In 1997, Lois Wright undertook the task of documenting the history, model and practice of a program at Grace Hill Settlement House named “Member Organized Resource Exchange (MORE)”. While Grace Hill had been operating human service and self sufficiency programs in St. Louis since the early 20th century, MORE represented a shift towards incorporating deep residential participation into its service delivery model. The arrival of 1980 had heralded deep reductions in federal and state funding for the type of services most often provided by Grace Hill. In an effort to continue meeting the needs of the local community, MORE was implemented to provide residents with an opportunity to source some of their own needs directly from other members of the community.
While Edgar Cahn is frequently billed as the father of modern timebanking, MORE was one of the first agencies in the US to deploy the principle of time dollars into an actual community infrastructure. By the time the guide was released, MORE had developed a Time Dollar Exchange, Neighborhood College, Time Dollar Store and neighborhood health centers around this concept of non-monetary exchange. Residents found their capacity for action and self determination as they were able to deploy their skills in service of their neighbor’s need. They were incentivized to be more deeply invested in the normal social networks which already existed in a more meaningful way. Read how they were able to accomplish these things in the following guide produced by Grace Hill Settlement House.
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