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Name: Paul Glover

What he does: Makes money–literally

LATEST TRIUMPH: Helped 18 cities mint their own currencies

In 1991, struggling graphics designer Paul Glover of Ithaca, N.Y., played out every working Joe’s fantasy: He made his own money. Now, half a million dollars of his money has changed hands, and 18 cities are nurturing similar homegrown plans.

Glover’s idea was simple enough: Community members can earn locally printed money by performing a service or providing a good. The dollar-sized Ithaca HOURS, worth $10 apiece to represent the hourly wage in Tompkins County, can be traded for goods and services. Most importantly, money can’t leave the community by way of chain stores, such as Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.

What started as a barter experiment between Glover and about 90 friends has grown to include 250 businesses and nearly 1,500 participants who support the self-sustaining project. While Ithaca has relatively low unemployment, many residents find work seasonally and for little money, creating a high rate of working poor.

“We’re in a depression,” says Margaret McCasland. Her daycare program accepts HOURS, and she says the currency provides flexible work opportunities during rough times. A while back, she advertised what services she could offer from home (mending clothes, tutoring) through the project’s newspaper, Ithaca Money. Eventually, it helped her save enough to start her daycare program.

Glover’s idea is catching on. Communities in 13 other states have designed their own monetary systems with local flair (Ka’u, Hawaii, uses Pineapple Dollars). Glover says he hopes for more local currencies, with rules that “benefit people, rather than banks and corporate elites.”

For more information, write Paul Glover at P.O. Box 6578, Ithaca, NY 14851.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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