Taking Buying Local to the Next Step−Creating Local Currency

Buy Local campaigns have been common the past few years, but now some communities are taking this a step farther and creating local currencies! Why a local currency? Scott Morris, the founder of Ithacash, a new local currency being launched in Ithaca, explains it this way: “A tourist comes into town and they have $100 and they shop in the commons. The $100 circulates three times and then leaves the community. But, if the tourist comes in, converts the $100 to Ithaca dollars, after the tourist leaves, that money stays in the community and delivers 10 to 20 times the economic benefit.” In other words, instead of the money being spent at a national or international company and leaving the community, it stays within local markets, to the advantage of Ithaca businesses. This is why Scott believes that local currencies are more intelligently designed and go farther on delivering impact than philanthropy as it is normally done. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

The Ithacash project is a pilot of sorts for a national organization, and the information gleaned from launching Ithacash will be used to create local currencies nationally and internationally over the next several years. In order to further the work with the right values at heart, they will be working with socially responsible investment businesses, or as Scott framed it—“Conscious Capital.”

Ithacash will be available both online and as physical notes, and will be using a business-to-business barter industry model, but hybridized with a community currency that can deliver social and environmental benefits. The currency will be piloted this November and December and should be fully launched in Spring/Summer 2015. If you would like more information on how you can purchase Ithaca Dollars or more about the future work in local currencies, contact Scott at Scott@Ithacash.org.

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