What is SkillShare?
SkillShare on Channel 7
SkillShare is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that provides an easy way for residents of Boulder County to share time, skills, and resources — just as our grandparents once did — within a cooperative system in which members earn and bank Time Dollars for every hour of service they give to someone else.
SkillShare members provide a wide variety of services, such as computer consulting, home repair, career counseling, cooking, gardening, massage, home and pet care, tutoring, music and art instruction, life and sports coaching, and more.
SkillShare members are diverse in age, interests, and background; they live in Boulder, Erie, Gunbarrel, Hygiene, Longmont, Louisville, Lyons, Nederland, Niwot, Broomfield, and Superior.
We envision our community as a network of neighborhoods built on cooperation and supported by a functional, expansive, locally-based, and highly visible alternative to the cash economy, providing varied services, and supporting the needs of the community.
Reconnecting Neighbors and Community Organizations
Neighbors have been helping neighbors for years, yet, in the hustle and bustle of modern life we are losing touch with the pleasures of being in community. SkillShare uses the internet to reintroduce neighbors to each other and the joys of doing things for others in reciprocal relationships.
In addition, SkillShare supports local neighborhoods and community organizations in developing their own neighbor-to-neighbor exchanges within our larger network.
SkillShare also supports collaboration with local nonprofits to develop TimeDollar projects that can address needs in our community, such as affordable housing and medical care, unemployment and underemployment, building community between recent immigrants and the larger community, educational programs, and access to services and skills for impoverished elders, single parents, and their families. Read more about community building programs supported by SkillShare’s partners.
Part of the Time Banking Movement
SkillShare is a member of hOurworld and part of the international Time Banking movement, now in 22 countries and six continents, which is creating new ways of sharing resources based on cooperation and mutual aid.
Time Banks run on a “no-cash economy,” recognizing the importance of every individual and creating systems where everyone benefits and everyone’s skills are equally valued.
SkillShare is based on seven core values:
- Assets. We all have something to give.
- Honoring Our Work. Building home, family, and community.
- Reciprocity, Asking receivers to become givers as well.
- Community: Acknowledging our interdependence.
- Respect: Everyone deserves respect.
- Acceptance: Transcending political and religious differences.
- Responsibility: Counting on one another to be responsible.
The beginnings of SkillShare were in 2001 at the KidFest, which was part of The Renaissance Projects in Boulder. At that time, SkillShare was a small, informal, hour-to-hour exchange, which did not endure. It was revived in early 2003 with the support of the Commons Community Center and founder Octavia Allis at the Boulder Food Coop.
Octavia worked very hard the first three years to create the infrastructure for a more enduring Time Bank. Back then there was no ready-made software to easily run a Time Bank, so Octavia created her own system to keep track of things. She obtained SkillShare’s nonprofit status within Colorado, set up the bank account, acted as the Time Bank broker to facilitate exchanges between members, and pulled together a “kitchen cabinet” of committees and a board of directors.
In 2005, SkillShare began using Time Bank USA’s Community Weaver software program, which allows members to conduct all their Time Banking business via the Internet on the SkillShare website. In the spring of 2007, SkillShare allowed members of Time-Exchange Network to transfer their memberships to SkillShare.
In 2011 SkillShare created a presence on FaceBook and continued to gain members and increase the types of exchanges available to members.
In 2013, SkillShare moved from Time Bank USA to the more accessible and more flexible hOurworld software system. Currently SkillShare is experiencing unprecedented growth and has over 170 members.
For more details about SkillShare and how it works, read the frequently asked questions about SkillShare.