Point Reyes Light

“Coins Add Up for Marin Business”

from the Point Reyes Light, April 28 2011

The Coastal Marin Trade Token, a three-dollar coin accepted at many businesses in West Marin, is nearing its first anniversary. The brass coin was the brainchild of Dogtown’s Richard Kirschman, who planned to use tourist traffic to fund local nonprofits. It was designed by Keith Hansen, and is engraved with local icons—the lighthouse, an elk, produce, a poppy, a sand dollar (easily mistaken for a marijuana leaf) an arrowhead, a cow, a coho salmon, an osprey clutching pens and paintbrushes, the names of the ten coastal Marin villages and the words “Strength in Community.”

Now a year later, Kirschman has announced a new plan to help local nonprofits. “Here’s how it works,” Kirschman said. “Starting immediately, the $3 coins are available in special 25-coin containers. Anyone can purchase these containers for $75 each. When the coins have been put into circulation, either spent by individuals, or given as change by merchants, the empty container can be redeemed for $40 in cash by the nonprofit of the individual’s or merchant’s choice.” Under this plan there are neither grant applications to be written, nor funding committees to persuade. The Coastal Marin Fund, which manages the coins, has kickstarted the new program by making it retroactive for some local businesses, which generated an instant $6000 for local nonprofits. “If just one out of ten of the more than 2 million tourists who pass our way each year take home a single coin, that will raise over $400,000 for our nonprofits,” Kirschman said. “All we have to do is keep the coins in circulation by using them as cash and accepting them in change. It’s as easy as that.”

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

Contact us if you want to be one of them!

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.