ORE Update & Taskforce Status
We have been here before, in a crossroad, looking forward with hopeful eyes for the future of ORE.
For the past five years, ORE has gone through a couple of transformations. In 2016 ORE created a three-year strategic plan but we did not have enough resources to implement it. In 2017 we had to lay off our staff because there were not enough funds to sustain it.
In 2018 member volunteers and board members spent the better part of the year creating an action plan but the board realized that without enough members making it happen or staff, the implementation would prove to be difficult. 2019 was a beautiful testament of member’s dedication and we must thank Kathy Preston and other volunteers for allowing us to continue to open the doors to members and support with all the administrative tasks needed. We tried various initiatives but they were not enough to invigorate ORE.
By the end of 2019, the board finally had enough funds to hire staff and Diadel joined our team before COVID came to disrupt our lives. Her efforts and imagination have been beautiful, and her creativity has allowed us to continue during this COVID time.
After much introspection and consideration, and after many years of trying, most of the current board of the Onion River Exchange came to the conclusion that is time for big decisions. In our view, we find that it is time for ORE to either take a different direction or perhaps close its doors.
In that spirit, in early June, we invited every ORE member as well as community members to join a taskforce. With the purpose of considering the future of ORE and proposing innovative ideas. Current taskforce members are those who have been involved in the strategic implementation effort as well as a few new faces. At this point, we felt it was opportune to update members as to the status of said initiative.
Current General Status of ORE:
-During our last member meeting in October 2020, members questioned the added value of the organization. Some attribute it to the presence of the front porch forum and finding challenges with the software. Others have suggested that while the idea of ORE is held positively by many, it is not felt strongly enough to generate the effort to take the efforts required for success.
-As has been the case in recent years, ORE is facing financial instability. With the bare-bones budget we have been operating, we would be able to continue with an open office until December but not fully staffed. Possibly, a few more months once and if we receive the loan forgiveness from our PPP loan. See detailed finances.
-We have not had an active Development committee and no grants have recently been submitted.
-Member exchanges are low, making us question the relevance of ORE.
Current Board Status:
-Chair Edisa G. Revilla Muller, Board Member since 2015 & Chair since 2016, is happy to support during a transition period but is ready to step down. “I have enjoyed my time at ORE and my experience with TimeBanking but I feel ORE is in need of a transformation”.
-Treasurer Amanda Garces, on the board and Treasurer since 2017, will be stepping down on September 15th. “This will give enough time to hire or find a volunteer bookkeeper. I have been doing books and 990 for the past three years. This labor will have to be taken into consideration when revisiting the budget. I believe in time banking and have enjoyed working with the members, but I have other priorities in my current life.”
-Board member Joan Black will be stepping down.
-Board member Debbie Archer has offered to “keep helping with the taskforce/transition period”.
-Board Member Barbara Garton will be stepping down.
-Board member Paul Bourassa will continue to serve on the Board. “I will stay on the board as long as it is needed. if at some time, ORE moves in a direction that does not require a formal board, that is fine too.”
Task Force Update & Status:
-The Task Force was formed in mid-June and several meetings have taken place.
-Current Task Force members are Eric Bachman, Dorie Wilsnack, and Kirk Gardner, with the support of Diadel Ortiz, ORE Coordinator as well as sporadic participation of other ORE members.
-The Task Force will be facilitating a process called SWOT analysis, by which we would identify ORE’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and use those to build a realistic plan for the future.
Members of the recently formed Task Force as well as some current Board Members would like to continue to operate ORE. For this, we will need new board members. If you are interested in becoming a Board Member, please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time,
The Onion River Exchange Board
Amanda Garces, Treasurer
Edisa G. Revilla Muller, Chair
Sharing the many ways, others are experiencing Timebanking.
Credit goes to Kent Community Timebank inc.Facebook page
One of the beautiful bits of collateral that comes along with a TimeBank is finding a community of people. With that discovery comes the opportunity to lean into that community and cultivate friendships, if you choose. This was one of those weekends, where I leaned in! So glad to visit with Mary and to go out for some fun on the lake with several other Time Banking friends! I chuckled at myself last night as I contemplated, with humor, whether I now owed these folks time credits for all the fun?! Maybe not, but I do owe a debt of gratitude to this group for your hand in friendship. Thank you!
Mary Z. Greer
Do You Need Food?
Check out the Department of Human Resources website. They have a list of where to get Food Help! Thank you to one of our members (Bern) for this information.
You must pre-register first.
The ORE TEAM
Police brutality and mass incarceration are antithetical to the core principles and values that TimeBanking is founded on. TimeBanking was popularized after the publication of No More Throw-Away People by Edgar Cahn. Cahn writes about the way that the money economy regards certain groups of people- those that are unemployed, disabled, elders, children- as “throwaway people” and says that in order to heal our society we have to create an economy that values everyone. We can add Black people and other people of color, immigrants, and “criminals” to that list of people considered by some to be disposable, and the system of incarceration, deportation, and police brutality to be the way that we separate them out from the rest of society.
Grounded in our TimeBanking principles (listed below), Unity in Our Community affirms that Black Lives Matter. We will continue our work along with many others to find ways beyond incarceration and policing to create true community safety and racial justice.
TimeBank Core Principles (and their relevance to racial justice and moving beyond our current justice system)
- People are Assets: When we lock people up in prisons or detention centers we devalue them. When we assume someone is dangerous or a criminal because of their skin color, the country they are from, how they talk, and how they dress- we devalue them.
- Redefining Work: If we truly value people’s contributions to our society, beyond their current market value, we would eliminate the poverty which drives much of what is considered “crime” by society. We also need to define work in a way where those that are peacemakers and peacekeepers in society are valued just as highly, if not more so, than those that perpetuate war and violence.
- Reciprocity: No one is a taker or a giver, we all have needs and we all have something to offer. Likewise, people’s identities cannot be “cop,” “illegal,” or “criminal”- like giver and taker these labels are changeable and constructed by society.
- Social Network: We all need each other, we cannot wall ourselves. We are seeing this in the current public health crisis as well as in our criminal justice system. Since our fates are all bound up together anyway, rather than locking some people up or segregating ourselves from people and places that we consider dangerous, we need to work together to create systems that keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Respect: Every human being deserves respect. You cannot respect people in a society where assumptions are made that criminalize people based on their skin color, the country they are from, how they talk, and how they dress. It is also deeply disrespectful to use violence against people who are speaking and gathering in a nonviolent way. Black people deserve the respect that our society too often denies them.
You can view the article: http://www.southwestdetroittimebank.org/2020/06/27/black-lives-matter/
Formed in 2008 as an outgrowth of Envision Montpelier in an effort to ensure community sustainability and increase community connectedness, the Onion River Exchange’s mission is to promote the exchange of skills and talents, using time instead of money, to increase the sustainability and well-being of communities.Over 16,000 exchanges have occurred between members in our community. New members sign up each month. And yet, members report the difficulty of getting someone to help with, or even respond to, their requests. At the annual meeting in the fall of 2019 the idea that the exchange has lived out its useful life was brought up. Now, faced with the isolating effects of the COVID-19 response, it seems like the exchange could be useful in keeping our community connected to individuals and organizations.What is the way forward? ORE’s Board of Directors is looking for members interested in serving on a task force whose mission is to come up with ideas and recommendations for the path ahead. Do we close? Do we change software providers? Partner with another community organization? Any ideas are worth discussing and this group will have the space to do so.You will earn credits for your time. The time commitment of this venture will be up to the task force to determine, but recommendations need to be submitted to the Board by the end of July. If interested in being part of this task force, please contact Diadel Ortiz, ORE Member Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com BY JUNE 5th (this Friday).
Timebanking in times of social distancing
We are planning to host a Members Check-in and Meet Up. A Members Check-in and Meet up is a virtual chat for the Onion River Exchange Timebank members to share our feelings about the current Coronavirus Pandemic. We hope to continue to building community by listening and sharing our fears, joys, and hope, concerns, and experience during this time of change.
We can gather in our own homes through a media platform (ZOOM). Through your computer or smart-phone, we can share ideas, talk about our hobbies, what we like to do or the concerns affecting us right now. It will be a live video just for us, private just for ORE and its members. The meetup will be no more than 35 mins.
A few suggestions:
We will ask that participants do not give medical advice but are welcome to share their practices and lifestyle changes. If medical or scientific questions come up, we will only turn to the CDC recommendations; you can find the information available on their website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
We ask that this is a place of non-political or hot topic type issues, a non-judgmental zone. We ask that members who wish to share resources and more conversations can exchange information on a private chat. We encourage members to start their group chats with other members. Member’s participation will earn time credit.
Email me so I can send you a link to participate!
If you would like to set up your group chat with members and need help, please contact me. I am happy to start you up.
Chat Meeting time: May 7, 2020, @ 3 pm.
We would love to hear your feedback!
The ORE TEAM
ORE has always had the option to “pay” your dues with hours exchanged with ORE (4hrs), and there has been no change to that policy. In addition, due to the current situation, we will extend that policy to include exchanges done with other members. To be clear, if you are currently unable to pay your dues, you can use any exchange you make as of April 1st, to cover your dues. Please reach out if you have trouble making that exchange happen.
Please continue to refer new members as we look to support the ORE community, save money, learn something new, connect with members on a social level through virtual meetups, and meet new people. Throughout this time, we are here to support you. Since many of our members may be facing unusual financial hardship, ORE is asking to please reach out to us so we can help.
We will continue to look for ways to support our member’s needs during the pandemic; Consider exchanging virtually and having conversations over the phone. There are many ways to stay connected. Practice a language over the phone or computer, have a virtual coffee with someone, teach knitting over the network or have someone guide you over the phone, get coaching on how to plan a garden, learn how to use Facebook, or check in on a fellow member. The possibilities are endless. Being physically distant doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected.
As we go forward, we’ll be sure to keep you updated, and know that we always value your questions, ideas, and feedback.Sincerely,Diadel
We have all been told that the most significant thing that most people can do right now to make a positive difference is to practice social distancing. Social distancing means keeping a safe distance (approximately 6 feet) from others and avoiding gathering spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls, and public transportation.
At ORE, we will be creating positive changes by applying social distancing. Our strength is our network of people helping each other, uniting communities in support, strength, and trust– which we need now more than ever.
So, we will be using social media and other platforms to connect with you more than we have in the past. Social media can be a powerful tool—not only for connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances—but for feeling united in a greater sense to our communities, country, and the world. It reminds us we’re not alone in this time of uncertainty. You can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ORExchange
We are also planning to host a meetup soon. What is a meetup? Since our upcoming gatherings like our community potluck have been canceled, we can gather in our own homes together through a virtual media platform. Through your computer or smart-phone, we can share ideas, talk about our hobbies, what we like to do or the concerns affecting us right now. It will be a live video chatroom just for us, private just for ORE and its members. Details are coming soon.
We would also encourage you to keep making exchanges while practicing social distancing. Try these ideas:
- virtual book club
- video jam session (for those learning or have instruments to either practice or play)
- online tutoring
- cooking sessions
- Knitting sessions
- Host a virtual workout
There are many exciting possibilities for ORE and our community, even if we can’t gather together physically at this time. By joining through social platforms, you are still giving and receiving services and earning hours. And as always, we welcome and encourage your feedback and creativity.
The ORE Team
Postponed due to COVID-19
We want to help you have a good experience here at Onion River Exchange (ORE). I always say communication is the key to a skillful experience. At ORE we are continuing to help our ORE community save money, learn something new, connect with members on a social level and meet new people.
We stand by our Five Core Values: Assets, Redefining Work, Reciprocity, Social Network and Respect. We all matter, we all need to redefine value together, and contribute something to the world.
I would like to ask you a few questions:
• How is your timebanking experience going?
• Is there something I can help you with?
• What do you need to make your offers and exchanges valued (in time)?
• What would you like to see at ORE?
• Would you like to partake in potlucks? Social groups and/or events?
• If you have children, would you like to participate in children’s events?
• Senior events?
I am trying to get a sense of what is needed in order to better accommodate member’s requests. We want you to feel welcome, appreciated and respected. As an ORE Member, I want to contribute my time to helping you exchange skills, attend social events, and hear your feedback. Feedback is important to us. It helps us see what is needed, what changes needs to happen and how to build a strong and loving ORE foundation.
I am excited to hear your input and how your involvement can help make ORE more successful.
Email us with your feedback!
Onion River Exchange
Our Mission is to promote the exchange of skills and talents, using time instead of money, to increase the sustainability and well-being of communities.
ORE’s Vision is a world of empowered, interdependent and resilient communities where everyone is valued equally, and has access to the services they need to enhance their well-being.
The Onion River Exchange (ORE) Timebank is a place for members to exchange skills, talents, and services using time instead of money. ORE does not provide services, but it is a network of individuals, businesses, and organizations that share services with each other.
Members of the ORE Timebank:
- Give and receive services to/from each other
- Learn new skills
- Meet new people
- Save money
- Feel connected and Involved in the community
- Increase community health and well-being as well as support sustainability
- Further develop a complimentary currency, time credits
Timebank members post offers and requests and log time earned or spent exchanging services with each other on our online timebanking system. The time “banked” can be used for future exchanges with any member. Central to timebanking is the agreement that one hour of your time is equal to one hour of my time. The ORE timebank is based upon the five core values of timebanking.
The ORE TIMEBANK
- On April 8, 2019 was 11 years old
- More then 16,600 exchanges made since 2008
- More than 49,800 hours exchanged since 2008
- Over 160 members use the ORE timebank
- Members from more than 20 towns and cities in Central Vermont
- More than 130 services are currently offered or requested in the timebank
- Timebankers’ Talents (skills) are many and diverse
Click Here: Stories from our timebank members.
ORE is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and we welcome your tax exempt donations.
Other Timebanks in Vermont:
- Bennington County Time Bank
- Brattleboro Time Trade
- Upper Valley Community Exchange (White River Junction)