October Newsletter: PB Research Board, New PB Processes, Bring PB to Your Community

PB Conference Wrap up and Looking Ahead


From September 25th-27th, more than 230 practitioners, researchers, organizers, and experts came together in Oakland and Vallejo, California to learn from each other about how to start and improve PB processes as part of the 3rd International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in North America (#PBConf). Notes and slides from the conference are available here – www.pbconference.org/notes.

Interest in PB has been exploding in recent years, and PBP is working to turn this political opening into a powerful movement to transform democracy. We’re excited to create new opportunities for individuals to join us in this work, whether it’s through public education via social media or joining a new supporters board to be launched later this year.

We believe that we can get to 500 PB processes in North America in the next 5 years.

To begin to achieve this goal, we’re planning a Giving Tuesday campaign to raise individual support for PBP and public awareness about PB. Gifts from individuals, of any size, help us to invest staffing and resources wherever we need them most to build the PB movement. Thanks for considering including PBP in your end of year giving plans.



The North American PB Research Board Launches


PBP and Public Agenda, a national nonprofit and nonpartisan research institute, are facilitating the launch of the North American PB Research Board with various PB evaluators, academics, and researchers. Shortly after this year’s PB conference, this group came together in Oakland for their first meeting. The goal of this network is to support the evaluation of local PB processes and guide a broader research agenda for PB. Over the years of PB’s presence in North America, many people have informally collaborated and supported one another’s work. But with the rapid growth of participatory budgeting in North America, there is a need to establish the formal infrastructure that will further strengthen and promote PB through research and evaluation.

Read more about the first meeting and see a list of the members.



Vallejo Funds Homeless Services, School Lunches and More!

The first city-wide PB process in the U.S. has now concluded its second cycle! From Sept 27 to Oct 6, more than 3,700 Vallejo residents age 16 and over voted to fund 8 projects totaling $2.4 million.

Infrastructure projects and programs and services were eligible for funding through PB, which allowed residents to meet a wide range of community needs. The top projects included homeless services, street and sidewalk repair, improving school lunches, youth internships, arts and beautification, and more.

For more information about PB in Vallejo, visit pbvallejo.org and stay tuned for details about the next PB cycle!


PB Grows in Cambridge, Boston, and Southern California

PB table in Cambridge

Over the next several months, PBP will work with the city of Cambridge, MA to pilot their first PB process, in which residents will decide how to spend $500,000 for capital projects in the city.  From December-March, residents will propose ideas, develop projects and vote.

In addition, PBP will provide technical assistance again to Boston, as they move forward on the second year of Youth Lead the Change, the city-wide participatory budgeting process in which young Bostonians ages 12-25 decide how to spend $1,000,000 of the capital budget.

In Long Beach in Rex Richardson’s 9th council district, neighborhood assemblies have already started and upcoming ones will be on October 22nd, and November 2nd. Residents as young as 14 will be able to vote in PB. If you’re a Long Beach resident and want to participate, or if you’re in the greater Los Angeles area and want to volunteer, visit www.pblongbeach.org!

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


1. Join the Conversation

2. Support the Movement

Donate and Vote!
3. Volunteer your Time
Do you have experience with outreach, facilitation, fundraising, communications, or design?
Sign up to volunteer.

4. Organize for PB
Want to start a PB process in your city, school or neighborhood?
Get started here.

New Organizing Toolkit


PBP just released a new Organizing Toolkit, with tons of tips to help you bring PB to your town or city!

Download the toolkit here


Upcoming PBP Events

Making Democracy Fun book talk (State College, PA): October 23

Penn State Democracy Medal Talk (State College, PA): October 24

Making Democracy Fun book talk (University of Toronto, Canada ): November 4

National League of Cities (Austin, TX) – Training (Austin, TX): November 19

Making Democracy Fun book talk (Austin, TX): November 21

Let us know if you want us to come to your city!

Voices of Hope in a time of Crisis – NYC

Join Local Futures, a fellow member of the New Economy Coalition, for a day of thought-provoking talks on our multiple crises & how we can solve them!

Cooper Union, New York, NY: November 8th

New PB Intro Video:

We updated and revised our award-winning Intro to PB video, “Real Money, Real Power”, and added closed captions in English and Spanish. Please share it with your friends, to introduce new people to PB.

Supporter Spotlight

PBP is pleased to announce recent grants from The California Endowment and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.

There are so many more people who make our work possible that we can’t fit them all in this newsletter. For a more complete list, visit our website.

In the News

California Economic Summit |Long Beach, CA
VIDEO: Long Beach lets citizens decide how to spend piece of infrastructure dollars

Examiner | Queens, NY
Budget process solicits ideas to improve community

National Priorities Blog
Participatory Budgeting can transform our democracy

The Guardian | Paris, France
Parisians have their say in the city’s first €20m participatory budget.

PB NYC Report Release

Join the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center and the PBNYC Research Team for the online release of “A People’s Budget: A Research and Evaluation Report on Cycle 3 of Participatory Budgeting in New York City.”

Join the webinar on October 30 at 12p EST! Advanced Registration Required.

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!