Building Innovative Networks for Reimagining Democracy

As we kicked off Summer 2017, we asked if you wanted your participatory budgeting process to be more equitable and effective.

We followed up by inviting you to join us for our North American PB Network Summer Implementation Institute – where we partnered with experts to strengthen four key parts of the PB process together.

Today, we’re excited to share a review of key takeaways from each summer session.

How to rock your PB vote

With partners from Rock the Vote and PB 49 in Chicago


We launched into the Institute with Melissa Wyatt from Rock the Vote and Cecilia Salinas from PB in Chicago’s 49th Ward. Melissa and Cecilia presented on ways to ROCK voter outreach and voter turnout – in PB and beyond!

Their presentations led us into a dynamic conversation that covered creative and low-cost ways to get out the vote, the importance of training vote site volunteers, the pros and cons of authenticating voters in PB, breakthroughs with online voting, and the possibility of aligning PB voting opportunities with municipal elections – with an emphasis on including folks who can’t vote municipally. 

Resources we talked about during our first session are helpful for running a vote within PB and beyond – check them out below!

Technology and decision-making – Up for deliberation?

With partners from the Jefferson Center and PB Vallejo


PBP’s Engagement Technology Manager, Hadassah Damien, opened our second session. After grounding us in the question of what equity + technology amounts to, Hadassah kicked off the webinar with an overview of what it means to make data-driven decisions in PB – and beyond!

The Jefferson Center’s Executive Director, Kyle Bozentko, built on this framework by sharing how the Jefferson Center approaches deliberation with a data metaphor – where the deliberative process takes places when folks sort through the information they collected to help make a decision.

To tie it all together, Alyssa Lane spoke about how PB Vallejo recently used Appcivist as a tech tool during deliberation to help public agency staff and volunteers work collaboratively to develop an eligible ballot and increase transparency.

Their presentations launched us into dynamic discussions about strategies for facilitating deliberation when a few voices disrupt a discussion, ways to make the budget delegate role more accessible using a civic tech platform, and key takeaways to consider when managing dialogue and collaboration in online spaces.

Check out the presentation slides and the webinar recording from the second session of our Summer Implementation Institute – as well as links to the resources we talked about below!



Collecting record-breaking ideas for outreach

With partners from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network


We wrapped up the third webinar in our first-ever Summer Implementation Institute with Kenneth Tang from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and our West Coast Project Manager, Francesco Tena.

After sharing an overview of some of APEN’s work, Kenneth described a couple of the key roles APEN led during Oakland’s first PB process. APEN’s leadership with outreach and supporting community members at assemblies throughout this first year of PB in Oakland was crucial to including and empowering a diverse makeup of residents in PB.

Francesco then offered some key tactics and strategies Boston’s Youth Lead the Change (YLC) has used during idea collection to meet young people where they’re at and to communicate in personalized and engaging ways. He posed the question of quantity versus quality during idea collection and described how YLC responded to the notion that general questions receive general answers.

Their presentations moved us into a discussion around how to intentionally embed equity into idea collection, and how connecting with community based organizations helps to do so. We talked through innovative ways to engage folks in idea collection and considered how to use social media as a tool during this outreach. To close the webinar, we created a wishlist of ways to run outreach and idea collection that we haven’t yet seen.

To continue to strengthen your work with outreach, check out the presentation slides and the webinar recording – as well as links to more resources below!

Steering community leaders towards success

Presented in partnership with Public Agenda


The North American PB Network closed out the Summer Implementation Institute with an in-person session in NYC hosted in partnership with Public Agenda. We welcomed experts already doing PB alongside folks who were eager to bring PB to their communities. Celina Su, Isaac Jabola-Carolus, Josh Lerner, and Melissa Appleton each led a portion of this session to discuss building and sustaining effective community leadership in democratic processes.


A full team picture of Celina Su, Shari Davis, Matt Leighninger, Melissa Appleton, and Ashley Brennan at the fourth and final Summer Implementation Institute Session.

Thanks for learning and sharing with us this summer as we worked backwards through the PB vote, proposal development, and idea collection in our#PBPinstitute!

About Ashley Brennan

Ashley supports the North American PB Network, PBP’s Participation Lab, and local PB processes and campaigns. As an Arizona native, Ashley coordinates the Phoenix Union High School District PB process—the first school district wide PB process in the U.S. When blogging for PBP, she most enjoys writing about the ways young people are transforming what it means to participate in democracy.

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  1. […] team is eager to build on connections, conversations, and learnings that came out of our first-ever Summer Implementation Inst…. We’re especially excited to dive deeper into discussions of participatory practices that connect […]

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