December Newsletter: Best of 2014 for PB – 5 wins and our top pictures!

2014 has been HUGE for PBP. As we continue to grow, our impact is driven by the support and effort of people like you. Together we are using participatory budgeting to change the way government works. Here are the wins that have set the stage for another big year in 2015:

1. More participatory budgeting processes

We launched participatory budgeting in Boston, Cambridge, and Long Beach, CA, and helped PBNYC grow to 24 districts. We’re also planning and supporting participatory budgeting processes with new kinds of budgets, including in schools, with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds, and with Tax Increment Funding (TIF).

The graphic below shows the impressive growth of participatory budgeting thanks to our work: each dot represents one district, city or institution in the US & Canada that we have assisted in implementing PB.


This year, more people from more communities are deciding how to spend more money from more sources than ever before and with your help we plan to see more than 50 processes in 2015.

2. Events and resources to support the participatory budgeting movement

We hosted the Third International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in North America in Oakland and Vallejo, California. Hundreds of organizers, officials, researchers, and community leaders from all over the world attended to share their knowledge, learn about new initiatives, and expand their networks.

Our donors who participated in PB2 – participatory budgeting to set projects for PBP –  voted to create an organizing toolkit to help local leaders start launch participatory budgeting. Since its launch in September, it has been downloaded by more than 220 people!


3. New Partnerships

This year we partnered with the White House to organize a day-long meeting on participatory budgeting which brought together more than 60 leaders to collaborate on strategies to deepen and widen participatory budgeting’s impact.


The White House has embraced PB as a best practice in governance, and this meeting paved the way for a national conversation to continue. It also launched a partnership with HUD to promote participatory budgeting for Community Development Block Grants.

We also partnered with Public Agenda, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan research and public engagement organization to launch the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board. The board will support collaboration among people doing participatory budgeting research and evaluation by developing common tools, resources, and  best practices.

4. Bigger and better PBP

We started the year with six full-time staff members and we’re going into next year with ten! Including our amazing research associates, development team, and local organizers, PBP now has 16 people on the team, to support all the amazing work above. We also expanded our capacity by moving our team in Oakland – now three full time staff members – to a new office where they are leading the growth of PB on the West Coast.

 5. We’re honored!

While we don’t do this work for the prizes, we know that awards often serve to legitimize the results that we see every day for new audiences who might want to learn more about participatory budgeting. It’s exciting to see the ways that participatory budgeting has been celebrated this year!

  • Penn State’s McCourtney Institute awarded the Participatory Budgeting Project its inaugural Brown Democracy Medal. PBP Executive Director Josh Lerner accepted it and published an accompanying book with Cornell Press called, Everyone Counts: Could Participatory Budgeting Change Democracy?
  • The participatory budgeting process in Vallejo won the California League of Cities Helen Putnam Award for its groundbreaking first year as a model program that engages marginalized communities directly with power.
  • Boston’s Youth Lead the Change Participatory Budgeting initiative is a finalist in an urban innovation competition in Gouangzhou, China.


A non-profit organization that empowers people to decide together how to spend public money.

Join the participatory budgeting movement:

We need interns in NYC, Chicago, and Oakland!

Participate in the conversation
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Volunteer your time

We need experience with outreach, facilitation, fundraising, communications, or design!

Organize for participatory budgeting

Start participatory budgeting in your city, school or neighborhood!

Sustain the movement:

If you see how important participatory budgeting is for transforming democracy, become a part of our work by providing financial support. Our commitment to democracy means that everyone who donates will get to vote on how the donations are used!


New Intro to Participatory Budgeting video:


If you need a way to introduce PB to your friends or new contacts, start with our updated and revised award-winning Intro to Participatory Budgeting video, “Real Money, Real Power.”

We want to hear from You!

Do you have questions about PB? What do you want to know? Contact us and let us hear your ideas!

Some of our favorite photos from 2014:

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Our work is made possible thanks to generous support from over 175 individuals this year, public funds, and our amazing foundation partners: