As part of their reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods/PlanPhilly Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan share this story on the expansion of Equal Dollars Community Currency to South Kensington as part of South Kensington Community Partners' "Keepin' it Local" campaign.
A new currency rewards volunteer hours with funds usable at South Kensington businesses.
Equal Dollars is a community currency that residents can receive in exchange for community service performed in the neighborhood. These serve as forms of payment at participating businesses.
“I think that we [Equal Dollars] have a presence in a couple communities—but what really dictates how the Equal Dollars are used is by what each community needs,” said Sara Reed, community outreach and marketing coordinator for Equal Dollars.
“The people we work with in the community are the ones who tell us and give us ideas about what is needed.”
South Kensington’s Keepin’ it Local Campaign has organized cleanups or other neighborhood efforts, after which the volunteers receive the Equal Dollars. The next Keepin’ It Local Day is April 6.
Equal Dollars relies on the community to dictate how the currency is awarded or spent. Reed said their outreach mainly focused on businesses in South Kensington.
“Not all of the transactions that take place at Quince are monetary transactions. There’s a lot of community things going on—a lot of information exchange—and I think that this sort of bartering system fits very well with Quince’s personality,” said Nicole Marcote, owner of Quince Fine Foods on 209 W. Girard Avenue. Her business started using Equal Dollars this month.
“I think businesses want to see revitalization efforts; they love seeing volunteers coming out and seeing things get better. They want to support them. All in all, it’s a great circle,” Reed said.
If you’re interested in signing up for Equal Dollars, you can do so online.
This spring Alyssa Saylor and Sara Khan are bringing Eyes on the Street and PlanPhilly dispatches from South Kensington as part of their work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, a publication of Temple’s Multimedia Reporting Lab. PlanPhilly is a Philadelphia Neighborhoods partner.