Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We won the latest Delmar Divide SLOUP Microfunding Competition!!!

Today we received great news that the community voted for us to win the Delmar Divide SLOUP competition!  We will be using the awarded funds to jumpstart a marketing plan to spread the word about the collective -- in plain words, timebanking just makes sense/cents.  We will also be receiving advising from the selection committee comprised of staff at the Missouri History Museum, the Anti-Defamation League and the Pullitzer Foundation for the Arts and will be followed by the St. Louis Beacon throughout the coming year. In our case, second time was a charm, and we are so grateful to have won both in terms of money and backing.  Thank you to those who cast your vote and gave us positive thoughts that day. Stay tuned for some savvy marketing!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Putting a name to our work: Solidarity Economy

This week we had the opportunity to meet with Julia Ho of M.O.R.E. (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment).  She introduced us to the term 'Solidarity Economy' which grew out of the occupy movement and as explained on the SolidarityNYC website,

"The solidarity economy includes a wide array of economic practices and initiatives but they all share common values that stand in stark contrast to the values of the dominant economy.
Instead of enforcing a culture of cut-throat competition, they build cultures and communities of cooperation. Rather than isolating us from one another, they foster relationships of mutual support and solidarity. In place of centralized structures of control, they move us towards shared responsibility and democratic decision-making. Instead of imposing a single global monoculture, they strengthen the diversity of local cultures and environments. Instead of prioritizing profit over all else, they encourage a commitment to shared humanity best expressed in social, economic, and environmental justice."
Timebanking naturally fits under the umbrella of solidarity economy practices and we are excited to see what a first 'meeting of the minds' will produce!  Like-minded?  Join the conversation, Wednesday, November 6th at 7:30 pm at the World Community Center.

If at first you don't SUCCEED?

We all know the answer to this one...Try, try again! Well, I wouldn't exactly call our presentation at the first Delmar Divide St. Louis Soup event unsuccessful.  After all, we did spread the good word of timebanking to an audience of 50+.  We later found out that we came in second place, and by a small margin.  So,we have applied again to present at the next event and will hear back mid-month.  A little money in hand to go toward our growing lending library and some polished marketing would be pretty sweet!    

In the meantime we continue to network and have connected to Gracehill, and M.O.R.E. and even found that we were chosen to be included in the Sustainable Neighborhood Toolkit for the City of St. Louis.  We also received training on the software offered by hOurworld and are just weeks away from beginning regular orientations to grow our collective! 

Friday, August 30, 2013

FREE software is one GIANT step toward mobility for our collective!

While I normally don't swoon over tech-related things I am very excited that we have found free software to track our member timebank exchanges offered through hOurworld.  This means we can allocate our collective $money$$ in the bank to other needs AND sign people up more quickly, easily and efficiently! The next month will be dedicated to learning the software and assisting all current members with setting up their profiles with offers and requests.

I spoke briefly with a member of hOurworld, which is also a collective, this week and found out another bit of info that was exciting too - that St. Louis is where timebanking originated!  I knew that Grace Hill had run the M.O.R.E (Member Organized Resourc Exchange) for decades and that it's activity has waxed and waned, but I always thought that Maine was the birthplace of timebanking.  This is really important to me as my desire to have St. Louis be a frontrunner in the timebanking scene grows and I now realize we are simply returning to our roots, again, by honoring the start of a model alternative economics program right here in the midwest.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Abundance is the new Currency!

In entertaining the idea of creating the freedom and wealth we want for our world, "Abundance is the new Currency" is a statement that has surfaced for me lately.  I think it just might become the motto for The Cowry Collective!  When you reflect on all that you have and that the universe has a perfect mechanism to provide for all needs that exist, feelings of calm and gratitude wash over you and your outlook cannot help but become brighter!

We did not win the Delmar Divide SLOUP contest this time but we continue to look for funding and will re-apply to a SLOUP event very soon.  It was so great to share timebanking with more folks in St. Louis and I know other opportunities await us!

Monday, August 19, 2013

We have a chance to win $500+ from SLOUP Crowdfunding!

The Cowry Collective was selected to present at the Delmar Divide SLOUP this past Sunday 8/18 at MHM at 3 pm.  Presentations from 7 finalists were heard by an audience of about 50.  Attendees paid $10 and had the chance to vote for the project that best addressed the racial and social divide and inequities highlighted in the BBC news clip and resulting documentary that surfaced last year.  The doc was shown and while we all know about the huge disparities in race and class in St. Louis, with the statistics and visuals it was quite depressing to see the stark difference in appearance of the neighborhoods that lie just north and south of Delmar in the Central West End. However, out of those disparities I see so much potential for timebanking to equalize the playing field for residents in St. Louis who have great human capital they can invest in their neighborhoods.  

The winner of this SLOUP will be announced this Wednesday, so stay tuned!