Summer 2013 Newsletter: New Videos, the White House, Expansion (and What You Can Do)

New PB Videos and MacArthur Award

We just released three fantastic new videos, produced with Meerkat Media! Check out the general intro video, extended version, and short teaser on our videos page. Please use them at your meetings and events, and share them widely. We hope to have versions in other languages soon… even sooner if you can help with translation.

Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting

An earlier version of the intro video won 3rd place (out of 428 submissions) in the Looking@Democracy challenge! The contest, coordinated by the Illinois Humanities Council and the MacArthur Foundation, solicited media pieces that spark dialogue around strengthening American democracy. Looking@Democracy judge Ian Inaba: “This beautifully produced short film shows us that a more participatory democracy is possible in communities across America, today.”

Honored by The White House

In July, The White House recognized participatory budgeting as a leading innovation in civic engagement. PBP Board Member Joe Moore and Advisory Board Member Brad Lander were invited to DC to be honored as “Champions of Change”, for their work “piloting innovative programs to involve traditionally disengaged communities in local governance”.

WhiteHouse_LogoWe’re inspired by the passion for democracy and community engagement that drives these two champions to work tirelessly for their communities. We’re honored to have introduced PB to them both, to have worked with them and many others to launch successful pilot programs in Chicago and New York, and to continue to work together to build a more participatory democracy.

Coming Soon to a City Near You

Since our Conference this May, interest in PB has been booming:

Exploring Participatory Budgeting: United Workers Youth

We’re also working with officials and organizations in Greensboro (NC), Jackson (MS), San Diego, Long Beach (CA), San Jose, Merced (CA), New Haven, Montreal, and elsewhere to launch new PB processes. Check out our PB Organizing Map for more info.

Scaling Up

This spring, 20,000 people voted to allocate over $17 million for 91 community projects that were developed by residents, through PB in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Vallejo (CA). Working with dozens of partners, we nearly tripled the scale of PB in the US, building on the $6.6 million allocated by 7,300 voters last year.

This fall, we’ll continue this expansion. Two more Council Members are joining PBNYC, one new Alderman is joining PB Chicago, and several more San Francisco Supervisors are likely launching PB. In Vallejo, City Council approved a second year of PB with growing support. Although PB Vallejo was initially approved in a tight 4-3 vote, Council voted unanimously to fund the winning projects.

To help PB grow, we’re developing new tools and resources. In addition to the videos and postcards, we’re building the PB Nation on Nationbuilder, preparing new trainings and webinars, crafting new online tools, developing new research instruments, and creating new outreach materials.

What You Can Do

To take PB to the next level, we need your help!

Volunteer as an intern, facilitator, or organizer
The deadline is approaching fast for PBP and PBNYC internships. We also have new openings for facilitators and organizers in NYC and Chicago – a great way to build your skills and contribute to the community.

Share Your Skills
We’re looking for graphic designers, web developers, lawyers, researchers, and photographers to help with special projects – let us know if you can lend a hand.

Share your office (or office space leads)
We’re looking for new office spaces in NY and the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have leads, let us know and we can send more info.

As a small non-profit, we depend on donations from supporters like you – please give if you can. If you’d rather give things than money, you can also buy us gifts on our new Amazon wish list.

A non-profit organization that empowers communities to decide how to spend public money

Donate to PBP
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Invest in participatory democracy by making a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or snailmail.

Featured Resource
Want PB materials to share in your community? Check out our sample materials page for ballots, info sheets, postcards, brochures, and more!

In the Press
PB Vallejo lands on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. “‘For a city that’s been through a very rough period,” said City Manager Daniel Keen, “this was a way to give the public some confidence in a city government they viewed as broken.”

The San Francisco Examiner writes about the SF Mayor and Supervisors putting money on the table for an expanded PB process.

The Buffalo News reports on the Clean Air Coalition’s work building a PB process to let the community decide how to spend Tonawanda Coke’s environmental fines.

PBP’s Isaac Jabola-Carolus reports on the PB conference and new organizing efforts on

PBP T-Shirts, Postcards, Magnets, and Stickers!
Check out our new postcards, and send us an email to order PBP t-shirts, stickers, or magnets!

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