We work with governments and organizations to change how public money is managed. After setting up new PB processes, we build local capacity to drive participation forward. As a result, the impact of our work multiplies even after we leave the scene. We plant and nourish the seeds of democracy, then step back as participation grows.
Read more in our annual report – Participatory Budgeting in North America 2014-15: A year of growth
We enable residents to direct public money to their priorities. Once they are invested in budgeting, people make sure that tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently, and they find ways to attract more resources to their community. For every $5 million that is directly allocated through PB, another $1 million is raised through matching funds, in-kind contributions, and other sources. All of this money goes to projects that address key needs and that directly improve people’s quality of life.
Underpass murals painted by local artists in Chicago
Funded Projects Include:
> Bike Lanes
> Community Garden
> New Ultrasound System at Hospital
> Heating Stations and Benches on Train Platforms
> Playground Improvements
> New Technology at Schools and Libraries
> Community Composting Facility
> Meals on Wheels Delivery Van
> Street Lights
We inspire more active and informed citizens. Community members learn democracy by doing it, gaining a deeper understanding of complex political issues and community needs. Our PB processes empower all community members – including many who are typically disenfranchised – to have a direct and meaningful say in what government does.
“This is the process that made me say ‘I am going to be the voice of this community.’ From this day forward, I am going to make sure that I have a say in what goes on in this community.” Kioka Jackson, Budget Delegate, PBNYC
We strengthen community organizations and networks. Through regular PB meetings, diverse groups work together across sectors and issues, shifting their focus to broad community needs. These discussions typically lead to new organizations and partnerships, while providing new spaces for groups to engage with the public in positive and constructive ways.
“The most important thing I took away from the PB process is that most of the residents in the community have the same aspirations and desires for the community. If we work together we will be able to find consensus and get positive things accomplished.“ Hazel Martinez, Four-in-One Block Association in Brooklyn and Budget Delegate in PBNYC
We connect officials with new people and new communities. Almost half the participants in PB processes that we set up had never worked together with others in their community, and almost half had not contacted their elected official in the past year. Through PB, officials build new relationships and gain new insight into the communities they represent.
“I had high expectations and they were dramatically exceeded. There was really deep, deep participation.” New York City Councilmember Brad Lander (on the right above, with PB volunteers and organizers)