It is usually around Mother’s Day of every year that we are reminded of one of the critical flaws in our good old-fashioned gross domestic product (GDP) measurement as one of the most popular means of expressing economic growth. Maybe you have seen the evidence too? Its called the “Mom Job index” where entities like http://mom.salary.com estimates the monetary value that parents add when they do things like cooking, laundry, chaffering, counseling, scheduling, etc. instead of outsourcing the services outside the family. Yet our current economic models do not account for such non-market contributions to our economy by stay at home (and working) parents and grandparents.
In nonprofit accounting we have at least moved closer to solutions by plugging in-kind services into grant applications and reports. At present time we view the average volunteer’s hour of service around $16 in Tama County, Iowa (adjusted higher if a professional service is performed at their market rate). Sometimes in-kind products and services can be even more valuable than cash because of the local expertise, trust and long-term equity that is built with it. But there is also another benefit: when you spend an hour with someone who has a different framework of the world than you, (and you collaborate in a respectful and constructive way) both parties learn from each other and develop a relationship. This process of capacity building that strengthens the community around mutually agreed on objectives is thus in itself also a free “continuing education system”.
And so Tama County Diversity Alliance has recognized an economic and community development need to introduce a community TimeBank. The premise here is that every person in our community can add value no matter their background, age, education level, nationality, race, etc. Maybe you know how to weatherize a basement, while your benefactor can help with tax filings, while that benefactor can carve traditional Native American game pieces out of wood, and beyond. You have talents, and others have needs or interests. And when we can link up people at the right time to benefit from each other our community can be richer for it.
Join us Thu. Jan 19, 2012 at 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Reinig Toledo Center for our first TimeBank training so you too can add value to our economy outside of the traditional market while at the same time strengthening how people relate to each other from different walks of life. We especially encourage our nonprofits and governments to help get the ball rolling. There is no cost. Everyone is very welcome. Please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org(641) 484-3108.
To see this original story and more in a web friendly flip through format, click here. Other Tama County Winter News 2011 updates include:
- Economic Outlook for 2012
- See the full list of 2011 EDIE nominees PLUS a synopsis of their undertakings Vote online for your favorite stories
- Updates from Tama County Economic Development’s numerous subsidiaries
- Calendar of upcoming events
- …and more…