Coastal Marin Fund’s local currency will benefit local non-profits

The Idea

There are approximately 2300 households in the 10 villages of Coastal Marin. It is from these families that local non-profit organizations receive much of their financial support—through membership dues, individual contributions, and fundraising events. In effect, our non-profits are all fishing in the same pond to finance their good works. The West Marin $3.00 coin, good only in the 10 villages that comprise coastal Marin county in California, is a plan designed to include the 2 million-plus visitors who annually pass our way in financing these organizations.

Here’s How It Works

Local merchants and individuals exchange U.S. dollars for an equivalent amount in $3.00 coins, and then begin making change, or making small purchases with the coins around town.* Visitors run into the local currency as they shop and dine. Signs at cash registers remind them to “ask for local currency in change.” The silver-dollar-size brass coins are beautiful, depicting many of the things travelers have come here to see: elk, coho salmon, the products of our ranches and farms, our ridge lines and beaches, and more. (See “coins” page). At $3.00, these coins are an irresistible souvenir.

Because the $3.00 coins cost about $1.00 each to mint, every one slipped into a pocket and taken home to Minneapolis, Tokyo, or Berlin, leaves $2.00 in the community for local non-profits. If just 100,000 visitors out of the 2 million remove a coin from circulation, they will leave $200,000 behind for local non-profits. This could happen every year, and the number of people removing numbers of coins could be even higher.

Direct Granting

CMF has a unique way of distributing the funds earned by coins no longer in circulation. It has no special date by which applications must be made. It requires no grant applications at all. Individuals and merchants buy a 25-$3 coin box for $75, spend the coins or give them as change, and donate the redeemable coin box to the local non-profit of their choice. That non-profit redeems coin boxes with CMF for $40 U.S. dollars each. See more on “coins” page.

*Everything is completely voluntary. Neither merchants nor individuals are required to accept the $3 coins or to use them, and merchants can always return coins to the Fund for the equivalent amount in U.S. dollars, by contacting us.

So far, where to find, trade, and/or use West Marin currency for cash:

Contact us if you want to be one of them!

Some of the local nonprofits that have already benefited from the COASTAL MARIN FUND’s $3 coin project:

Bolinas Community Center
Bolinas Museum
Bolinas/Stinson School Libraries
Bolinas/Stinson Summer Camp
Community Land Trust Association of West Marin
Dance Palace
Environmental Action Committee

Gallery Route One
KWMR radio

Lion’s Club of West MarinMain Street Moms
Papermill Creek Preschool
Point Reyes National Seashore Association

Sound Orchard
Stinson Montesori Preschool
Tomales Bay Library Association

Tomales Bay Youth Center

West Marin Community Resources
West Marin Fund
West Marin Little League
West Marin Senior Services

Young Musicians of West Marin

If you are a local non-profit (therefore a potential beneficiary of this program), please notify your members about what we are doing. We’re happy to provide images and information for your website.

Also check us out in the news by perusing our Media section!