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HOURS Directory | What are Ithaca Hours? | How can I participate?

What are Ithaca Hours?
Ithaca Hours is a local currency system that promotes local economic strength and community self-reliance in ways which will support economic and social justice, ecology, community participation and human aspirations in and around Ithaca, New York. Ithaca Hours help to keep money local, building the Ithaca economy. It also builds community pride and connections. Over 900 participants publicly accept Ithaca HOURS for goods and services. Additionally some local employers and employees have agreed to pay or receive partial wages in Ithaca Hours, further continuing our goal of keeping money local.

Watch this video to learn more about Ithaca hours


Why Should I Join?
If you have a business or provide a service there are three main reasons to join the HOURS network.

  • It’s good for your business - being listed in the print version of the HOURS Directory and on the HOURS website provides additional customers who have HOURS to spend and are looking for businesses that take them.
  • It supports the local economy – unlike dollars HOURS keeps money in the community to build our local economy.
  • It pays for itself immediately – you pay $10 for a single listing in the Directory and we immediately give you 2 HOURS, worth $20 (4 HOURS if you join or renew at our Annual Meeting).
  • The main concern a business often has when considering accepting HOURS is what will I do with the HOURS I get from customers or clients? The first thing to note is that you decide what rate of HOURS you will accept for purchases or services. Some member businesses accept 100% HOURS but many limit the HOURS they will accept.

    You should calculate a rate of HOURS that is proportional to your ability to put them back into the local economy. In thinking about this you may be surprised to learn that in fact there are many outlets for the use of HOURS. If you look in the Directory you will find many other places you can easily spend HOURS. Or write us for help

    If you don’t sell any goods or services there are still good reasons to join Ithaca HOURS. Ithaca HOURS is our local currency. It keeps money local, building our local economy. It builds community pride and connections. And you will be participating in the oldest and largest local currency system in the U.S.

    It’s also fun to get and use something other than dollars (remember how much you enjoyed or still enjoy using monopoly money), and unlike monopoly money Ithaca HOURS really are accepted just the same as US dollars at hundreds of Ithaca-area merchants and service providers. But unlike US dollars when you spend an HOUR you know it is going to stay in our community, keep circulating, supporting our economy and maybe even end up right back in your pocket. And also unlike dollars this is your system. You can get to know the people who run the system (HOURS Board of Directors) as well as those business people that accept HOURS, and you can even help make the decisions which make the system run (by attending the Annual Meeting, electing and talking with members of the Board, or even running for a seat on the Board yourself.

    How can I participate?
    Ithaca HOURS Offers Business Loans at No Interest! 

    Individuals or businesses who are members of Ithaca HOURS are eligible to apply for business loans. These loans are made in HOURS with an amazing rate of 0% interest. 

    Applicants for loans must submit a letter outlining the following:
    1. The size of the business loan you are requesting
    2. The way the HOURS will be spent (loans should be spent within six months of receipt)
    3. How the applicant expects to be able to repay the loan
    4. A proposed loan repayment schedule, at 0% interest, with repayment within one year
    5. The name of the individual personally responsible for repaying the loan.
    6. References

    Loan applications will be evaluated on the completeness of the application; ability to repay the loan; ability to spend the HOURS in diverse ways within the community; and the extent to which the proposed activity will support or stimulate entrepreneurship and opportunity within the community, consistent with the mission of Ithaca HOURS. 

    If you have a business start-up or expansion idea please consider an Ithaca HOURS loan. You’ll be helping yourself, and by putting more HOURS into circulation also the community. 


    Thinking of a Unique and Meaningful Gift?

    Why Not a Gift of Ithaca HOURS!

    Consider giving a gift of Ithaca HOURS to your friends and family this year. A gift of Ithaca HOURS supports the community and makes a statement about the importance of local and sustainable economic development. It is also educational, showing the possibilities of local currency and keeping money local.

    Gifts of Ithaca HOURS are available in any amount. We will add $5 for shipping and handling to the cost of the HOURS. We would be happy to also include an attractive card acknowledging the gift or including a note from you.

    Sponsors of Ithaca Hours

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    Hours Help In Tough Times

    Times are pretty tough these days, with the housing and credit crises, record oil prices, and now, soaring food prices.

    Among Hours businesses, some have cut back on Hours acceptance, hard-pressed for scarce dollars.

    It’s a sensible reaction. But in the long run, the reality is that dollars are going to keep getting scarcer, and going faster.

    That’s where local currency comes in.

    In 1991, Ithaca Hours began developing a legal currency for our town. Today, there are over $100,000 worth of Hours in circulation. It’s money for you. You can earn it. You can spend it.

    Unlike dollars, it is money that stays in our community. You spend it, but you spend it with your neighbors. It stays here, for you to earn back. Meanwhile, you’re building our local economy. You’re helping people who will help you back.

    It is money based on sharing, not scarcity. You make money just by joining. Then you have hundreds of prospective places to spend it, and hundreds of prospective customers who want to do business with you.

    You can get started with Hours right now, using the membership form on this website.

    If you have any questions about how Hours can help you, please call me during business Hours

    Ithaca Hours on Google Video

    In December, three video documentary film makers came to Ithaca from Italy for a project on Hours.

    As the film makers prepare the final document, they are posting rough cuts on Google Video. The first is an interview with Hours president Steve Burke at his shop, Small World Music.

    It is a wide-ranging interview. That means a long one: over an hour. Maybe get a good bottle of Italian wine from Hours member business, Sparrow’s Wines, on the corner of Fulton and Green Street, and check it out some wintry night.

    Ithaca HOURS on NPR

    On July 11, 2007 Ithaca HOURS was featured on NPR's Morning Edition.

    Some communities around the U.S. are busy creating their own currencies, hoping to give local businesses a chance to compete against big box retailers. The local currency in Ithaca, N.Y., is called "Ithaca Hours." They are bought with U.S. dollars and can be traded with local shops for products or services. The southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts calls its currency "Berk-Shares" and in Traverse City, Mich., the currency is called "Bay Bucks."

      Ithaca Hours
    Ithaca, New York

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    Copyright © 2005 by Ithaca Hours


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