Best of 2013 & Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from your friends at The Participatory Budgeting Project! We hope you have a restful break, and we wish you a deeply democratic new year! As we say goodbye to 2013 and ask for your support for 2014, we want to share some of our highlights from the past year – including YOUR picks for the top 3 participatory budgeting photos, videos, articles, tweets, and Facebook posts of the year.Staff & Boards 2013


Top Victories of 2013

In 2013 we worked with dozens of partners to nearly triple the scale of PB in the US.

#5 Youth Power in Boston
The City of Boston and PBP teamed up to launch the first Youth PB process in the US! Boston youth will develop and vote on proposals for how to spend $1 million from the city’s capital budget. We’ve already begun building a youth-led Steering Committee to design and oversee the process, and are excited by this new model for youth empowerment!

#4 State-Wide Campaign in California
One of California’s foremost foundations, The California Endowment, partnered with PBP to promote PB across the state. PBP is supporting local organizing for PB in 14 low-income communities across the state through the foundation’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program. Already, we’re working with groups in Merced, San Diego, Long Beach, LA, Sacramento, Richmond, and Oakland to launch PB in neighborhoods, cities, and school districts.

#3 City-Wide PB in Vallejo
In Vallejo (CA), where PBP coordinated the first city-wide PB process in the US, 4,000 citizens and non-citizens voted to allocate over $3.2 million to 12 projects. With both infrastructure and programs eligible for funding, winners included college counselors & scholarships, small business grants, street lighting & repairs, and a cost-saving spay & neuter clinic. After initially approving PB in a tight 4-3 vote, City Council voted unanimously to approve the final projects prioritized by the community.

#2 Scaling Up in NYC
The results of the New York City elections this fall paved the way for a major expansion of the PBNYC process. Voters chose 22 Council Member candidates who pledged to use PB to allocate discretionary funds in their districts, which will boost the number of participating districts from 9 to nearly half of the city’s 51 districts. PB also received the endorsement of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who committed to “scale up participatory budgeting in council districts across New York City [and] pilot expanding participatory budgeting to broader pools of city grant funding.” We put together a Brief on PB at the City Level and, with our partners, a Scaling Up PBNYC memo to guide the incoming officials on how to turn PBNYC into the largest PB process in the world.

#1 White House Starts to Promote PB
The White House is joining us in promoting participatory budgeting! As part of its new Open Government National Action Plan, The White House has committed to work with key partners to increase awareness about PB and to support communities that are interested in launching PB processes. We’ve had great discussions with the White House so far, and we’re excited about continued collaboration!


What We Did in 2013

  • Empowered 20,000 people to decide how to spend $17 million for 87 community improvement projects, working with partners in New York, Chicago, Vallejo, and San Francisco.
  • Provided 28 trainings that equipped 670 residents for leadership roles as budget delegates, facilitators, and PB organizers in their communities.
  • Organized our second annual PB Conference, bringing together over 200 activists, academics, community organizers, and government officials from 17 countries and 70 cities.
  • Spoke about PB in 16 cities in North America, and abroad in England, Scotland, Australia and Portugal.


The Top 3 Lists below are as decided by you, based on the number of likes, shares and comments on the PBP Facebook page and the PBNYC, PB Chicago, and PB Vallejo pages.

Top 3 Photos of 2013

#3  For all you cupcake and democracy lovers out there, we’ve made progress: see here.

PB Youth
#2  Budget delegates from the PB Vallejo Youth Committee show support for PB Year 2 at a City Council meeting.

PBV Winning Projects
#1  The top 12 PB projects as decided by almost 4,000 residents in Vallejo


Top 3 Articles of 2013

#3  Vallejo is participatory budgeting pioneerSan Francisco Chronicle
Check out this article on the front page of the SF Chronicle, recapping the PB process in Vallejo and the 12 winning projects.

#2  For de Blasio, Innovations Often TestedThe Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal highlighted participatory budgeting as a top innovation for newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio to adopt, to expand PB in New York City.

#1  The United States Releases its Second Open Government National Action PlanWhite House Blog
In its Open Government Action Plan 2.0, the White House announced that it would promote participatory budgeting in communities nationwide. Stay tuned for new developments in 2014! Read the full action plan here.

Top 3 Videos of 2013

#3  How Would You Spend One Million Dollars?
PBNYC kicked off its third year with this promo video for the neighborhood assemblies, where residents of 9 districts brainstormed ideas for how to spend over $12 million in public money. Produced by Meerkat Media.

#2  The People’s Budget: Participatory Budgeting in Vallejo
Great video produced by Jake Nicol recapping PB Vallejo, the first citywide PB process in the U.S.


#1  Real Money, Real Power: Participatory Budgeting
Our fantastic new promo video produced by Meerkat Media. It’s been used to promote PB all over the country and won a best entry in the prestigious Macarthur Foundation’s Looking@Democracy competition. The best part is YOU decided to fund it through PB2, our internal PB process!

Top 3 Facebook Posts of 2013

#3  “Sequester = budgeting without the people. Participatory Budgeting = budgeting by the people.” – February 28

#2  “Could Participatory Budgeting help Detroit harness people power and move beyond bankruptcy? Worked for Vallejo.” – July 19

#1  “In lieu of a longer post on race, zoning, laws, and organizing, we’d like to share a short story about how things might have been different in Sanford, Florida. It comes from Rosario, Argentina…” read onJuly 15

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Top 3 Tweets of 2013

#3  #WhiteHouse honors @bradlander @JoeMoore49 & #ParticipatoryBudgeting as civic engagement models #whchamps

#2  @WhiteHouse announces plans to promote #ParticipatoryBudgeting as part of Open Government Action Plan!

#1 Want to know how #ParticipatoryBudgeting can work city-wide? See our new brief: @ncdd @participatory

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Coming in 2014

Your Top Projects to Expand PB
With the help of PB organizers around the country, we’ve identified several priority projects for 2014 and put them on a ballot, so that you can help decide how to grow PB. We’ve currently raised enough funds to do at least one project, but with your support we can take on two or even three. Will it be a speaking tour? Design overhaul? Youth campaign? You decide!

New PB Processes
We’re in talks with over 20 more cities across the U.S. and Canada about launching new processes.

New Trainings
Thanks to our new Training and Operations Manager, Meg Wade.

New Tech Tools
To connect with more people and deepen face-to-face engagement.

New Evaluation Tools
To collect the data that’s essential to expand and improve PB.

New Office
Stay tuned for an invite to our office warming party.

PB Conference 2014
In the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Stay tuned for more details.

Thank You!

To our supporters
The 174 individual donors who contributed this year, with a special thanks to the 125 donors who raised over $16,000 on Giving Tuesday! Add your name to the list here.

To the following foundations:
New York Women’s Foundation
New York Community Trust
The California Endowment
New York Foundation
Scherman Foundation
Chicago Community Trust
Crown Philanthropies
Fund for Democratic Communities
North Star Fund
Democracy Fund
Open Society Foundations
Davenport Institute
Tawani Foundation

To the following institutions and officials:
City of Vallejo
City of Boston
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
NYC Council Member Sara Gonzalez
NYC Council Member David Greenfield
NYC Council Member Brad Lander
NYC Council Member Stephen Levin
NYC Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
NYC Council Member Donovan Richards
NYC Council Member Eric Ulrich
NYC Council Member Mark Weprin
NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams

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