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TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation Takes Aim at Loneliness Epidemic

June 13, 2024

Scalable Technology Platform Builds Community Through Time and Services Exchange

TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation, a free program that facilitates the exchange of time, skills and services among volunteer participants and organizations, is unveiling their new technology platform and encouraging volunteerism as one of the best and most rewarding ways to combat social isolation. While the origins of time-based exchanges go back to the 1800s, this initiative is scalable and designed to meet the needs of community members—from young adults to seniors—throughout New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Sullivan, Orange and Rockland counties. The program today serves more than 2,500 participants and over 100 organizations.

In a May 2023 published report, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy named social connection as the best medicine to combat the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation on individual and collective health and well-being,” said Errol Pierre, Healthfirst Foundation Board Member who oversees the company’s TimeBank initiative. “TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation stimulates a community-wide cycle of action, learning, gathering, and projects, that reduce social isolation, and builds mutual support.”

How Time Banking Works

TimeBank differs from traditional volunteering because it is a reciprocal model. TimeBank participants earn credits for the hours they dedicate to working with other TimeBank community members and then spend those credits in return for services from other community members. For example, they can take classes from other members, learning new skills such as a language, technology skill or how to crochet. One hour equals one credit—regardless of the service a participant gives. No money is exchanged, only time.

TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation takes the opportunity to build community further by also allowing its members to participate in dozens of free online and in-person learning and community activities. More than 100 organizational members including neighborhood centers, houses of worship, soup kitchens, and healthcare organizations, among others, support onsite programs, volunteering and online participation. This programming is now enabled by a new technology platform, developed specifically for banking time, registering participants and sharing event content.

“We believe our new technology platform is the first of its kind to support time banking – in terms of its architecture and scalability,” continued Pierre. “Our efforts to connect volunteers with their community will help combat isolation and loneliness and ultimately create opportunities to address social determinants of health equity.”

To learn more about TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation and become a member, call 1-844-371-6870 or visit

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