duncan
Resources for Human Development, Inc.
4700 Wissahickon Avenue, Suite 126
Philadelphia, PA 19144
(215) 951-0300
1st Issue: October 1996
Currency: Equal Dollars are issued on par with federal dollars. To date 96,400 Equal Dollars have been issued by the program.
Participation: 864 members, 298 businesses.
Outreach: Equal Dollars' outreach includes a quarterly newsletter with 2,400 listings, membership cards, participating in Flea Markets, and operating a Tool Rental Center and Micro-Loan Fund.
Background: Equal Dollars was started by $78 million non-profit Resources for Human Development, Inc., which maintains 150 diverse human service programs. To date, more than $100,000 has been put toward this currency (mostly discretionary funds of Resources, with some foundation, corporate, and anonymous donor funding). Funds have supported a full-time project director, technical and financial counselors, business development training, marketing materials, etc. Equal Dollars is currently applying for state money and hoping to expand to 5000 members. It utilizes both scrip and checking systems.

Information last updated 11/05.


Burlington Currency Project (Burlington Bread)

Cara Taussig
P.O. Box 8472
Burlington, VT 05402
(802) 434-8103
1st Issue: May 1998
Currency: Denominations of the currency come in 1, 5, 10, and 20, featuring artwork by local artists depicting scenes in and around Burlington, Vermont. Circulation is approximately $15,000.
Participation: The Burlington Currency Project had a membership overhaul in 2004 to update the directory. Current participation is approximately 75-100 people. Of those 75-100 people, around 50 are members. Membership is roughly 50% businesses and 50% individuals.
Outreach: The Burlington Currency Project re-launched its currency in summer 2004. In conjunction with a sustainable cities conference held in Burlington, the BCP issued its new colorized currency to all conference participants to spend at area businesses, many of which were participating for the first time, including the local food co-op. Outreach continues in the form of meetings and presentations with community groups and city leaders, as well as monthly gatherings at a local cafe.
Background: Burlington Bread started as a grassroots effort in 1998. A group of local citizens wanted to model a local currency after Ithaca Hours, and to provide a useful tool to community members and the local economy. BCP received its initial start-up grant from Ben & Jerry's, an operations grant from the Green Mountain Fund in May 2000, and a project grant from Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office in June 2001. Membership fees are based on a sliding scale. The group progressed slowly, with just a handful of local businesses, and membership never topped 100. In the fall of 2003, a local currency course taught at the University of Vermont set off a series of events. Organizers of the BCP participated in the course, and together with students and professors, publicly presented recommendations on improving and expanding Burlington Bread. Over the next six months, the BCP's Board of Directors expanded from five to seventeen people, a community competition set off a reprinting of the currency along with a new twenty-note, and plans were underway for involvement in a city-wide conference where the currency was to be officially re-launched. Currently, and for the first time, Burlington Bread is operating with a small work staff.

Information last updated 11/05


Madison Hours

Jon Hain
1202 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 259-9050
1st Issue: May 6,1996
Currency: One Hour is equivalent to $10 federal dollars. Currency is issued in denominations of 1/4, 1/2, and 1 Hours. To date the program has issued 3600 Hours.
Participation: Current membership of Madison Hours Cooperative is roughly
120, including 35 business members.
Outreach: The Hour Community Newspaper, is distributed quarterly throughout community, each featuring around 500 listings. Members can make listings in the newsletter and on the website. Madison Hours also sponsors a monthly potluck and a monthly pancake breakfast fund raiser.
Background: The Madison Hour planning committee received excellent media
coverage and was initially overwhelmed with press response. Originally fiscally funded by Housing Co-op, it is currently supported mainly by grants, ongoing fund raising, membership fees and directory advertisement. They have started offering web hosting to their members as another source of income. Madison Hours is incorporated as co-operative, broad-based group administration.

Information last updated March 9, 2007

Local Currency Groups in Mexico

Sistema TLALOC, Red Nacional Vida Digna y Sostenible
Asociación Civil Promocion del Desarrollo Popular
Arq. Luis Lopezllera Mendez
Tlaloc 40-3, Col.
Tlaxpana, 11370 México, D.F.
Outreach: This system has been reproduced, one in Magdalena Contreras, a municipality southwest of Mexico City, with support of local authorities. The bill is called "Dinamo". Another one, linked also with this group, in Dolores Hidalgo, is Guanajuato, supported by a network of grassroots peasant producers. Their bill is called "Mezquite" after the region's desert tree.

Information last updated 11/05

Soon-to-be-Active Local Currency Programs, U.S. and Canada

PDX Hours

Tim Sexton
2250 NW Kearney Suite 409
Portland, OR 97210
1st Issue: September 2007
Participation: There are currently 3 active board members, a mailing list of approx 50 interested individuals, and ongoing solicitation of local merchants.
Outreach: PDX Hours was founded to rejuvenate the role of local currency within the highly progressive atmosphere of Portland, Oregon.
History: Founded in 2007, PDX Hours is now building the structure of the member-drive, local currency program. Community outreach has included exposure through publication in two local non-daily papers and a sponsoring role in the upcoming presentation and panel discussion of The Money Fix (Alan Rosenblith) on June 21 in Portland.

Information last updated May 4, 2007

© 2012, Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation  ·  Privacy Policy  ·  Terms of Use  ·  Contact the SSIMF
Website by NextGEM