Low-income communities make decisions about federal funds

Participatory budgeting is a best practice in civic engagement used around the world for over 25 years to give communities real power over real money. In 2009, PB came to the U.S. with a very local budget in one ward in Chicago.

Today, Oakland, California is changing the way participatory democracy can work in the US.

In Oakland, PB is giving residents of City Council Districts 1 and 2 the power to decide how federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds should be spent to benefit low-to-moderate income communities in their district; it’s the first process in the U.S. to use federal funds in PB. The CDBG program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and funds programs, services, and infrastructure improvements in low-to-moderate income communities.

Check out the article on PB in Oakland written by the East Bay Times!


The Oakland CDBG Program is managed by the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development, who reached out to PBP last year, at the recommendation of leading U.S. HUD technical assistance provider Cloudburst Group, to begin engaging local stakeholders and planning for this year’s PB pilot in select council districts. We’re grateful to be working in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development, the offices of Council Members Abel Guillen and Dan Kalb, District 1 and 2 Community Development District Board Members, and Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), to engage Oakland’s diverse low-income communities in all phases of the PB process.

Idea submission for the PB process in Districts 1 and 2 is now open on our online idea submission platform! Community members are sharing their ideas at pboakland.org. Share yours!

We’d like to extend a warm invitation to  community members who live in District 1 and District 2 in Oakland – but especially those in the districts’ low-to-moderate income neighborhoods – to join us at an upcoming idea collection assembly or share your ideas online at pboakland.org. All of our assemblies will include food, activities for children, and translation services.  

Council District 2

Assembly 1

January 25, 2017 | 6pm – 8pm
Asian Cultural Center
388 9th St., Suite 290
*English / Chinese translation

Assembly 2

January 26, 2017 | 6pm – 8pm
Williams Chapel
1410 10th Ave.
*English / Spanish translation

Council District 1

January 28, 2017 | 1pm – 3pm
Beebe Memorial Cathedral (Gym)
3900 Telegraph Avenue
*English / Spanish translation

Look out for these lightbulb fliers posted around Oakland! We hope to see you at an upcoming idea collection assembly!


This PB process is powered by your experiences, your ideas, and your commitment to making Oakland an even greater city to live in. We want to hear from you!

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.

1 Comment

  1. […] And they are just some of the many projects directly decided by Oakland residents in the nation’s first participatory budgeting (PB) process with federal funds. […]

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