Best of 2015 – Top 3 Wins Reshaping Democracy
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This year participatory budgeting (PB) has empowered more people to get involved in their communities and done more to fix democracy than ever before. Your support for PBP has helped us ensure that PB is a tool for real democracy and equity where people need it most.
Thanks to you, here are the top 3 victories that we’re proud to have achieved with our partners this year:
1. EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEAD
We want to transform democracy, so we’re investing in the next generation of leaders! We worked with partners to create more groundbreaking opportunities for young people to get involved:
- Assisting cities like Seattle, Boston, Buffalo, Long Beach, and Dieppe (New Brunswick) to lower the voting age, empowering residents as young as 11 to vote on how to improve their communities.
- Inspiring teachers in NYC and beyond to use PB to connect civics class to civics in action.
- Engaging students in deciding how to spend part of their school budget, to build democracy in schools in California, Illinois, and elsewhere.
2. SETTING NEW STANDARDS FOR DEMOCRACY
This year we established PB as an award-winning model for civic engagement. We raised the bar for how democracy should work.
- We spread PB to 16 cities across North America, launching new processes in Greensboro, Seattle, Long Beach, San Jose, Hartford, Dieppe, Buffalo, NYC and Chicago. In PBNYC 51,000 voters allocated $32 million, showing how PB can start to scale up.
- We won top awards that validated PB as a best practice. Harvard University recognized PBNYC with the Innovations in American Government Award. The US Conference of Mayors honored Boston’s Youth Lead the Change with its City Livability Award. We’ll celebrate both awards at our International PB Conference in Boston next May!
- We earned major national and international commitments to scale up PB. The White House increased its commitment to PB in its third Open Government National Action Plan. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative lifted up PB as a top model for resilience. PolicyLink named PB a key strategy to build an equitable economy.
3. NEW DATA ON THE IMPACTS OF PB
We helped produce and communicate powerful new data on how PB strengthens individuals, communities, and democracy. We worked with Public Agenda and local partners to launch the North American PB Research Board, 15 key metrics for evaluating PB, and a toolkit for evaluators. Together, we lifted up data that can help spread PB and make it more effective:
- PBNYC broadened political participation – nearly 60% of voters identified as people of color, half were not involved in any community group, and almost a quarter had faced barriers to voting in regular elections due to immigration status or age.
- PB Chicago directed more money to community priorities, increasing the capital investment in participating wards by 40%.
- PB in Brazil improved social well-being, decreasing infant mortality by 30% and increasing the number of community organizations by 19%.
Thank you for working with us to make democracy more equitable and empowering in 2015. We need your passion, vision, and participation in 2016 to continue to deepen and grow.
We’re a non-profit organization that empowers people to decide together how to spend public money.
Top PB Media Stories
“Participatory Budgeting Opens Up Voting to the Disenfranchised and Denied.” – New York Times
Josh Lerner talked about PB’s potential for real community power on Real Money with Ali Velshi.
Time Magazine featured a story about PB in a Phoenix High School
- MTV News interviewed Mabel Gonzalez Nunez, an organizer in Youth Lead the Change, Boston’s award-winning youth process.
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Want to introduce your friends to PB? Start here by watching the 4-minute, award-winning video “Real Money, Real Power” to learn about how PB works to empower local residents!
Our work is only possible due to generous support of individuals, public funding, and our foundation partners: