Could local currency be the key?

Last spring, a new local currency was developing in Ithaca, NY called “Ithacash,” following a previous local currency that had been known as “Ithaca Hours.” All types of businesses participate, including non-profits such as companies like the Kitchen Theatre Company, the Ithaca Voice and Cinemapolis. Scott Morris, CEO and founder of Ithacash, said in a previous interview that his hopes for Ithacash were that it’d create a healthier and wealthier environment for the Ithaca community.

Although the currency has only been active for about half a year, it’s generated success already. Ithacash has an active network of about 90 businesses with over $93,000 worth of income generated through participation of the system, according to Morris. So that leads to the big question: could local currency be the solution to helping the economical state of non-profit organizations?

It’s arguable that non-profits have more unique struggles than other businesses since their economic state depends on other people or companies. Troubles of debt, neglected facilities, and less cash are only a few of the issues that emerge for non-profit organizations all over the nation. However, the idea of a local currency could be the solution as a starting step to solve all these issues.

Ithacash’s success has generated even more interest in it with more and more businesses accept Ithaca Dollars for their goods and services. Morris says that they hope to have 300 businesses partnered with them eventually, spreading Ithacash throughout the town of Ithaca even more. As for the effects that this currency has on the town of Ithaca overall, it will only be determined as time goes by.

Even though Ithaca Hours ended after about 20 years, Morris said that it had enormous success during its time. Since Ithacash is using a newer technological method, the possibilities are endless for the success non-profits could have in the future.

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