Participatory Budgeting: An Idea You Should Steal

On December 10th, PBP’s Co-Executive Director, Shari Davis was invited to join a number of problem solvers from across the country to speak at the The Philadelphia Citizen’s 2nd annual Ideas We Should Steal Festival.

This festival is an annual full-day convening that brings together the most innovative urban thinkers and global thought leaders together to share and discuss bold ideas that can transform the city of Philadelphia and beyond.

This year’s Festival featured changemakers such as HBO’s John Oliver, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman. And covered important issues like moving the needle on poverty, reducing gun violence and implementing local government innovations.

PBP’s Shari Davis was among the problem-solvers that presented, sharing with festival goers how effective participatory budgeting is in empowering community members to directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.  

“Participatory budgeting involves people making real decisions about real money – it’s not a consultation,” Davis said. “PB has worked in over 3,000 cities around the world – in districts, cities, counties, states, public housing, schools, universities – pretty much every kind of public institution has tried PB somewhere.” 

Sharing real anecdotes on how participatory budgeting has worked at institutions such as the Boston Public Schools, Shari Davis’ powerful presentation highlighted how this democratic process allows for:

  • More equitable and effective spending 
  • Broader political participation 
  • New community leaders
  • Stronger relationships between community members and stakeholders 

The Philadelphia Citizen described participatory budgeting as a “win-win” in their recap article, Solutions? We Heard Them: 10 takeaways from The Citizen’s second annual Ideas We Should Steal Festival. Read the full article here.

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