Our Mission and Core Values
Hour Exchange Portland is an hour exchange based on the equality of time, empowering individuals to utilize their assets and enhance their lives, neighborhood and community.
Hour Exchange Portland's Core Values (based on the original four values conceived by the "time banking mamas", a group of women that started Grace Hill Settlement in Saint Louis, MO, and the fifth added by Dr. Edgar Cahn):
- Assets: We are all assets. Every human being has something of value to contribute.
- Equality: At the heart of every exchange is equality. An hour is an hour, regardless of the service. All people are valued equally.
- Reciprocity: Helping works better as a two way street. Rather than the traditional roles of "provider" and "consumer", we ask "How can we help each other build the world we both want to live in?"
- Redefining Work: Work is beyond price. Work must be redefined to include all of the activities it takes to sustain families, neighborhoods and communities, to help democracy work and to advance social justice. This kind of work needs to be honored.
- Respect: Everyone matters. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.
In late 1995 Dr. Richard Rockefeller (the founder of Hour Exchange Portland) first heard Dr. Edgar Cahn speak about Time Dollars. Up to that point, most of Richard's interests had been in environmental issues.
After hearing Edgar speak, Richard realized that we can't expect people to take care of our environment, if we are not first taking care of each other. Compelled to bring the Time Dollar concept to Maine, Richard began to share his vision. In 1997 Maine hosted an International Time Dollar Congress in cooperation with Dr. Edgar Cahn, a spokesperson of the Time Banking movement, bringing together 40 Service Exchanges from all over the world. For many, it was the first opportunity to share their experiences about their programs and learn from others. For the Portland community, the Congress inspired a new vision and direction. It was time to grow a local Service Exchange, and the seed that became today's Hour Exchange Portland was born.
Over the years, Hour Exchange Portland has grown and evolved in many ways along with its members, changing its name from the Maine Time Dollar Network and Portland Time Bank and creating many innovative programs. For more information on the history of hour exchange organizations see our media resources and these links of interest.